If you were never able to finish your bachelor’s degree, don’t fret—it’s not yet too late. While it’s true that earning your college degree is one of the surer ways to land yourself a high-paying job, it’s not always a requirement. For many, a college education is not the only path—especially at a time when going to college would cause you to pay a mountain of student loans for the rest of your life. Here are some potentially high-paying jobs that don’t require a degree.
There are plenty of variables in terms of how much makeup artists make and can make (like location and industry), but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), performance and theatrical makeup artists receive a median yearly salary of $75,730 as of the middle of 2019. The best part is that there is plenty of room for aspiring makeup artists—they are needed in spas, salons, makeup store counters, photography studios, production sets, backstage dressing rooms, TV and film sets, fashion shows, editorial shoots, weddings, and other events.
The kind of certifications you will need will depend on which industry you choose. Some states require a level of training or certification in cosmetology or esthetics to be able to be a makeup artist in a salon or a spa. However, there are a lot of makeup artists who have climbed up the ladder of success without any formal training, like Sheika Daley, whose work has appeared in magazines like Vogue and Cosmopolitan.
Another career that requires no bachelor’s degree is a career in the insurance agency or being an insurance agent. A successful insurance agent can earn a lot based on how hard they work and depending on how they are paid. Some agents earn from commissions, while others are paid by the hour by their agencies.
To be an insurance agent, one only needs to complete some pre-licensure requirements and to pass a licensing exam. They also need to choose a specialty since they need to have a kind of “line of authority” in the insurance industry, like property insurance, casualty insurance, disability insurance, and personal lines of insurance. They can also take supplementary insurance classes and courses to add to their wealth of knowledge and hands-on training. BLS reports that insurance agents have a median annual salary of $50,940 as of 2019.
Another high-paying career that you might be surprised doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree is being a commercial pilot. The only requirements for this job are a commercial pilot’s license, and one must have at least 250 hours of flight experience and be at least 18 years old. Take note, however, that some major airlines might require a bachelor’s degree from any reputable university or college. Regional airlines, however, often do not.
To become a pilot, you can opt to train at a college or university that offers an aviation program, or you can go through the military. But if you make the transition from being a military pilot to a commercial pilot, you will need to apply for and earn new licenses. You may earn different dispensations depending on your operational type and where you were awarded your wings as a military pilot. BLS says that commercial pilots had a median annual salary of $121,430 in 2019.
Being a firefighter is one of the noblest and bravest career choices out there—and one that only requires a high school diploma or any equivalent. Some states also require a post-secondary non-degree certification in any related field, like fire science.
If you’ve always had a knack for helping people or being in the literal line of fire to keep them from harm, this career might be for you. Make no mistake, however; being a firefighter is so much more than just about fighting fires and saving lives. They’re also trained to rescue and provide medical aid to the injured, handle medical emergencies, providing the public with fire education, and many more. This is why they have to undergo so much training and take so many classes and tests. According to BLS, firefighters have a median yearly salary of $50,850 as of 2019.
While these careers don’t require a bachelor’s degree, having one certainly can’t hurt, especially if you’re the type who has high ambitions and desires to climb the corporate ladder. These careers also entail a lot of perseverance and hard work, since you will need to take up a lot of classes and training. At the end of the day, all successful careers require hard work—so believe in yourself and your abilities and don’t give up.