While 20-somethings have been graduating from colleges across the U.S. this month, higher education remains a privilege that is inaccessible to many.
Even though they can be prohibitively expensive, a degree offers more opportunities than ever before, including increasing your future earning potential, opening the door to other employment opportunities and even adding years to your life.
However, for those without the opportunity to pursue a four-year degree, there are some career options that pay well.
Topping the list is the janitorial manager, a profession where the median annual salary is $93,500. While this may not be the most glamorous occupation, a surprising number of self-made millionaires started off as janitors.
For instance, Sean Conlon, the star of CNBC’s “The Deed: Chicago,” immigrated to the United States with just $500 to work as a janitor. Conlon worked hard and eventually built a lucrative career in real estate.
Consistent with these top jobs is the ability to work under minimal supervision, the ability to manage others and some degree of technical proficiency. In order to reach these high salaries, workers must often assume leadership responsibilities.
Here are the five highest-paying positions that don’t need a bachelor’s degree:
5. Instrument technicians
A grinder operates machines used for various manufacturing, smoothing and polishing tasks. The extremely dangerous machines call for a high technical knowledge and strong attention to detail. Many grinders are also responsible for quality assurance of the final product, whatever it may be.
3. Aircraft mechanics
2. Shop service managers
Shop service managers oversee a team of technicians and mechanics that service cars, trucks and heavy equipment. While some employers do prefer candidates to have a bachelor’s degree, Monster says that it is not compulsory. In order to be a shop service manager, you will need terrific customer service skills, comprehensive knowledge of the industry and a clean driving record.
1. Janitorial managers