As student debt becomes an even greater and more widely talked about problem, an increasing number of today’s generation is opting to forego the traditional four-year college path. Instead, they pursue professions that pay but are lenient when it comes to educational requirements. But which career paths actually pay? And which ones merely look good on paper but are actually impossible to get into without a college education? To help weed out the dozens of options you have, here are five professions that are paying generous salaries to people who didn’t even graduate college:

Software Engineer

You’ve probably caught wind of college dropouts and self-taught software developers making six figure salaries, especially in states, like California and Washington. And while it sounds too good to be true, there are enough self-taught software engineers working today in the industry who serve as living testament to the fact that you don’t need a college education to make money in the tech field. Software engineers can make anywhere between $70,000 to $120,000 in base salary. Add to that the generous stock options and signing bonuses that tech companies often attach to their offers.

Real Estate Agent

Renting, buying, or selling houses for clients can be a lucrative career, especially for agents who work in highly developed neighborhoods and cities. Commissions you earn from selling a property can be in the thousands, enough to pay you rent for the next month or two. Of course, a career in real estate doesn’t come without its own set of challenges. While you can do without a college degree, you will need a license to legally represent clients. Moreover, it can be a very competitive market to break through. In any given location, you’ll have a dozen or so agents all competing for clients. Real estate agents stand to make a median salary of $59,000.

Sales Staff

You don’t hear a lot of stories about sales staff who earn six figure salaries. Nonetheless, don’t be too quick to count them out just yet. Sales staff of large companies including tech giants like Google and Amazon can earn up to six figures based on what they bring in for the company. If you don’t have a college degree to offer to hiring managers and employers, make sure you have the experience to make up for it. Sales training programs can give you hands-on training that you can later use to apply for work as a sales executive.

Tech Support Specialist

With a very low unemployment rate of 3.7 percent, tech support specialists deserve a spot on this list of lucrative degree-less professions. The fact is, more than half of the world’s population uses a computer or any kind of technology for that matter. And while these computers were designed to be user-friendly, they have the tendency to break and be buggy. Tech support specialists are brought in to help a company’s customers sort out technical issues they may be experiencing. Aside from having the technical expertise, you must also have good communication skills to work as a support specialist. A lot of calls you’ll receive are from difficult and irate customers, which is where patience and communication tactics come into play.

Computer Security Analyst

Also more commonly referred to as an IT analyst, these professionals help secure an organization’s computer systems. They make certain that a company’s network is protected from cybersecurity threats, such as hackers and malware. Some companies will require a college degree in Computer Science or IT Security, but it’s also fairly common to find companies that will hire you based on your experience in information security. Working as a computer security analyst will earn you a comfortable salary of $93,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Bottomline

Remember, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to possible career paths that don’t require a college degree. There are a lot others you can find, ranging from radiology technicians and MRI technicians to steel workers and steamfitters.

 

by:  Lee Flynn