The Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs That Don't Require 4 Years Of College

by Paul Hudson

We need to work. There are always bills to be paid and fun to be had — all of which require money. Families require financial support and treating ourselves to just about anything will require a buck or two — or a few thousand.

But there is more to working than just the money that is made. We want to find jobs that we enjoy, that challenge us and motivate us to do more with our lives. With the world economy at the state it’s in now, finding a job can prove very difficult.

Going to college to get a bachelor's degree in order to get a job to pay off our college loans is ever becoming realized as being silly. So what to do if you can’t afford a 4-year college education, but want or need to make good money in order to hold the fort down? Consider one of these careers:

10. Aerospace Engineer & Operations Technician

Median Annual Wage: $61,547

Degree Requirement: As the number of people who are interested in such positions is increasing, the demand for employees that have earned some sort of degree or certification is also increasing. Some employers will require a certification from a trade school. Those positions involving national defense will require security clearance.

Description: Operate the equipment that is used to test newly designed aircrafts and spacecrafts.

9. Fashion Designer

Median Annual Wage: $63,170

Degree Requirement: None, although most fashion designers have some formal education in the field.

Description: Design clothing or accessories and sell for profit. Often at times requiring a good sense of entrepreneurship.

8. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Median Annual Wage: $65,499

Degree Requirement: Associate's degree or post-secondary certificate in the field. Many employers will also require professional certification.

Description: Diagnose medical conditions using medical equipment like an ultrasound or sonogram.

7. Registered Nurse

Median Annual Wage: $65,853

Degree Requirement: Either an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Registered Nurses must also pass a national licensing exam before they can begin working.

Description: Educate and care for patients about their various health conditions and health concerns.

6. Nuclear Technician

Median Annual Wage: $68,037

Degree Requirement: Associate's degree in nuclear science or nuclear technology. Extensive job training also required.

Description: Assist in nuclear production and/or research.

5. Power Plant Operator, Distributor and Dispatcher

Median Annual Wage: $68,900

Degree Requirement: High School Diploma

Description: Coordinate, regulate and distribute steam or electricity. Control the systems that distribute electrical power to areas all over the world. A great job because the demand for electricity is not one that is likely to ever dissipate.

4. Nuclear Technologist

Median Annual Wage: $69,638

Degree Requirement: Associate's degree in nuclear medicine technology. Some states have other requirements such as licensing.

Description: Administer and prepare radioactive drugs that will be used when scanning patients for abnormalities in their bodies.

3. Dental Hygienist

Median Annual Wage: $70,408

Degree Requirement: Associate's degree in dental hygiene. State requirements vary, but licensing is always required.

Description: Examine patients, clean their teeth and provide other dental care services.

2. Radiation Therapist

Median Annual Wage: $76,627

Degree Requirement: Formal training program, usually leading to an associate's or bachelor's degree in radiation therapy. Most states also require licensing.

Description: Administer radiation therapy on patients to treat cancer and other diseases.

1. Air Traffic Controller

Median Annual Wage: $113,547

Degree Requirement: Air traffic management degree from a Federal Aviation Administration certified school. A qualifying score on a FAA pre-employment test and training at the FAA Academy. Must be a U.S. citizen.

Description: Manage Air Traffic and ensure that planes land, take off and fly safely.

Honorary: Entrepreneur

Median Annual Wage: Varies depending on experience.

Degree Requirements: None.

Description: Anything.

Photo credit: Ghost Writer Movie House