Best Jobs for College Dropouts

Updated on March 30, 2024

Choosing a career path without a college degree can be a daunting task, but there are numerous fulfilling and lucrative opportunities available. This guide highlights ten of the best jobs for college dropouts, offering a blend of practical skills, hands-on training, and potential for growth.

Director of Security

  • Average Salary: $164,487​
  • Job Description: Overseeing a company’s security department to ensure the safety of property, assets, and individuals.
  • Responsibilities: Managing security protocols, teams, and emergency response plans.
  • Required Education: No formal education required; focuses on practical experience and skills in security.

Computer Programmer

  • Average Salary: $89,190​
  • Job Description: Writing and testing code for software applications and systems.
  • Responsibilities: Developing software, debugging, and problem-solving within various programming languages.
  • Required Education: No degree necessary; self-taught skills, boot camps, or certifications can suffice.

Radiation Therapists

  • Average Salary: $86,850​
  • Job Description: Treating cancer and other diseases with ionizing radiation.
  • Responsibilities: Operating radiation therapy equipment, monitoring patient reactions, and maintaining records.
  • Required Education: High school diploma with the potential for on-the-job training; certification and licensing requirements vary.

Truck Driver

  • Average Salary: $77,527​ ​
  • Job Description: Transporting goods and materials over long distances.
  • Responsibilities: Safely operating large vehicles, adhering to traffic laws, and maintaining logs.
  • Required Education: High school diploma and a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

Personal Trainer

  • Average Salary: $63,573​
  • Job Description: Assisting clients in achieving their fitness and health goals.
  • Responsibilities: Designing workout programs, providing motivational support, and ensuring safety during exercises.
  • Required Education: Certification from a recognized fitness organization; no college degree required.

Real Estate Agent

  • Average Salary: $68,256​
  • Job Description: Assisting clients in buying, selling, and renting properties.
  • Responsibilities: Market analysis, property listings, negotiation, and closing deals.
  • Required Education: High school diploma and real estate license, which requires passing an exam.

Freelance Writer

  • Average Salary: $63,213​
  • Job Description: Producing written content for various media and purposes.
  • Responsibilities: Research, content creation, editing, and meeting publication deadlines.
  • Required Education: No formal education required; skill and proficiency in writing are key.

USPS Worker

  • Average Salary: $62,257​
  • Job Description: Sorting and delivering mail and packages.
  • Responsibilities: Operating mail equipment, delivering mail, and providing customer service.
  • Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent; training provided on the job.

Wind Turbine Technician

  • Average Salary: $56,230​
  • Job Description: Installing, maintaining, and repairing wind turbines.
  • Responsibilities: Routine inspections, troubleshooting, and ensuring the efficient operation of turbines.
  • Required Education: High school diploma with technical training or apprenticeships in the field.

Aircraft Service Tech

  • Average Salary: $51,482​
  • Job Description: Maintaining and repairing aircraft to meet safety standards.
  • Responsibilities: Inspecting aircraft, diagnosing issues, and performing repairs.
  • Required Education: High school diploma with on-the-job training and FAA certifications for certain tasks.

Final Thoughts

Navigating a career without a college degree is entirely feasible, with numerous avenues offering rewarding and well-paying opportunities. By leveraging innate talents, acquiring specific skills through alternative education pathways, and embracing hands-on experience, individuals can thrive in various fields.


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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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