Personal Finance

7 Well Paying Jobs that Don’t Require a University Degree

air traffic controller

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Spooked by the cost of a university education for yourself or your child, there are well-paying jobs that don't require university degree.

If you are thinking about making a career change or are spooked by the cost of a university education for yourself or your child, there are well-paying jobs that don’t require a university degree.

All offer above-average pay and solid job security. Some require only the completion of a certificate program while others require an associate degree. None however require a four-year university degree for entry.

Dental hygienist

Dental hygienists earn an average of nearly $70,000 per year. You can enter the field with an associate’s degree, and jobs are available throughout North America.

This is also one of the most flexible careers imaginable. Since dental hygienists are needed anywhere there are dentists – and that’s virtually everywhere – you can choose where you want to live. You also have the option of working either full-time or part-time.


Electricians earn an average of nearly $50,000 per year (depending on where you work, if you own your own company it can be much higher). Entry into the field is typically by apprenticeship but it can also include a technical school education. In most jurisdictions, a license will be required. The field is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.

Electricians can work in different capacities. Though they are most frequently associated with repair work in existing structures, both residential and commercial, they can also be involved in the installation of electrical systems in new buildings. Experienced electricians also have the option of becoming self-employed.


The average income for paralegals is nearly $50,000 per year, and entry is usually accomplished with an associate’s degree in paralegal studies. The future outlook for paralegals is steady.

Paralegals assist lawyers by doing research, drafting documents and much of the back office preparation work. They can also work either full-time or part-time and can be found in government and corporate environments as well.

Graphic designer

Graphic designers earn an average of close to $45,000 per year. Though a bachelor’s degree is often required for entry, experience and talent can be more important than a degree.

Employment is diverse since nearly every industry needs graphic designers. Freelance work in graphic design is fairly common, and a portfolio of prior work and some strong customer referrals can be more important than more formal credentials.

Police officers

Police officers earn an average of $56,000 per year. In some situations, a college degree is required, but in most, a high school diploma and attendance at a police academy are the preferred means of entry.

Police officers are needed everywhere, so there are almost no geographic restrictions. In addition, police officers can often find work in the private sector as investigators or in some security-related capacity.

Elevator repair

Elevator repair technicians earn an average of over $70,000 per year. There is no formal education requirement for entry. Training typically consists of an apprenticeship, and sometimes the completion of certain technical courses.

Demand for elevator repair technicians varies by region and is most common in urban areas with a large concentration of elevator buildings. Overall, however, demand for the occupation is expected to be at least consistent with national employment trends.

Air traffic controller

The average pay for air traffic controllers is nearly $110,000 per year. You can enter the field with an associate’s degree, or with relevant military training.

Military experience as an air traffic controller is a common path into the field, however, in its absence, government-required training will be necessary. Though the field is experiencing a slight decline in employment, pay levels are excellent if you’re able to get in. Not all well-paying jobs require a four-year university education and the high level of expense that that brings. You can earn a high income in a field with a strong future by getting into one of the careers above.

Readers: Do you have any other ideas for careers that don’t require a university education?


Justin is the co-owner and grammarly impaired author of My University Money and previous co-owner of Young and Thrifty.

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