Highest Paying Jobs Without A College Degree: Pastry Chefs, Personal Trainers Can Make $100K

You don’t need a college degree to make more than $100,000 a year.

CNBC reports that Payscale.com found the highest paying jobs without a college degree by combing through its career database which covers nearly 12,000 jobs in over 1,000 industries.

According to PayScale.com’s Katie Bardaro, several people have found a way to earn six figures despite the fact that they never graduated from college. It may not be typical but Bardaro says that top performers can work their way up to great paying jobs.

Bardaro said:

“A six-figure salary is not typical in these jobs, but it is possible… You need to be a top performer in your field to earn these salaries.”

Bardaro found that executive pastry chefs, handymen, licensed massage therapists, personal trainers, and nuclear power operators had the five highest paying jobs for people without a college degree. The salaries in those jobs ranged from $45,000 to over $142,000.

Earning more than $100,000 without a college degree isn’t common but it does happen. Pn Payscale.com, the top 10% of workers holding a high school degree or GED will earn over $100,000. Bardaro notes that those with only a GED typically tend to earn less.

Here are the five highest paying jobs without a college degree according to Payscale.com.


highest paying jobCNBC notes that high school graduates shouldn’t expect to jump right into a six figure salaried job. The jobs listed above require several hours of experience and some require special certificates.

Scott Burrell, a spokesperson for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said:

“From a strict perspective, you can (be a nuclear Power Reactor Operator) with a high school diploma, but it does require a lot of specialized training.”

Pastry chefs, personal trainers, and massage therapists will also have to put in plenty of work before they can start collecting the big paychecks.

Do you think college is a necessity to land a high-paying job?