Think you need a college degree to earn a decent wage? Think again. As I write about in Blue Collar Cash, there are plenty of blue-collar jobs that pay 6 figures and don’t require four-year degrees and tens of thousands of dollars of debt. 

Indeed, whether you want to work with your hands, in hospitality, or in the aviation industry, there are great jobs that pay 6 figures with just a high school diploma. Many of them are also recession-proof, meaning employees are protected from the macroeconomic environment.

What jobs pay 6 figures? Here are some of my favorites, each with a good chunk of earners making more than 100 grand, as listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics or Go Banking Rates.

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Find Success, With Or Without A Degree

Ken Rusk is a blue-collar millionaire because he’s been willing to work hard and seize opportunity. Opportunities are out there for you too, if you’re ready to take them.

  1. Air traffic controller  
    Air traffic controllers are the unsung heroes of the aviation industry as they keep everything humming along behind the scenes. They coordinate the movement of aircraft into and out of airports. A great job to keep your brain engaged and potentially a great job for night owls, as the hours for air traffic controllers can rotate or be set late.
    Median Salary: 124,540
    Annual Salary for Top Earners: 175,800
  2. Commercial Pilot
    While you will need a commercial pilot certificate, no college degree is necessary to fly fixed-wing aircraft for a lot of money! A bit of an adrenaline junkie, fascinated by flight, or just want to spread your wings and see the world? A commercial pilot could be a great debt-free career for you.
    Median Salary: 78,740
    Annual Salary for Top Earners: 152,180
  3. Construction Manager
    Oversee, plan, and coordinate the building of this country as a construction manager. While some positions have started requiring bachelor’s degrees, there are still plenty of options available for people with no degree.
    Median Salary: 93,370
    Annual Salary for Top Earners: 159,560
  4. Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation and Relay
    Keep the lights on in your house and for others by maintaining electrical equipment in generating stations, substations, and in-service relays as an Electrical Repairer! Do it right and you’ll find the rewards are electric for your bank account too, with income for the 90th percentile earners at over $102,000.
    Median Salary: 78,410
    Annual Salary for Top Earners: 102,550
  5. Elevator Installer and Repairer
    A great trade job for the handy and mechanically inclined, Elevator Repairers help lift passengers and lift their own finances. Training typically involves an apprenticeship and job growth is expected to be above average for the next decade!
    Median Salary: 79,480
    Annual salary for top earners: $114,980
  6. First-line Supervisors of Police and Detectives
    First-line supervisors give back to their communities by coordinating the activities of the police force.  A side benefit is the ability to give back to yourself in the form of financial security.
    Median Salary: 89,030
    Annual salary for top earners: $144,190
  7. In-N-Out Manager
    While certainly an aberration, it can’t hurt to know that there are high paying jobs even in the fast-food industry. If that’s an interest for you, keep your eye on the prize and nab one of these awesome gigs.
    Median Salary: 160,000
  8. Nuclear Power Reactor Operators
    Though there’s only a handful of states that offer this position (Pennsylvania, Illinois, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Mississippi), it’s worth discussing. Nuclear Power Reactor Operators are responsible for the electricity that supplies millions of homes and businesses. They operate or control nuclear reactors, monitor and adjust controls, implement emergency procedures when needed.
    Median Salary: 94,370
  9. Pile-Driver Operators
    Build a solid foundation for buildings and your career by apprenticing as a pile driver operator. Top earners will take home more than $100K, but all have sturdy careers. 
    Median annual salary: $57,650
    Annual salary for top earners: $100,800
  10. Police Officer
    Protect lives and property in your community by becoming a police officer. Most police and detectives must graduate from their agency’s training academy and complete a period of on-the-job training. However, they often do not require college experience. This is a great job for people who like to be out in the community and who want to give back.
    Median annual salary: $63,380
    Annual salary for top earners: $106,090
  11. Power Plant Operator
    Typically only requiring a high school degree and on the job training, power plant operators can make serious money. This role is similar to the Nuclear Power Reactor Operator role, but spread out in more states. Thus, the jobs are more likely available by you.
    Median annual salary: $81,990
    Annual salary for top earners: $117,130
  12. Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers
    You can keep the world turning as a distribution manager. These careers transport, store, and distribute the goods and services businesses require while adhering to local laws. They are blue-collar, high-paying, and intellectual positions.
    Median Salary: $92,460
    Annual salary for top earners: $156,710
  13. Transportation Inspectors
    Inspect equipment or goods in connection with the safe transport of cargo or people for rail, freight, and other transportation. The government is a large employer for this occupation, so the position often comes with a nice set of benefits, as well.
    Median annual salary: $73,780
    Annual salary for top earners: $123,980
  14. Water Transportation Worker
    Travel the world (or stay local if you prefer!) as a water transportation worker. These individuals operate vessels that take cargo and people over water, often for long distances and they are often well compensated for it. Usually, there’s no education requirement, but often on the job training and certification requirements.
    Median annual salary: $54,40
    Annual salary for top earners: $118,260

Ready to earn 6 figures without a college degree? In my book Blue Collar Cash, I cover more options for earning good money without a degree. If you’re ready to change your life and find comfort, peace, and freedom, this is the book for you.

Blue Collar Cash | Ken Rusk | Pre-Order

Exploit The Demand for Blue‑Collar Jobs

In a period of skyrocketing student loan debt without the promise of high-paying employment, and in an economy in desperate need of skilled tradespeople, many are seeking new paths. Blue Collar Cash is here to show you that blue-collar trades are a source of pride and that you can and will find your version of happiness by pursuing a good old-fashioned craft.