Trade Jobs That Pay 6 Figures

14 Six Figure Jobs That Don’t Require A Degree

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 six figure jobs in the blue-collar field that 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.

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.

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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: $129,750
Annual Salary for Top Earners: $185,990

How to become an air traffic controller.

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: $99,640
Annual Salary for Top Earners: $205,940

How to become a commercial pilot.

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: $98,890
Annual Salary for Top Earners: $163,800

How to become a construction manager.

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 $120,000.

Median Salary: $93,420
Annual Salary for Top Earners: $120,000

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: $97,860
Annual salary for top earners: $130,940

How to become an elevator repairer.

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: 99,330
Annual salary for top earners: $159,850

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

Nuclear Power Reactor Operators

Though there are 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, and implement emergency procedures when needed.

Median Salary: $104,260

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: $76,260
Annual salary for top earners: $113,360

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: $66,020
Annual salary for top earners: $105,540

How to become a police officer.

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: $94,790
Annual salary for top earners: $125,340

How to become a power plant operator.

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: $98,230
Annual salary for top earners: $162,770

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: $79,770
Annual salary for top earners: $124,200

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: $62,760
Annual salary for top earners: $133,620

How to become a water transportation worker.

So, is it possible to earn 6 figures without a college degree? Of course, there are plenty of 6 figure trade jobs available. In my book Blue Collar Cash, I cover more options for earning good money without a degree and for achieving your dreams.

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.

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