How to Make Money Without A Degree

How to Make Money Without A Degree

Commercial pilots

Photographer taking photos with camera out of seaplane window while flying in Southeastern U.S.VW Pics | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

Median annual pay: $78,740Projected job growth through 2026: 4 percent

These pilots handle unscheduled flight activities, such as aerial application, charter flights and aerial tours. Some, known as corporate pilots, transport company executives. They are also typically responsible for other non-flight duties such as scheduling flights, arranging for maintenance of the aircraft and loading luggage.

To become one, you'll need a commercial pilot's license and high school diploma. Most commercial pilots complete their training with independent FAA-certified flight instructors or at schools that offer flight training.


11. Executive Assistant

Median salary: $63,110 Education needed: high school diploma Job growth: -20% 

Executive assistants assist leaders in businesses or nonprofits. They manage the executive’s schedule, communicate on their behalf, and perform a wide variety of office tasks to keep the organization running. They’re the behind-the-scenes support to the most powerful men and women in any given organization.

5. Virtual Assistant

Being a virtual assistant to an online entrepreneur is an excellent way to earn a living. You get to enjoy the benefits of working from home – at any location in the world that has an internet connection. This level of freedom is like no other personal assistant job you’ve ever had. In some cases, you may never even lay eyes on your employer, chatting with them over virtual message channels and email only.

For the most part, VA jobs don’t pay very well, bu

For the most part, VA jobs don’t pay very well, but with the right training and experience, it’s possible to land a VA position that pays more than $100,00 per year.

9. Information Technology Manager

Tech offers some of the highest paying jobs in the American economy. Tech giants like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Google are always searching for new talent. Many coders don’t go to college to hone their craft, and some of the best coders in the world are under the age of 25-years old.

IT departments need technicians to handle their ne

IT departments need technicians to handle their network problems, and most IT technicians only receive training on the job. Should you end up running a corporate IT department, then you can expect an annual salary of anywhere between $50,000 to $125,000 per year.

4. Trade Industry

Electricians, HVAC techs, plumbers, master welders, linemen, and a plethora of other trade professionals can eclipse the six-figure mark annually, and often faster than those who have their college degree.

With the trade profession being in such high demand, some trades pay over $35 an hour. Throw in overtime because of project timelines, and at $50+ per hour, trade workers can quickly start approaching the six-figure mark annually… and fast!

If you like working with your hands or don’t think college is the best route for you, consider an in high-demand trade.

Unlike college where you pay high tuition costs to earn your degree, typically you learn as you work, thus making money while going to a trade school 1-2 nights per week. Use this list to find the highest paying trades by hour according to .  

Are you somewhat handy and want to first do it on the side? Another option is to do something like Task Rabbit where you can offer handyman-like services and explore the different trades!

10. Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers on average make $124,000 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There are some requirements when it comes to becoming an air traffic controller such as passing the AT-SAT, or air traffic standardized aptitude test. If candidates pass the AT-SAT, they then must complete 2-5 months of training in a certified FAA academy.

By no means is the path to becoming an air traffic controller simple. Requirements include three years of experience in the aviation field, which many candidates are getting by completing a 4 year Bachelor’s degree. But ATC is one of the best jobs without a degree for sure!

If you’re interested, read up on how to become an air traffic controller here.

Radiation therapists

The Washington Post | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Median annual wage: $80,570Projected job growth through 2026: 13 percent

Part of the healthcare teams called in to treat cancer, these therapists operate the machines that deliver concentrated radiation therapy to a patient's tumor. They are also responsible for explaining treatment plans to patients, determining the region of the body receiving treatment, and checking for unusual reactions.

Employers usually prefer to hire applicants with at least an associate's degree in radiation therapy, though some companies accept those who've completed a certificate program. In most states, radiation therapists must be licensed or certified. Requirements vary depending on the state but typically include passing a national certification exam.

Get Paid to Read Emails

With InboxDollars, you can sign up to get daily emails with special offers you are likely to be interested in. If you read them, you get paid.

Since you read emails every day anyway, this is an easy to way to earn some extra cash for doing so.

The emails contain deals on products and services so you can also save some money.

InboxDollars also rewards you for taking surveys, shopping online, playing games or watching videos.

2. Start Informational Websites

For many years my wife and I had a profitable collection of informational websites in English and Spanish on various topics.

My website on how to remove carpet stains made over $10,000 per year with only a few hours of work annually (a week to build it), and my sites on backpacking and increasing one’s brain power each made more than double that.

We also had websites on self improvement (in Spanish), weird ways to make money, and how to find a cheap house. Most of our websites were based on our own hobbies and interests.

In our best years our collection of websites netted over $100,000 annually. That came largely from Google AdSense revenue, but also from affiliate commissions and other sources. Once you have decent traffic there are dozens of ways to monetize a website.

The bad news is that it’s tougher now than when we started (2004). You need more marketing and SEO (search engine optimization) skills than ever; I mostly focused on writing, and just got lucky.

After many years of success, our own little website empire crumbled over a period of time thanks to Google search algorithm changes.

The good news? It’s not difficult to start. We invested less than $100 at the beginning, and we knew absolutely nothing about building a website.

10. Invest in Cryptocurrencies

Normally you have to invest a lot of money to make $100,000 from your investment. But in 2012 Erik Finman, at age 15, invested just $1,000 in Bitcoin, and he sold his investment for $100,000 a little over a year later.

According to Fortune magazine, if you had invested just $100 in Bitcoin in July of 2010 (when it cost 6 cents), your investment would be worth over $28 million as of December 2017.

Of course, the likelihood of fast 100-to-1 gains (or 280,000-to-1 gains) from Bitcoin is pretty small now. If returns like that are still possible, it’s new currencies that are more likely to have them (if they don’t just lose all value).

A list of Bitcoin alternatives on has 6 other “important” cryptocurrencies you could try.

On the other hand, maybe by the time it’s considered important a cryptocurrency is already past it’s really cheap phase, so you might want to look further. Wikipedia says there are over 1,300 cryptocurrencies as of early 2018, and they list details on about 50 of them.

Offer consulting services

Think bigger than offering to train bookkeepers by the hour, or teach a course to business managers. Position yourself as a consultant instead, and get paid to share advice on everything from lean management to accounting. Think about pain points and how you can help solve a business' biggest problems.

Consultants enjoy the ultimate flexibility as independent contractors who can work with businesses either by the day or for the long term. While consultants don't need a college degree, they do benefit from having certifications with the tools they're recommending. Consultants also need in-depth industry knowledge.

Rent your stuff

Many rental companies started with just one person renting out his or her own equipment, like pressure washers, power tools or office furniture. To get inspired, see what people are doing on Craigslist, like renting and setting up bounce houses or birthday-party-character costumes. Get creative, and consider renting out your house, your vehicle or rare antiques you own to a set decorator working on an upcoming film.  

You don’t have to start a full operation to build up a rental store. Instead, start with the things that are already in your home. Renting everything has become the mainstream in a sharing economy. You can list your home, car, camera equipment, bike and campers without much effort.

5. Transcribe Audio and Create Closed Captioning

There are a lot of these services out there, and they aren't super well paying jobs. It can be tough to navigate the swarm of scams as well. The best company I've seen for transcription is Rev. The pay is about $1.25 per audio minute, which is a bit more than a minute typing-wise.

Remember that we speak about 6,000–9,000 words per hour on average, but we type perhaps 2,500 words an hour on average. One audio minute may be closer to three or so typing minutes.

With Rev, you can choose between transcription, captioning, and translation work. The pay is more worth it if you have a fast typing speed (60–70+ words per minute). If you're a slow typist, you'll have a harder time making good money doing this.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Do Social Media Marketing

A marketing or advertising degree would come in handy for this role but it isn’t mandatory.

You just need to have the skills to generate a return on investment from digital marketing efforts.

If you can prove you know how to increase sales, boost engagement, and achieve other business goals using social media, you can attract clients.

Running your own successful website, online store, or membership site can go a long way in proving your abilities.

Other skills like writing, graphic design, and photography can boost your social media marketing talents.

When Is it a Good Idea to Skip College?

There’s an easy way to determine if college is right for you. Before deciding to take out the loans and signing up for courses, ask yourself:

Can what I want to study be learned on my own or through on-the-job training?

If there are no professional licensing requirements, such as with attorneys or engineers, you likely don’t need to go to university to study the subject.

Think of the different ways you can learn what you want from hiring mentors, joining mastermind groups, taking non-university courses, or apprenticeship programs.

These are usually more affordable than universities and will likely deliver better results.

Final Thoughts on Making Money Without a Degree

Don’t let the lack of a degree discourage you from a rewarding and lucrative career. Whether you decide to go into a skilled trade or take a less traditional career path and develop the next big affiliate website, there are plenty of options.

The most important thing to know is that you will have to work hard and be patient. Most of the jobs or activities listed above will take a few years to get going, especially with online work.

With that said, given enough time and consistency, you can expect solid returns. Try to remain persistent and don’t overestimate what you can do in a day or underestimate what you can do in a year.

3. Freelance

Upwork did make me some money but not a ton. It's a great way to earn a little bit of income on the side if you can build a good portfolio. You might have to take one or two lower-paying jobs to get the ratings needed to score higher-paying, easy work down the line.

I believe I've clocked about $200 in total sporadically since starting to use this site. Right now, I only go on there when someone has reached out to me for work rather than the other way around.

What Career Is Right for You?

Discovering what you were created to do isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. To get clear on what role is right for you, check out my Career Clarity Guide. And if you need more career tips and strategies, tune in to The Ken Coleman Showand contact me with your questions at 844.747.2577 or

[Note: All median salary calculations are taken from 2022 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.]


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