A four-year degree is not a prerequisite to earning a six-figure salary. There are many jobs in blue-collar industries where workers earn a high salary. Best of all, they don’t have to give half of their wages to lenders to pay off student debt. In fact, according to recent data, wages in the blue-collar sector are growing faster than wages in industries where a college degree is required.

There are positions in many different fields that pay six-figure salaries that only require a high school diploma. These positions are relatively safe, even in turbulent economic times, whether due to a recession, a pandemic, or another factor.

Here are five of the most popular six-figure jobs that don’t require a college degree:

#1) Pile-Diver Operator

Median Salary (2020): $75,860

Salary Among Top Earners (2020): $ 112,220

A pile-driver operator uses a large machine to hammer heavy beams, also known as piles, into the ground during construction. Piles can be used for supporting bridges, retaining walls, bulkheads, docks, or building foundations. Pile-drivers can be mounted on skids, barges, cranes, or other pieces of large equipment. Most pile driver operators are expected to have a high school diploma or equivalent and begin learning on the job with lighter equipment.

Individuals working in this field need to have the coordination and agility necessary to operate complex machinery. Pile-driver operators should have good communication skills as well.

#2) Elevator and Escalator Installation and Repair Technician

Median Salary (2020): $88,540

Salary Among Top Earners (2020): $128,500

 Technicians in this field will typically install, maintain, and fix elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other types of lifts. The job isn’t easy. Elevator and escalator installation and repair technicians often work in cramped spaces or at great heights. Elevator and escalator installation and repair technicians can expect to be on call 24 hours a day or put in significant overtime.

Elevator and escalator installation and repair technicians typically require a high school diploma. Most of their training is on the job, through an apprenticeship. Most states require that technicians in this field are licensed, and the licensing requirements may vary from state to state.

#3 Transportation Manager

Median Salary (2020): $$96,838

Salary Among Top Earners (2020): $112,758

Transportation managers are broadly responsible for coordinating and overseeing the operations within an organization involved in transportation activities. These individuals are also charged with ensuring that all legal requirements for hauling and transportation are met. Transportation managers typically oversee a staff of individuals who are involved in dispatching, routing, and tracking as part of an organization’s transportation activities.

A candidate for the position of transportation manager should have strong business management and leadership skills, the ability to work well under pressure, as well as a clear understanding of transportation methods, costs, and benefits. In addition, a transportation manager should have the ability to work well with others, have good communication skills, and be able to be thorough, with impeccable attention to detail.

#4 Truck Driver

Median Salary (2020): $65,616

Salary Among Top Earners (2020): $142,151

Being a truck driver isn’t always easy. The long driving hours and the time spent away from home can be stressful for drivers. For many, it is worth the reward. The position of a truck driver can be a lucrative one without requiring a college degree or any specific experience.

Of course, the position does have special licensing rules that may vary from state to state. Generally, a truck driver needs a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate large, heavy, or hazardous material vehicles. Some employers also require additional training, such as certification from a truck driving school. It is a small price to pay when you consider the potential to earn a six-figure salary.

#5 Transportation Inspector

Median Salary (2020): $72,140

Salary Among Top Earners (2020): $120,340

Depending on the situation, the role of the transportation inspector can vary greatly. Typically, a transportation inspector will inspect goods or equipment associated with transporting people or cargo to ensure safety. The position may include the inspection of airplanes, subways, trains, or buses.

The majority of employees in this role work for either the federal, state or local government. Like a police officer, this means that the position comes with some great benefits as well.

A College Degree Isn’t Everything

As you can see by this list, there are trade jobs that pay six-figure salaries without requiring a college degree. But this list only scratches the surface. Many jobs are offering six-figure salaries that only require a high school diploma and some on-the-job training. As the job market continues to evolve, data shows that the list will likely continue to grow.


If your goal is to move up in your career, find a new job, or get started down a new path altogether, Stand-By Personnel is here to help. Our experienced Tulsa staffing agency can help you find full-time or part-time employment. Contact Stand-By Personnel today or text ‘weldingjobs’ or ‘skilledjobs’ to 888-111 to see how we can help you get started in a new career.