A four-year degree is becoming less of a requirement to land a solid, high-paying job as more companies are eliminating degree requirements in favor of skills-based hiring to vet candidates.
Between 2017 and 2019, employers reduced the degree requirements for 46% of middle-skill positions and 31% of high-skill positions, according to research from Harvard Business Review and The Burning Glass Institute. Instead, companies are adding more soft-skills requirements in their job postings and testing hard skills through certifications, evaluations and other methods.
This trend isn’t specific to certain industries, either: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that between 2020 and 2030, about 60% of all new jobs in the economy will be in occupations that don’t require an associate’s, bachelor’s or graduate degree.
The highest-paid occupations that don’t require a bachelor’s degree tend to be very specialized, technical roles that include extensive job training, such as an air traffic controller, which offers a median salary of $129,750 per year, or a nuclear power reactor operator, which offers a median salary of $104,260 per year, according to the BLS.
Other six-figure jobs tend to require a high school diploma, an associate’s degree or a postsecondary nondegree award, typically given to someone who completes a course in under two years that teaches them specific skills or knowledge needed for a job.
If you are exploring non-traditional career paths that don’t require a bachelor’s degree, there are several unique high-paying jobs you can consider. Here are three six-figure jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree, according to data from Indeed and the BLS:
According to Indeed: “Radiation therapists work closely with cancer treatment teams to administer radiation treatments to cancer patients. They make sure machines work properly, ensure correct radiation doses, take X-rays and maintain patient records.”
National average salary: $126,024 per year
Typical education needed for entry: Associate’s degree or certification program
Job outlook: Job openings for radiation therapists are expected to grow 6% over the decade, or about 800 openings per year.
According to Indeed: “Real estate managers are in charge of overseeing the daily operations of a property like an apartment complex or commercial building. They typically manage maintenance teams, ensure rent is paid and fill vacancies. To become a senior real estate manager, you typically need to gain experience in entry-level positions and work your way up.”
National average salary: $135,964
Typical education needed for entry: High school diploma or equivalent
Job outlook: Job openings for property, real estate and community association managers are expected to grow 3% over the decade, or about 33,300 openings per year.