20 High Paying Jobs Without High School Diploma or GED

Securing a well-paying job that doesn’t need a high school or GED® diploma is often an uphill battle. But today, there are some pretty interesting jobs out there that are not requiring such a degree.

There are so many things you can do if you want to enhance your knowledge and skillset. So don’t hesitate and give your chances of getting hired a boost.

For all listed examples you need above-average communication skills.

A good understanding of English helps, as do top-notch analytical and problem-solving skills.

So let’s take a closer look at some jobs that are well-paying but for which you don’t need a high school credential or GED. All the following examples will lead to an income of around or (sometime far) above $40K:

Construction Laborer

Annual Salary around $37K

Construction Laborers (or Construction Workers) perform tasks that involve physical labor at building and construction sites. Usually, they operate hand-held or power tools such as air hammers, cement mixers, earth tampers, mechanical hoists, measuring and surveying equipment, and many more instruments and equipment.

They prepare and clean building sites, set braces for excavations support, erect scaffolding, dig trenches, and clean up debris and waste materials. They also may have to control traffic around work zones and signal operators to facilitate movement, adjustment, or alignment of equipment, machinery, or materials.

Construction Workers need to be able to use their arms and legs while standing, sitting, or lying down. They must understand how to operate and change the controls of machines and equipment. They also must be able to focus on security issues and public safety.

Refuse and Recyclable Material Collector

Annual Salary around $38K

Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors are also called Rolloff Truck Drivers or Sanitation Laborers. They collect and dump recyclable materials or refuse from containers into their trucks.

They operate semi-automated or fully automated hoisting devices to raise and dump the contents of refuse bins into the bodies of their trucks. Before starting out on their routes, they must inspect the trucks to ensure proper and safe operating conditions.

Refuse Collectors drive trucks along established routes, through industrial, business, or residential areas. They must be able to use their arms and legs while standing or sitting and properly adjust the controls of their trucks or other machines. People that are interested in this line of work usually like activities including hands-on and practical problems and solutions.

Paving and Surfacing Equipment Operator

Annual Salary around $39K

Paving & Surfacing Equipment Operators are also called Paver Operators or Roller Operators. They operate equipment for applying asphalt, concrete, or some other material to airport runways and taxiways, roadbeds, or parking lots. They also work on tamping dirt, gravel, or other materials.

These professionals operate specialized machines to spread, level, smooth, or steel-reinforce concrete, asphalt, or stone on roadbeds. They monitor material flow, the distribution of paving material, adjust machine settings and point workers to low spots to add material.

These operators must have command of building and construction and be able to focus on security and public safety. They need to be able to adjust controls of machines quickly and use their arms and legs while sitting and standing. Sometimes they also need to control traffic at road construction sites.

Parking Enforcement Worker

Annual Salary around $40K

Parking Enforcement Workers are also called Ticket Writers, Parking Enforcement Officers (PEOs), College Service Officers, or Community Service Officers. They patrol city streets, public parking lots, or other assigned areas to issue parking tickets to illegally parked vehicles or overtime parking violators.

These professionals enter and retrieve details regarding vehicle registration, status, and identification while using hand-held devices. They patrol assigned areas on foot or by vehicle to ensure compliance with existing parking ordinances in public spaces.

Parking Enforcement Workers write citations and warnings for illegally parked vehicles. They also are monitoring public safety and security and need to have an understanding of applicable laws and (local) government regulations.

People interested in this profession must be able to communicate clearly and listen to the public quietly to avoid misunderstandings. They must be able to pay attention to various situations without being distracted.

Logging Equipment Operator

Annual Salary around $40K

Logging Equipment Operators are also called Loader Operators, Skidder Drivers, or Skidder Operators. These professionals drive logging tractors or wheeled vehicles with logging arches, frontal shears, bulldozer blades, grapples, cable winches, hoisting racks, or crane booms.

They fell trees and skid, stack, load, or unload stack logs and pull stumps and clear brush. They must have some understanding of mechanics and before they can use their heavy equipment, they must be able to inspect everything for safety. They must be able to perform basic maintenance tasks.

As they deal with public safety, their focus must be on security. They must control their hydraulic tractors that are equipped with booms and tree clamps to lift trees. Working in accordance with established and strict company and industry standards is key.

Welder/Cutter/Welder Fitter

Annual Salary around $41K

Welders, Cutters, and Welder Fitters are also called Fabricators or Welder-Fabricators. These professionals use flame-cutting or hand-welding equipment to join or weld metal components. They also fill indentations, holes, or seams in metal products.

They must be able to weld together components in vertical, flat, or overhead positions and they must understand what it takes to operate safely with their equipment. They align, layout, position, and secure assemblies and parts prior to the assembly while using combination squares, straight edges, rulers, and/or calipers.

Welders, Cutters, and Welder Fitters must be able to keep their arm and hands steady as they are working with various items and welding equipment in their hands. They must also understand how the products they work with are manufactured and how they must be joined together.

Solderer/Brazer

Annual Salary around $41K

Solderers and Brazers are also called Fabricators or Wirers. These professionals solder or braze components together to assemble fabricated or prefabricated metal parts while using a soldering torch, soldering iron, or a welding machine.

They place workpieces together using hand tools, rules, or squares or place items in jigs, fixtures, or vises. They apply melted solder along a workpiece’s adjoining edges and solder or weld joints while using gas torches, soldering irons, or ultrasonic equipment.

Solderers and Brazers additionally inspect seams for defects and, when needed, repair broken parts or defective joints. They must be able to put small parts together with their fingers and move and/or hold items with their hands. People interested in securing a job in this field usually like activities and work that include hands-on activities and problem-solving strategies.

Terrazzo Worker/Finisher

Annual Salary around $42K

Terrazzo Workers and Finishers are also called Terrazzo Installers or Terrazzo Tile Setters. These professionals are working with a mixture of cement, pigment, sand, or marble chips to create decorative and durable surfaces to stairways, floors, or cabinet fixtures.

These professionals measure specific amounts of ingredients to create terrazzo or grout in kine with standard specifications and formulas. They use scales and graduated containers and place the ingredients into portable mixers. They must have a basic understanding of building, construction, and design.

Terrazzo Workers will have to understand how to grind a surface and work with power grinders or how to polish a surface with surfacing or polishing machines. They cut metal strips for division purposes and press these into the terrazzo base to make changes of color or joints to form patterns or designs and help prevent cracks.

Trailer Truck Driver

Annual Salary around $43K

These professionals are also named Drivers, OTR (Over The Road Drivers), Road Drivers, or Truck Drivers. They drive trucks or tractor-trailer combinations with capacities of more than 26,000 pounds GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight).

Trailer Truck Drivers need to hold commercial drivers’ licenses and often must load or unload their trucks. It is their duty to check their vehicles mechanically and ensure safety and working emergency equipment.

Truck Drivers must attend to appropriate safety procedures when transporting dangerous goods and inspect loads to make sure that their cargo is secure.

They are responsible for the movement of goods and people mainly by road but sometimes also by air, rail, or sea. A customer-focused professional attitude is needed as well as a proper command of the English language.

Earth Driller

Annual Salary around $44K

Earth Drillers are also called Drill Operators, Blast Hole Drillers, Drillers, or Well Drillers. They operate various drills such as pneumatic, rotary, and churn drills. They may also use explosives and this group includes earth boring and horizontal boring machine operators.

These professionals tap, for example, salt deposits and sub-surface water. They remove core samples at soil testing or mineral explorations and facilitate the use of explosives in construction and mining.

Earth Drillers operate controls to align drills and stabilize machines. They are responsible for starting, stopping, and controlling the drilling operations and they insert casings into holes. They are responsible for regulating air pressure, downward pressure, and rotary speed according to what type of concrete or rock is being drilled.

Dragline, Excavating and Loading Machine Operator

Annual Salary around $44K

These operators are also called Dragline Oilers, Loader Operators, or Heavy Equipment Operators. They operate machinery equipped with shovels, buckets, or scoops to load or excavate loose materials.

Dragline operators use foot pedals, move levers, and turn dials. They operate powerful machines such as stripping or power shovels, backhoes, or scraper loaders.

It is their duty to inspects and/or set up equipment prior to operations. They need to understand machine limitations and capabilities and get familiar with digging plans. Safe and efficient digging procedures are their top priorities.

Dragline Operators are usually working with mechanical equipment in construction, mining, or building sites and security and public safety concerns must have their full attention.

Farm Labor Contractor

Annual salary around 46K

Farm Labor Contractors are also referred to as Field Supervisors or Field Managers. These professionals recruit temporary or seasonal agricultural workers. They are responsible for transportation, housing, and providing meals for these workers.

Holding a high school or GED degree is not required but it wouldn’t hurt. Often, the job includes paying wages to workers and providing field sanitary facilities and drinking water.

If you’re interested in this job, you should have well-rounded leadership skills. You should also understand the principles of business, and speak foreign languages.

Mine and Channeling Machine Operator

Annual Salary around $47K

Mine Cutters and Channeling Machine Operators are also Longwall Shearer Operators or Shear Operators. They operate machinery like longwall plows and shears and cutting machines. They cut channels along the seams or face of coal mines or other mining surfaces.

Mine and Channeling Operators facilitate separating, blasting, or removing materials or minerals from mines or from the surface of the Earth. This mechanical engineering job involves shale planers.

These professionals place jacks and roof support like timber and install casings to prevent situations such as cave-ins. They use machines to make holes or cuts and cut entries between haulage ways and mining rooms.

It is their responsibility to take care of security and safety and notice when problems may occur. They must be able to quickly manage machinery and recognize different sounds. It is a physically demanding job and these professionals must be able to use your arms and legs while standing, sitting, or lying down.

Sheet Metal Worker

Annual Salary around $48K

Sheet Metal Workers are also called HVAC Sheet Metal Installer, Journeyman Sheet Metal Worker, Sheet Metal Worker, or Sheet Metal Mechanic. They assemble, repair, install, or manufacture sheet metal equipment and products such as furnace casings, control boxes, ducts, and drainpipes.

These professionals set up and operate machines to cut, straighten, and bend sheet metal. They shape sheet metal over blocks, anvils, or forms while using hammers and use welding and soldering machines to join metal parts.

This job also includes assembling, smoothing, and inspecting joints and seams of burred surfaces. Duct installers work with prefabricated sheet metal ducts that are used for air conditioning, heating, and that kind of purpose.

Apart from the assembly or construction of sheet metal products, sheet metal workers decide on project requirements like scope, methods, assembly sequences, and/or materials using drawings, blueprints, and/or verbal or written instructions.

Postal Service Mail Carrier

Annual Salary around $55K

A Mail Carrier is also called Letter Carrier, City Letter Carrier, or RCA (Rural Carrier Associate). These professionals sort mail and deliver it on set routes on foot or by vehicle.

They scan labels on parcels and letters to confirm receipt and obtain signed receipts for insured, registered, or certified mail. They also collect associated fees or charges and complete necessary paperwork.

On their routes, Mail Carriers will collect mail from public mailboxes, businesses, and homes and return that to the post office. They need to understand what customer service, security, sales, and public safety are all about and their command of the English language must be good.

Mail Carriers must be able to use software systems such as Address Management System (AMS), Automated Data Collection System (ADCS), and Delivery Operations Information System (DOIS).

Real Estate Appraiser

Annual Salary around $55K 

Real Estate Appraisers are also named Valuation Consultants or Appraisers. They appraise properties and determine values. Their reports are used for sales, mortgages, purchases, or investment and loans.

Real estate appraisers determine the final estimated values of properties. They look at things such as location and the value of similar properties. Replacement costs, depreciation, and income potential play also a role.

Real estate appraisers prepare written reports in line with appraisal standards. They outline the used methods for their estimations. Additionally, they collect and analyze data to identify real estate market trends.

Appraisers must have an excellent command of the English language. It goes without saying that well-rounded communication and customer service skills are prerequisites.

Appraisers must have a basic understanding of geography, arithmetic, calculus, geometry, and statistics. Knowledge of buildings and construction, basic engineering, and computers are also needed.

Rail-Track Equipment Operator

Annual Salary around $57K

Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operators are also called Track Laborers, Track Inspectors, Track Maintainers, or Track Repairers. They inspect, maintain, and repair railroad tracks in public railroad service or in, for example, factory yards or gravel pits and mines.

These operators may use ballast cleaning machines railroad bed tamping machines. In general, they will patrol track sections and locate, report, or repair broken or damaged tracks. They will adjust or repair track switches while using replacement parts and wrenches.

These professionals also weld track sections like frogs and switch points together so they must be able to change the controls of machines or trucks quickly. They must be able to use their legs and arms together while standing or sitting and focus on public safety. Usually, a GED or high school diploma is needed for this position but there are quite a few options open to individuals without a secondary education degree.

Postal Service Processor, Processing Machine Operator, Mail Sorter

Annual Salary around $58K

These professionals are also called Mail Handlers, Automation Clerks, Distribution Clerks, or Mail Processors. They process outgoing and incoming mail for distribution.

Mail Handlers sort, examine and route mail. They operate, load, adjust and must be able to repair mail sorting, processing, and/or canceling machines. They must keep records of sacks, pouches, and shipments as well as other mail handling tasks at the postal service.

Postal Service Processors must clear jams in postal sorting equipment and they operate computer scanning equipment, mimeographs, addressographs, bar-code sorters, and optical character readers.

They must be able to read and understand what’s written and communicate effectively. It is also their duty to manually sort odd-sized packages and mail and segregate items that need special handling.

Boiler Maker

Annual Salary around $62K

Boiler Makers are also called Boiler Mechanics or Boiler Technicians. They assemble, construct, repair, and maintain boiler house auxiliaries and stationary steam boiler systems.

These professionals align plate sections or structures for assembling boiler frame tanks and/or vats. This involves the use of power and hand tools, wedges, plumb bobs, dogs, and turnbuckles.

They will also test assembled vessels and monitor how boilers and boiler furnaces are cleaned. They inspect boiler fittings, check and if needed repair regulators, safety valves, water columns, automatic-control mechanisms, and auxiliary machines.

They must understand and know how to use torches, caulking hammers, jacks, power saws, welding equipment, threading dies, or metalworking machinery. They also need to attach rigging and understand how to signal hoist or crane operators to lift heavy parts into place. Public safety is key and they also must have a command of construction and building procedures.

Farm Products Purchasing Agent

Annual salary around $62K

Farm Products Agents are also named Grain Buyers, Merchandising Managers, or Grain Merchandisers. They buy farm products either for resale or for further processing. This group also includes tobacco buyers, tree farm contractors, market operators, and grain brokers.

Farm Products Agents buy farm products such as grains, milk, grains, or Christmas trees. They are responsible for negotiating contracts with agricultural producers. Generally, they are also responsible for the movement of goods and/or people by road, rail, air, or sea.

To be successful in this profession, you must understand the principles of business. You need to have basic knowledge of arithmetic, statistics, calculus, algebra, and geometry. You must understand the basics of customer service and economics and accounting. A thorough command of the English language is a must.