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The Best Jobs That Pay $100K Without a College Degree

With traditional models of education slowly being phased out, students need alternative methods to gain in-demand skills and knowledge. We took the initiative to put together a list of the best jobs that pay $100,000 without an advanced college degree. In the list, you will find information about job outlook, average salaries, and the skills needed to land these jobs.

Jobs That Pay $100K Without an Advanced Degree in the USA

Living the American dream is not impossible. Below you will find a list of careers that pay $100,000 a year with minimal requirements. None of the jobs listed below require applicants to have an advanced degree. With extensive job experience and soft skills, you can land any of these high-paying job positions.    

Financial Managers

Average Salary: $134,180

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Financial managers are responsible for monitoring the company’s finances by performing data analysis, then preparing financial statements and forecasts to show senior managers how to maximize profits. They also supervise employees during financial reporting and budgeting. 

You will find financial managers working in a wide array of companies, such as financial institutions, charities, and universities. They may tackle treasury, cash management, insurance management, and risk management. A financial manager often works collaboratively with a financial analyst and a financial adviser.

Proficiency in mathematics is particularly important for this job. Even though a degree is not necessary, you might want to consider a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics anyway. A degree program at one of the best schools for math and statistics should help you develop problem-solving, communication, organizational, and analytical skills.

Promotions Manager 

Average Salary: $133,460

Companies require promotion managers to plan and manage campaigns for promoting the company’s products and services. These activities will help increase short-term sales for the overall benefit of the company. To achieve this, promotion managers have to be creative, possess project management skills, and have expertise in marketing and sales promotions.

Most promotions managers develop samples, discounts, contests, and rebates for their organizations. They do this to incentivize external stakeholders and customers. In conjunction with the product development team, they create promotions for specific products. They send promotions via social media, special events, and direct mail.

Companies rely on them for promotion strategy, campaign development, campaign management, and campaign communications. In collaboration with senior marketing managers, you will be able to bring attention to the organization’s products or services.  You will also work in close connection with the legal department. 

Sales Managers 

Average Salary: $132,290

Sales managers lead teams of sales personnel and overlook sales activities to drive business growth. They develop goals and analyze data to help their companies succeed, and often control budgeting and approve expenditures. Their sales team consists of sales representatives, sales engineers, a senior sales executive, and other stakeholders.

It’s important to note that the responsibilities of sales managers vary between organizations. Most sales managers set sales goals and train new salespeople. In other companies, sales managers are in charge of recruiting personnel and have the power to offer promotions. 

To be an exceptional sales manager, you must have analytical skills, strong communication skills, and the ability to make strategic planning decisions. The sales department can often face a lot of pressure and scrutiny from customers, so the ability to remain calm is important.

Human Resource Managers 

Average Salary: $121,220

Human resource managers are responsible for overseeing an organization’s human resource department. This can include planning and organizing activities that contribute to HR department goals. Their main role encompasses strategic planning with the operations manager and executives in interviewing, recruiting new staff, and job training.  

To be a successful human resources manager, you must be proficient in communication, decision-making, strategic thinking, and leadership skills. Being an administrative expert is also an added advantage. Most companies require their human resource manager to be skilled at coaching and recruiting new staff. These professionals can work in a variety of industries, giving them a strong job outlook.

Computer Hardware Engineers

Average Salary: $119,560

Computer hardware engineers aid in the advancement of computer technology by developing new computer hardware. They improve computer systems, circuit boards, memory devices, and routers, as well as create blueprints and designs. It is then up to the engineers to make sure their products are functional and ready for the market. 

In collaboration with software engineers, computer hardware engineers are capable of developing the hardware and software of applications simultaneously. You will also find some hardware engineers working on non-technical products such as medical devices and car parts. Most computer hardware engineers work for manufacturing companies. 

To become a computer hardware engineer, you should be proficient in cloud management, network security, desktop management interfaces, and network configuration. You should also look into developing soft skills to give you an added advantage during the hiring process. Try to build communication, analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of a computer hardware engineer is $119,560. However, you are not likely to be in the 50th percentile when starting your career. In the 10th percentile, you will earn an average wage of $70,100. Increase your experience and expertise to hit the 90th percentile and start earning over $192,110 per year. 

Computer Network Architect

Average Salary: $116,780

Network architects design and manage network security for a company. They often double as ethical hackers who ensure local area networks, intranets, and wide area networks are secure from threats. Through their insight, companies learn better measures to safeguard their data from malicious activities. 

The position will require a lot of collaboration with other departments. Often you will work with either a systems manager or cyber security analysts. A career in cyber security is right for you if you are detail-oriented, analytical, and a problem solver. Good communication skills will also help you carry out your duties. 

As a network architect, you’ll have a better chance of earning a six-figure salary if you get additional education to raise your employment level. You can increase your earning potential by attending a coding bootcamp. According to BLS, network architects in the 75th percentile earn $147,480, and those in the 90th percentile earn $175,570.

Development Managers

Average Salary: $115,640

These professionals are responsible for ensuring a company is on the right track for growth. You will see most development managers doubling up as project managers. They delegate responsibilities, analyze milestones, and establish strategies and methods that better suit the company in question.

This role is mainly solution-based. Development managers are quick to address any customer complaints or concerns by enforcing the company’s policy on the matter at hand. To carry out their responsibilities effectively, the managers maintain open and proper communication channels. 

Attending training programs to familiarize yourself with management and marketing theories will help you land a position. This will give you the baseline you need to handle employees and customers. You should also look into specializing in the Microsoft Office suite, especially Excel, which you can do by taking the best online Excel courses

Sales Director

Average Salary: $101,151

As a sales director, your primary job duties will be to ensure the overall sales and revenue of a company are on the rise by developing growth strategies and action plans. The job position requires you to establish high customer service standards, as well as train sales staff. You will frequently partner with the engineering and marketing teams. 

To land a position as a sales director, you must have presentation and organization skills. To build lasting relationships, you will need to be adaptive and have excellent people skills. It is important for business growth that you learn how to maintain existing relationships as you acquire new ones.

Software Product Manager

Average Salary: $98,469

Product managers are responsible for promoting a company’s objectives by providing products or services to customers. The duties of a product manager are not set in stone, and different organizations will have different expectations.  

Often product managers are mistaken for product owners. The major difference between the two job positions is the role and scope. Product owners often work in conjunction with internal practitioners, while product managers liaise with external stakeholders. A good organization will clearly stipulate the responsibilities of the two positions to avoid confusion. 

To land a job as a product manager, you will need a particular set of skills. You will need to have excellent communication, research, and analytical skills. These skills are paramount if you want to execute your job responsibilities well.

Data Scientist

Average Salary: $98,230

You don’t need a four-year degree to become a data scientist. These professionals are responsible for collecting, processing, analyzing, and making sense of large amounts of data on behalf of an organization. There are data science bootcamps that offer students an affordable alternative to traditional education pathways for data science careers

While the median earnings for a data scientist are slightly less than $100,000, a huge percentage of people in this career path earn six figures. According to BLS, the mean salary is $103,930. Data scientists who work in cities in the heart of Silicon Valley, such as San Francisco, San Jose, and Palo Alto, tend to earn more. 

Technical Project Manager 

Average Salary: $93,673

Project managers are responsible for planning and managing projects for an organization. They establish initiatives that drive business, ensuring that projects are completed on time and under budget. Most of the time, technical project managers organize training activities for technical personnel. This generally improves the performance of the entire organization.

To land a job as a technical program manager, you must be a good leader, possess excellent communication skills, and be proficient at scheduling, time management, and risk assessment. A combination of these skills will land you this position in any Fortune 500 company. Project managers above the 75th percentile earn over $100,000 per year. 

Operations Research Analyst 

Average Salary: $86,200

Operation research analysts are experts in data mining, statistical analysis, and data visualization. You can easily acquire these skills at a data analysis or data science bootcamp. These bootcamp programs teach in-demand skills and offer networking opportunities for students, who will benefit when they go on the tech industry job market. 

Even though operations research analysts earn an average annual wage of $86,200, many of them earn much more than that. According to BLS, operations research analysts in the 75th percentile earn an average salary of $109,670.

Ways to Get a $100K Job Without a College Degree

doctoral degree recipient sitting atop a pile of money  Jobs That Pay $100K Without an Advanced Degree
Here’s a free piece of career advice: You don’t need to go to medical school or law school to earn a pile of money.

You can easily get a job paying $100,000 per year by attending the right program. With the world moving at a fast pace, university education can sometimes slow you down. MOOCs, bootcamps, and self-learning are faster options. These are exceptional ways to get an entry-level education and get on the fast track to a six-figure job. 


Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are excellent at helping students learn in-demand knowledge and skills. These short courses are popular due to their convenience and affordability. You can choose an instructor-led session or opt for self-paced learning. Either way, there is a wide array of courses that could potentially lead to six-figure career options.

Regardless of which MOOC platform you choose, you should be able to work toward a typical entry-level education for your chosen career path. Real estate brokers, public health professionals, nurse anesthetists, and even airline pilots have gotten their start with MOOCs, though it is sometimes necessary to supplement MOOC education with traditional schooling.


A bootcamp program is an exceptional way to launch a six-figure career. You will find that most coding bootcamps have developed long-standing partnerships with established tech companies. The minimum educational requirement needed to join is a high school diploma, and there are high-quality online and free coding bootcamps available.


With the advancement in technology, students do not have to go through traditional four-year degree programs. The biggest advantage of this path is there is no academic requirement. You can learn in-demand skills on your own, relying on books, video tutorials, and self-paced courses to acquire the knowledge necessary to start an entry-level job. 

This option has helped a lot of professionals avoid student loans. You should definitely consider this option if you are hoping to increase your annual salary. 

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