50. Heating and refrigeration mechanic

Salary: $45,910

This is not a job for people who run hot and cold. These technicians help control the temperature and air quality in buildings. An apprenticeship with a licenced technician may be required in larger cities.

Best jobs without degree and you can start after high school.
David Spates / Shutterstock

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49. Auto body and repair technician

Salary: $40,370

In this job, you restore, refinish or even replace vehicle bodies and glass. With on-the-job training, you can complete certifications that are transferable throughout the industry.

auto mechanic worker applying washing car body preparing for painting at automobile repair and renew service station
Dmitry Kalinovsky / Shutterstock

Nuclear medicine technologists

Salary: $74,350

These experts prepare radioactive drugs used in MRIs. You can become a nuclear medicine technologist with an associate’s degree or even a high school diploma, as long as you can become accredited within your state.

Patient Wearing Head Coil During MRI Scan In Hospital
Tyler Olson / Shutterstock

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47. Bookkeeper

Salary: $38,390

This is a perfect job for anyone who loves numbers. A bookkeeper records financial transactions and helps produce financial records for companies. A candidate should be great with computers and have even better math skills.

Spreadsheet Document Information Financial Startup Concept
Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock

46. Transportation manager

Salary: $89,190

Though this job offers high salaries, there's also a high risk of job loss due to automation. These managers keep things moving in the rail, trucking, shipping, energy and aerospace industries — often with only a high school diploma.

Manager checking plan  at warehouse for Logistic Import Export background (Elements of this image furnished by NASA)
KAMONRAT / Shutterstock

45. Insurance claims investigator

Salary: $63,670

These examiners for insurance companies work with accident investigators to determine whether insurance claims should be paid. An entry-level insurance investigator needs only a high school education, but moving up requires training and certifications.

Insurance Agent Inspecting Damaged Car With Insurance Claim Form On Digital Tablet
Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

44. Media equipment manager

Salary: $59,040

This field offers unique opportunities to brush shoulders with celebrities, politicians and even sports stars as you handle cameras, sound equipment and other gear. Advancement comes via on-the-job training.

The process of recording a TV program in the culinary studio, blurred background. Video light stands with equipment and crew.
Cozy Home / Shutterstock

43. Welder

Salary: $39,390

Welders join or cut metal parts to build things we depend on daily. Typically, a welder starts out in an internship program that requires a high school education. The internships offer on-the job training plus additional classroom sessions.

A strong man is a welder in a black T-shirt, in a welding mask and welders leathers, a metal product is welded with a welding machine in the garage, blue sparks fly to the sides
Sova Vitalij / Shutterstock

42. Dental hygienist

Salary: $72,390

If you love attention to detail and chatting with people who can’t really talk back, dental hygienist might be the job for you. These essential dental office employees check patients' teeth, do cleanings and offer those flossing reminders many of us ignore.

A portrait of a dental assistant smiling at the camera with the dentist working in the background
Tyler Olson / Shutterstock

41. Teacher’s aide

Salary: $25,410

Depending on the district, teachers' aides need just a good personal history with kids, a clean criminal record and a high school education. This job involves giving attention to children and working alongside a teacher to ensure classes go off without a hitch.

Elementary school kids and teacher sit cross legged on floor
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

40. Immigration and customs inspector

Salary: $54,670

If you're looking for a solid job with the government but have only a high school education, you may be in luck. These inspectors work with freight handlers and law enforcement to protect U.S. borders.

Immigration control officer will arrival stamp in the passport
ArtWell / Shutterstock

39. Sales representative

Salary: $52,490

If you're outgoing and great with people, sales might be right for you. Many sales reps earn well above the median, thanks to commissions for selling everything from janitorial supplies to new cars.

Sales woman presenting new product to pharmacist
Dragon Images / Shutterstock

38. Forest firefighter

Salary: $48,030

Forest firefighters are specialists who work in highly dangerous situations battling not only flames but also wind and smoke. They make a living saving homes, woodlands, infrastructure and people from one of the most dangerous threats on earth.

firefighters battle a wildfire
StockPhotosLV / Shutterstock

37. Paralegal assistant

Salary: $49,500

Paralegals are the key to a successful law firm, and the work can be exhilarating whether you are brand-new to the legal system or are working your way to a law career. The work includes drafting documents and client hand-holding, but the duties are varied and challenging.

Young female lawyer or paralegal working in her office on a Computer or Pc
Kzenon / Shutterstock

36. Cosmetologist

Salary: $24,300

Cosmetologists work with their hands to make sure you look your best, no matter the damage you have done to your hair or skin. Though the median salary is low, many of these professionals can demand much higher pay based on location and skills.

Woman beautician doctor at work in spa center. Portrait of a young female professional cosmetologist. Healthcare occupation, medical career
Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

35. Construction and building inspector

Salary: $58,480

These inspectors make certain that construction projects and completed buildings are safe and meet local and national codes and ordinances, as well as zoning regulations and contract specifications.

Men in hardhat and green jacket posing on building site.Film noise
romul014 / Shutterstock

34. Occupational therapy assistant

Salary: $56,070

These care workers help those suffering from injuries, illness or simply old age rehabilitate, develop, recover, and improve their basic motor functions and skills for daily living.

Female patient being assisted by physical therapists in hospital
Tyler Olson / Shutterstock

33. Medical secretary

Salary: $35,060

Medical secretaries keep clinics and medical offices running efficiently. The job involves working with patients, filing medical records, dealing with insurers, making appointments and working with the doctor-on-call to help ensure that patients get great care.

Senior man communicating with female receptionist while women sitting in background
Tyler Olson / Shutterstock

32. Online advertising marketer

Salary: $127,560

If you are wanting to #hustle, this might be the job for you. Online marketers plan campaigns to promote products or services through social media, video, text and interactive internet ads.

Advertising Campaign Promote Branding Marketing Concept
Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock

31. Construction manager

Salary: $89,300

Construction managers are an essential part of any construction site — they plan, coordinate, budget and supervise the operation. Managers need to have an ability to lead and maintain the health and safety of the construction crew.

Construction manager and engineer working on building site
ESB Professional / Shutterstock

30. Hair stylist

Salary: $29,590

Who doesn't love having perfect hair? Stylists work with their hands to shampoo, color, cut and shape clients' hair so that their customers are happy and keep coming back.

Picture of working day inside the beauty salon
Karashaev / Shutterstock

29. Postmaster

Salary: $71,980

The U.S. Postal Service always delivers, no matter the weather. Postmasters run post office locations and supervise letter carriers, so mail deliveries are reliable and smooth.

young woman working at the post office
rlat / Shutterstock

28. Executive assistant

Salary: $37,230

Executive assistants work with higher-level company officials so they meet their daily schedules and goals. This is the perfect job if you are able to multitask and think on your feet to deliver for a boss.

More: What does an executive assistant do?

27. Construction machine operator

Salary: $45,045

These workers get to play with big toys all day long. Without their dump trucks, crushers or backhoes to move rock, transport lumber and complete other heavy-duty tasks, nothing would get done at construction sites.

male operator driving excavator on construction building site
Comaniciu Dan / Shutterstock

26. Court reporter

Salary: $51,320

Court reporters are an essential part of the judicial system, on everything from murder cases to a simple divorce. The job involves producing word-for-word transcriptions for court records and, in some cases, television closed-captioning.

the microphone in a courtroom
David Z Cheng / Shutterstock

25. Receptionist

Salary: $27,920

Receptionists are the glue that keeps an office from falling apart. Typically, a receptionist’s job means answering phones, receiving visitors and providing clients with basic information. Receptionists may also work on scheduling meetings and appointments.

Kind female receptionist wish welcome to guest
Lucky Business / Shutterstock

24. Police officer

Salary: $61,600

The heart of a police officer’s job is to protect the public. That can involve working with the community to reduce violence, or actively gathering evidence and chasing criminals. Law enforcement jobs that don't require a college degree are available at state, county and local levels.

a smiling Hispanic police officer next to her patrol car.
John Roman Images / Shutterstock

23. Truck driver

Salary: $41,340

We see them all the time on our highways, and they play an important role in our economy as they move goods safely and efficiently. To become a truck driver, you will need to pass state testing requirements and have a clean driving record.

handsome masculine truck driver standing outside with his vehicle behind with folded arms
All kind of people / Shutterstock

22. Surveyor

Salary: $59,390

Surveyors are the reason property owners know exactly what it is they own. The job entails making precise measurements for mining, engineering, mapmaking, large-scale construction and residential projects.

Surveyor equipment. Surveyor’s telescope at construction site or Surveying for making contour plans are a graphical representation of the lay of the land before startup construction work
Kokliang / Shutterstock

21. Fashion designer

Salary: $65,170

As Heidi Klum would say, this job involves understanding what's in and what's out. Designers create original clothing, accessories and shoes for the red carpet or the everyday world. You will need to be able to sketch and work with a computer — and must have an eye for fashion.

Fashion Design Mannequin Measurement Concept
Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock

20. Diagnostic medical sonographer

Salary: $64,280

These technicians work with special equipment to produce images for doctors and specialists, and conduct tests for patients. With some on-the-job training and a keen interest in health and medicine, a person with a high school diploma can excel at this job.

Sonographer technician holds an ultrasound transducer to diagnose the condition of a pregnant woman with a view of the woman's uterus on the computer screen.
Steven Frame / Shutterstock

More: Need money to train for your dream job? A personal loan might help.

19. Pet groomer

Salary: $22,230

If you are an animal person, a job as a pet groomer might be for you. These professionals clean, brush, cut and style the hair on our four-legged friends to keep them happy and healthy. You might start out at a veterinary clinic and later blossom into your own small pet-grooming business.

Pet groomer with comb, dog in grooming salon
Nomad_Soul / Shutterstock

18. Electrician

Salary: $52,720

Electricians install, maintain and repair wiring, transformers and communications and control systems in homes or businesses. Wherever there's a construction site or just a building on the power grid, a certified electrician will likely be needed sooner or later.

Young adult electrician builder engineer screwing equipment in fuse box
Dmitry Kalinovsky / Shutterstock

17. A mystery shopper

Salary: $20,000

This is an intriguing job! You get to shop at a random store and report back on your experiences. Mystery shoppers help retailers know that store employees follow company rules and practices. These jobs offer a cool perk: You typically get to keep the merchandise you're asked to buy.

More: How to become a mystery shopper

16. Mechanic

Salary: $38,470

If you love cars and love getting to the bottom of the odd sounds they sometimes make, a job as a mechanic might be your calling. Mechanics inspect, maintain and repair vehicles of all shapes and sizes to keep them in roadworthy condition.

Hand of car mechanic with wrench. Auto repair garage.
Rohatynchuk Mykola / Shutterstock

15. Illustrator

Salary: $57,410

No degree is necessary if you'd like to make your living as an illustrator, but you will need an artistic flair and an understanding of the latest technology. Illustrators create original artwork in a wide range of media, including video, software and print.

Artist Creative Designer Illustrator Graphic Skill Concept
Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock

14. Real estate broker

Salary: $46,410

The real estate business isn't for everyone. But if you have great client relationship skills and have an ability to buy, sell or rent properties, this is the field for you. Unlike real estate agents, brokers manage their own real estate businesses.

Real estate agent showing new house to couple
wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock

13. Police records officer

Salary: $38,500

This public servant makes sure that police records are stored correctly and are available for handing over to state or federal authorities with a warrant. You must be able to pass a criminal background check and prove you are extremely attentive to detail.

Shot of three young police officers talking
Photographee.eu / Shutterstock

12. Commercial pilot

Salary: $105,720

Flying may no longer be as glamorous as in the movie Catch Me If You Can, but commercial pilots still hold jobs with tremendous responsibility commanding very complex equipment. Pilots must work their way up through ground school and regional jets before they can land a job with a major airline.

Flight Deck of modern passenger jet aircraft. Pilots at work. Night city view from the plane cockpit.
Skycolors / Shutterstock

11. Detective

Salary: $61,600

These law enforcers work with police officers, but instead of walking a beat, detectives are the ones who arrive on crime scenes to investigate, collect evidence and help make arrests. The work is hard and the hours are long, but being a detective can be very rewarding.

Private Detective Sitting Inside Car Doing Surveillance Work Photographing With Camera
Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

10. Farmer

Salary: $66,360

Farming is hardly about throwing some seed on the ground and hoping something grows. Today's farmer utilizes technology and crop rotation to yield a maximum harvest. Farmers are the lifeblood of the food economy, and these difficult but fulfilling jobs are available in virtually every type of region.

Young farmers examing  planted wheat while tractor is plowing field
Fotokostic / Shutterstock

9. Chef

Salary: $43,180

Being a chef is about more than food, it's about providing a great experience for restaurant patrons that will keep them returning for more. There are long hours and frustrating days, but if you truly love food it's a dream career.

Chef finishing her plate and almost ready to serve at the table. Only hands. Finally dish dressing: steak meat with green salad
Volodymyr Goinyk / Shutterstock

8. Bartender

Salary: $20,800

Bartending requires skills that go beyond slinging drinks and pouring pints. You'll need to be able to time-manage, think on your feet and ensure the safety of your patrons. The salary may be low, but the tips at the end of the night normally make up for the poor base pay.

Bartender making alcohol coctail in restaurant
Nomad_Soul / Shutterstock

7. Web designer

Salary: $65,130

These designers make a living creating websites that are functional, beautiful and easy to use. They also work on existing sites to improve their look and function so that they stay up to date and perform well for users.

Web designer creating layout for new startup website
baranq / Shutterstock

6. Actor

Salary: $34,034

From the stage to the TV screen, actors bring life to ideas and portray characters for the public's entertainment. The median pay isn't great, and it's is not an easy business to get into. But if you get your break, it's possible to be a big (and well-paid) star.

More: Celebrities who lost millions

5. Web developer

Salary: $66,130

Web developers work with web designers to create and maintain sites for companies or individuals. A developer oversees the technical workings of a site and monitors performance data, such as on the numbers of site visitors and the percentages who click on the ads or buy something.

Asian Developer Using Laptop Computer Sitting Working Real Office
ProStockStudio / Shutterstock

4. Artist

Salary: $48,780

An artist creates paintings, pottery, quilts and other artwork for sale or exhibition, using a variety of tools and materials. Artists starting out generally need to find another job to supplement their income. But often, if you are true to your passion, you can make a living off your art.

Woman painter sitting on the floor in front of the canvas
Kate Aedon / Shutterstock

3. Writer

Salary: $61,240

Hey that’s me! But in all seriousness, a writer creates books, articles, blogs, technical papers and other written materials. Today’s writer has a ton of potential outlets for getting work before the public, including traditional newspapers and book publishers, websites, and even Amazon, with its e-books.

Woman working on computer and writing down her thoughts
Dragon Images / Shutterstock

2. Firefighter

Salary: $48,030

Firefighters respond to life-threatening situations, including fires, accidents and medical emergencies. To be a good candidate, you will need to be strong, fit and smart. It also helps to have experience as a paramedic, volunteer firefighter or other first responder, to know that you can handle the stress.

firefighters battle a wildfire
Toa55 / Shutterstock

1. Crime scene investigator

Salary: $56,750

It's not necessarily what you see on "CSI," but criminal scene investigators are an essential part of law enforcement. They photograph crime scenes, gather evidence and analyze it. A bachelor's degree is often needed, though not always.

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About the Author

Scott Nordlund

Scott Nordlund

Freelance Contributor

Scott was formerly a freelance contributor to MoneyWise.

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