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20 big-salary jobs, no degree required

  • Story Highlights
  • Not every well-paying job requires a college degree
  • Air traffic controllers can make $74,922 per year
  • A medical facility housekeeping manager can earn more than $55,000
  • Credit and collection supervisors, painting supervisors make more than $50,000

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By Rachel Zupek writer
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While the importance of earning a college degree to secure a good job has been engrained in our brains for as long we can remember, a four-year degree is not the only path to a successful career.

Not all well-paying jobs require a college education.

Not all well-paying jobs require a college education.

Schooling is a great way to develop skills and will no doubt enhance your credibility. But a college education is no longer a requirement to securing a well-paying salary.

Despite the fact that college graduates earn an average of $1 million more than high school graduates during their careers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, it is possible to land a lucrative position without attending college.

Workers with a high school education or less have an abundance of positions open to them. In 2006, 66 million jobs -- about 44 percent of the total -- were available to workers with less than a high school education, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 2016, there are expected to be 71 million jobs available to these workers.

Just because these jobs don't require a college degree, however, doesn't mean that they don't require hard work or extensive training. Here are 20 of the highest-paying jobs that don't require a degree, according to

1. Margin department supervisor
Salary: $83,579/year
Primary duties: Overseeing a company's credit department, which manages customer credit accounts and approves or denies credit to customers.

2. Air traffic controller
Salary: $74,922/year
Primary duties: Controlling air traffic around airports according to established procedures and policies to ensure flight safety.

3. Automobile service station manager
Salary: $72,246/year
Primary duties: Supervising gas stations and planning and implementing policy and procedure like hours of operation, workers' duties and prices for products and services.

4. Real estate broker
Salary: $71,994/year
Primary duties: Securing real-estate transactions, selling real estate, renting properties and arranging loans.

5. Web surfer
Salary: $70,604/year
Primary duties: Scouring through multiple Web sites to analyze and compare information and user experiences to collect information to help companies understand online users' behaviors.

6. Lead carpenter
Salary: $63,345/year
Primary duties: Leading the on-site completion of construction projects and performing all types of carpentry work and finishing.

7. Cable supervisor
Salary: $60,887/year
Primary duties: Supervising the activities of workers engaged in installation, maintenance and cable repair.

8. Chemical supervisor
Salary: $57,472/year
Primary duties: Overseeing workers who make chemical products, verifying that chemical processes are followed.

9. Home-care aide supervisor
Salary: $56,157/year
Primary duties: Directing aides who mind for elderly or disabled people in a home environment, and monitoring the quality and quantity of services provided.

10. Medical facility housekeeping manager
Salary: $55,368/year
Primary duties: Managing the workers and housekeeping program in medical facilities to uphold sanitary and orderly conditions.

11. Flight service manager
Salary: $54,350/year
Primary duties: Ensuring that flight attendants conform to personal appearance and preflight requirements; compiling flight reports.

12. Locomotive engineer
Salary: $54,084/year
Primary duties: Driving electric, diesel-electric or gas-turbine-electric trains to transport passengers or freight.

13. Interior aircraft assembly supervisor
Salary: $53,606/year
Primary duties: Supervising the process of assembling everything for the inside of an aircraft from mechanics to furniture.

14. Painting supervisor
Salary: $51,977/year
Primary duties: Overseeing all painting activities such as mixing paint, preparing surfaces before painting and applying decorative or protective finishes to various structures.

15. Gas plant operator
Salary: $51,676/year
Primary duties: Maintaining certain pressures in pipelines to produce and/or transport natural gas.

16. Payroll supervisor
Salary: $51,410/year
Primary duties: Managing employees working on company payroll, ensuring that pay calculation is in accordance with company policy, government regulations and tax codes.

17. Assembly supervisor
Salary: $50,462/year
Primary duties: Overseeing workers who use power tools and other equipment to assemble products.

18. Credit and collection supervisor
Salary: $50,330/year
Primary duties: Supervising employees engaged in the review of credit risks and collections; may also review client credit history to grant or deny extensions of credit.

19. Data control supervisor
Salary: $50,310/year
Primary duties: Managing data entry workers and assuming responsibility for those workers' tasks to be complete and accurate; may sometimes assist with assignments.

20. Reimbursement recovery specialist
Salary: $49,246/year
Primary duties: Negotiating cases where third-party liability reimbursement exists by investigating and identifying responsible third parties, then paying out those parties.

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority

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