As millions of young adults are off to college this fall, it's also important to celebrate the ones who are choosing NOT to go.

I came from the type of family where it's simply expected that you'll go to college, start a nice office job at 22, get married, have kids, the whole nine yards. I think we can all agree that a college degree doesn't instantly guarantee this sort of picture-perfect life anymore. For the recent high school graduates who aren't off to college this fall: the world is your oyster. Here is a list of four great jobs that don't require a college degree and still provide a good salary.

To pull this list together, I drew from the 2019 U.S. News and World Report Rankings on the 100 Best Jobs. Their criteria for what makes a it on this list includes median salary across the U.S., work-life balance considerations, and whether the job is in demand around the country. If you find something here that appeals to you, do a quick Google search in your area to find openings or training programs in your region. You'll be surprised at how much is out there!

Patrol Officer/Police Officer

Median Salary: $61,050 per year
Educational Requirement: academy training, continuing education coursework

Getting your foot in the door with a law enforcement agency like your local police department is a great way to embark on a new career. You can explore specialties within the field, and training is provided to applicants once they have been hired. Don't think you won't need office skills, though; paperwork comes with the territory! 

police car


Median Salary: $52,590 per year
Educational Requirement: On-the-job training, certification courses

Believe it or not, plumbing is not all about pipes and snakes. Work your way up from an apprenticeship and hone your skills at trouble-shooting, designing systems, and yes, fieldwork. The universal nature of a solid plumbing background is what makes this job so high-paying. Do you know what an emergency plumbing visit can cost? The beauty of this job is that, with some experience and leadership skills, you can go into business for yourself and truly design your own career path.


Surgical Technologist

Median Salary: $46,310 per year
Educational Requirement: certification courses

A surgical tech does go through a rigorous training program (approximately 1100 clinical hours), but at the end of it, you'll be an integral part of the surgical team. You can become a surgical tech through a certificate program, a diploma program, or by earning an Associate's Degree in Surgical Technology. The duration and cost of each program varies, so think about how long you want to be in training and how much tuition you can afford.


Pharmacy Technician

Median Salary: $31,750
Educational Requirement: certification courses

Each state has a Board of Pharmacy for regulation and a list of approved pharmacy technician training programs. You can become a certified pharmacy technician in just a matter of months and even attend your training in the evenings if needed.


Beyond this handful of career options, there are a myriad of others that just require a little research.

Do you dream about owning your own restaurant? Start off as a server or restaurant host and learn the business.

Do you love talking to people and making deals? Start a retail job and move up the ranks!

In this day and age, college isn't the magic pill that will get you a life of luxury. Finding a job that you truly enjoy is the new American dream. Go get it!

**All of the photos in this article are courtesy of Pexels.

Do you know of other great jobs that don't require a college degree? Tell us about them in the comments!