It seems these days like it’s getting harder and harder for millennials to track down stable, high paying jobs. In fact, it can be difficult to go longer than 10 seconds on Twitter or Instagram without hearing someone complain about how they are overeducated and underemployed, or at the very least underpaid.
I’m not one for sob stories. I’ve never been the type to feel sorry for myself and wallow very long in self-pity. Sure, I have my moments just like everyone else, but I aim for them to be few and far between.
I’ve always found it much more useful to channel the woe is me attitude into productive, forward action.
Which is why I want to help out anyone who is stuck in the rut of feeling sorry for themselves in a dead-end job. You don’t need to soldier on, suck it up, or grin and bear it. No, if you hate your job that much, there are lots of other options out there for you.
Now hold on a second, you might be saying. I can’t afford to quit my job, go to school for 4 years to get a completely new degree, and then look for a job. That would cost thousands of dollars and several years!!
Well, my friends, the list of jobs I’m about to drop on you all require less than 4 years of post-secondary education. Most do, however, require some type of training or education to gain certification or good standing in the field. For certain jobs, it may be as simple as purchasing an online course to learn your craft. And while for others you may need more than that, some only require a high school degree.
So without further ado, let’s dive into some potential job opportunities if you feel stuck in your crappy job and are looking to blaze a new trail.
- Air Traffic Controller
This job that can pay in excess of 100k is not for the faint of heart. The training process in order to get certified is incredibly difficult and the testing is rigorous. I had a buddy who is very smart do all the training lasting 6 months and then fail to pass the certification test at the end. You get two tries to pass and after that, you’re done for good. In addition, there’s up to a year of on the job training. If you can handle the high stress environment and training, and remain cool under pressure, you could end up with a salary of close to $150,000 a year.
- Transit driver
Bus drivers get a bad rap sometimes, but this hustle and bustle career can really end up paying off. Not only are the educational requirements very moderate (generally all that is needed is a high school degree and the appropriate drivers license depending on your province) but the salary is solid with hourly wages of $30 and more. One added perk is that some cities have guaranteed minimum hours so you won’t find yourself squeezed out of work.
One final note, you do need a clean driving record. It doesn’t need to be spotless, but if you drive like the Dukes of Hazzard, you may not qualify to ferry passengers around town.
- Transportation, storage, distribution manager
O.k., o.k., hear me out. Yes, this is a fancy way of saying you work in shipping and receiving in a warehouse. To the layman, this seems like it would be a simple job, and in some respects it is. But it’s also a very important one. Not only is the only educational requirement a high school diploma, you get to drive a forklift!
I kid, but with a basic high school education, you can bring home close to $70k. Not a bad gig with minimal formal education
- Police Officer
Not only do police officers keep us safe, they make decent money doing it. With the only educational requirement being a high school diploma, officers can make around $75,000.
And, let’s be honest, they get to boss people around, carry guns and drive as fast as they want with their lights on and sirens blaring.
In all seriousness, for the job they do, the pay isn’t amazing. They constantly see the seedy side of life and are always working to ensure that we citizens are protected and cared for.
If that’s your jam, if you like to serve and don’t mind working shift work, it can be a very rewarding career. And, in addition, you can retire with a full pension after 25 years.
Oh, and an extra bonus: you can pick up extra shifts to work your local professional or amateur sports teams’ games. Getting paid to go to the games?? It’s almost as good as being a pro athlete yourself!!
Little boys the world over dream of growing up one day to be firefighters. Now that I’m old, I can see why! Not only do they get to be real life heroes as they put their lives on the line each time they take a call, the camaraderie and family feel at a firehouse is unmatched. I know a few firefighters and they LOVE their jobs.
In order to be qualified to apply, there are several technical certificates that you’ll need to obtain which can be done on a part-time basis. And while the salary is not amazing, averaging around $60,000 depending on where you live, there’s quite a bit of down time at the station so you could work on a part-time side hustle. Maybe start a blog or some other side-gig to help supplement your income.
- Web designer/developer
The online world is so hot right now.
In fact, according to a recent report released by Indeed, 9 of the top 10 paying jobs are tech related. Now some of these jobs may require a formal 4 year degree but many don’t.
Take web designer for example. Most employers in this field care less about the piece of paper you have and more about the work you can actually do. And while some formal education may be helpful, by using Google, online courses, eBooks, blogs and Youtube, you can learn many of the skills you’ll need in order to be a successful developer or designer.
And this job pays decently, with salaries hovering around $50K. And again, with much of your work being done online the potential to work from home and get rolling with different side hustles exists here as well.
- Online Marketing manager
There are a TON of people who are willing to pay you to look after their online marketing.
“But I don’t know anything about online marketing!” you might say.
You don’t know anything…yet.
For only a few hundred dollars, there are multiple courses you can take to learn the ins and outs of advertising on Facebook, Google, Instagram, and Twitter.
From there, it’s all about finding opportunities to use your new skills. It can be as easy as calling up local businesses and offering to increase sales and drive more traffic, booth the online and foot variety, by setting up some Facebook ads for them.
As their business grows, so will your reputation and before long customers will be finding you to seek out your services.
Determining a salary for this career is tough, but many people many make $50,000 or more. It all depends on your ability to hustle, your clients, and how you build your brand.
Realtors can absolutely KILL IT when it comes to making money. I know several realtors that do INCREDIBLY well in this job. In addition to the basic educational requirement of a highschool diploma, there are several courses and licensing steps you’ll need to take before you can list your first home. After they are complete, the sky really is the limit when it comes to how much you can make. If you’re personable, service oriented, know your stuff, and are a hard worker, making over $100,000 is well within your reach.
- Power Engineer
It seems like everyone I know these days is a power engineer. Seriously, I can’t go two days without running into someone who is making money hand over fist in this career. Where I live, in Alberta, this career is in high demand. It makes sense since power engineers go to school for one year learning how to maintain and repair boilers, turbines, compressors, and pumps. After that they spend their days in a variety of industries constantly testing and repairing the equipment in plants.
And like I said, they do very well for themselves, making close to $80,000. And that number is low because the amount of overtime power engineers can get is INSANE. My neighbour works 20 days straight sometimes and makes a killing doing it!!
- Financial Advisor
If you read any of my work, you know my feelings about many financial advisors. I’m not going to get into it here, except to say that the service they provide is not worth the price you pay.
But for other advisors, the good ones, this isn’t the case.
I have several friends who are in the financial services industry who provide investments, insurance and advice in the best interests of their clients. I’ve even used them for various services before.
Financial advisors can be compensated in a variety of different ways, but the one that minimizes conflict of interest issues is fee for service (you pay a flat fee for a service that they provide, whether it’s developing a financial plan, helping to review your investments, or whatever).
Now financial advisors, especially those paid commissions based on the products they sell or a percentage of assets under management (fee only) do very well (although the salaries do vary widely).
In addition to taking various courses required for selling insurance or mutual funds, many advisors get their Certified Financial Planner designation (CFP). In order to do that, all you need is a high school diploma.
The combination of high earning potential and low barrier of entry makes this an attractive field for many.
And while I’d never encourage people to go out and become a financial advisor who gets paid for selling products to people (just because of the obvious conflict of interest issues) I felt I should put it on the list since I know of people with limited education who are doing very well for themselves.
- Car Salesperson
Despite the greasy stigma attached to car sales people, they’re not all pushy and silver tongued devils when it comes to getting you behind the wheel of a new or used car.
Most are just trying to make a living and to get ahead like the rest of us.
And make a living they do. Considering the limited educational requirements (high school diploma typically required), car sales people can make anywhere from $70,000 to upwards of $200K. That’s seriously AMAZING money!!
Bringing It All Together
In a world where many people are concerned about their income but are often unsure what to do about it, here are 11 solid paying jobs the average person can attain to.
There’s no need to be rich or famous, to have a well established network, or to have some other perceived advantage others have but you may be lacking.
All you need to be is hard working and ready to get after it. It was Thomas Edison who said, “There is no substitute for hard work.” I guess after failing over 1000 times in his attempt to invent the light bulb, he knew what he was talking about.
If you’re disenchanted with your job, if you feel stuck in a corner with nowhere to go in your career because of a lack of education and circumstances that make it difficult to go out and get the schooling you need to switch roles, I hope the jobs in this list provide a sort of light bulb moment for you. And I hope that as you explore which career is the best fit for you, that you’ll find a job that you not only enjoy, but that you get paid well to do.