Is it possible to find fun jobs that pay well without a degree? The quick answer is YES, it is.
Just like you can find tens of low-stress jobs that pay well without a degree, you can find well-paying careers where you can have fun doing what you love – and get paid to do it. Some of these jobs can pay as high as $150,000 a year.
On top of making good money, most of these jobs also allow you to enjoy a great work-life balance, be happy, and spend quality time with friends and family.
Fun Jobs That Pay Well Without a Degree in 2021
According to the latest data, approximately 56% of Americans aged between 24 to 64 do not have a college degree. That begs the question – are there any fun jobs they can do without a degree and still enjoy good wages? Below we highlight a few fun jobs that pay well without the need of getting a college degree.
1. Makeup Artists (Theatrical & Performance)
This is one of the quick certifications that pay well, as high as $100K a year. The role of makeup artists working in the field of theatre and performance is to apply makeup to performers to reflect the setting, period, and situation of the roles they are set to play.
As a makeup artist, you can work with video and motion picture companies, performing art companies, and personal care service providers.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, theatrical and performance makeup artists earn a mean annual wage of $99,990 with the top earners getting more than $157,680 a year.
Such salaries make massage therapy one of the fun jobs that pay well without a degree and with less stress.
2. Disc Jockeys (DJs)
Being a DJ is one of the high-paying jobs you can do with a bachelor’s degree. While radio and TV DJs are required to have an associate or bachelor’s degree, DJs working in nightclubs, weddings, parties, and other events are not required to have similar formal education.
You should have a love for music and entertainment to enjoy working as a DJ. While we cannot say it’s less stressful, you should be willing to work long hours, sometimes overnight.
Estimating how much DJs make is quite tricky because the pay depends on many factors such as the nature of the event and where you will perform. Either way, DJs make anywhere between $45,000 to $200,000 a year.
According to ZipRecruiter, DJs make an average salary of $58,370 a year with the top earners getting paid more than $134,000 a year.
3. Sound Engineering Technicians
There can never be a successful “showbiz” event without the invaluable skills of sound engineering technicians. Whether it’s a Broadway performance or political event, these experts play an invaluable role to ensure the event is successful.
They set up audio equipment, ensure microphones work and will monitor and operate the equipment during live performances or events.
You can become a sound engineering technician with a high school diploma or choose to pursue a college degree depending on the job you seek and where you aspire to work.
There are a few postsecondary sound engineering technician programs that take a few months to complete and associate degree programs that take two years.
The mean annual wage of sound engineering technicians is $67,210 while the top paid technicians get more than $119,720 a year.
The primary role of choreographers is to create new dance routines and lead the rehearsal performances. They can also direct and stage presentations.
There’s no formal education requirement to become a choreographer with most starting out as dancers and later rising through the ranks.
Some choreographers, though, choose to pursue post-secondary education and enroll in colleges and universities for bachelor’s and master’s degrees in dance.
The mean annual wage of choreographers in the U.S. is $52,000 while the highest earners enjoy salaries of more than $101,250 a year. This makes it one of the high-paying fun jobs in the U.S.
5. Freelance Writers
How can one say being a freelance writer is among the fun jobs that pay well? Well, while some become freelance writers for the sake of making ends meet, freelance writers who love to write and focus on a subject they are passionate about will have fun doing it.
For instance, if you find new or advanced tech fascinating and you love to write, becoming a freelance writer focusing primarily on tech-related topics won’t feel like a punishment when you sit down to craft a piece of content.
As a freelance writer, you can earn a median annual wage of about $50,000 but with experience and the ability to deliver on high-paying gigs then you can easily hit the $100,000 a year mark.
Here are a few high-paying jobs for writers, some paying as high as $206,000 a year.
6. Freelance Photographers
While you can take photography courses for career reasons, you can still make good money as a freelance photographer without having to pursue a college degree.
The field of photography is a booming industry and the services of those with a creative eye will always be in demand. You can offer your freelance photography services for:
- Family portraits
- Baby photos
- School events
It is, however, important to take short courses such as those offered online to sharpen your photography skills and learn advanced skills such as video & photo editing techniques and how to use lighting equipment to enhance the subject’s appearance.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of photographers is $50,290 with the top earners enjoying more than $86,850 in annual wages.
There is no degree needed to become an artist as it mainly depends on one’s ability to express their creativity or use an innate talent to earn a living. Being an artist allows you to work from pretty much anywhere. Some artists work out of their home studios while others in art studios in business buildings.
When we talk about being an artist, it could be a painter, photographer, sculptor, calligrapher, illustrator, printmaker, or graphic designer. You can also add voice-over artists to the list as they use their innate gifts and voice talents to earn an income.
The wages for artists vary but you can earn anywhere between $45,000 and $85,000 a year. Established artists earn six-figure and even seven-figure wages a year, such as voice-over artists who voice movie trailers.
8. Massage Therapists
Massage therapists provide clients with massage treatments for relaxation and pain relief. They work in serene environments within the relaxing, beautiful confines of spas, fitness centers, franchised clinics, physicians’ offices, or hotels.
Massage therapists often have flexible schedules and can work self-employed where they freelance and attend to their clients from the comfort of their homes.
You do not need a bachelor’s degree to become a massage therapist. However, you must complete a postsecondary education program to get the legal certifications necessary to work as a licensed massage therapist.
This is one of the low-stress jobs that pay well without a degree and you get to have fun doing what you love. The mean annual wage of massage therapists is $47,350 and the highest earners make more than $79,150 a year.
9. Travel Agent
You do not need a college degree to become a travel agent unless an employer prefers to go with someone with additional formal training.
In order to become a travel agent, you need a high school diploma and should have good computer and communication skills.
The roles of travel agents include planning and selling transportation and accommodation to customers. They are also involved in determining travel destinations, dates, modes of transport, costs, and accommodations needed.
You will also describe, plan, and arrange itineraries and sell tour packages to travel clients. It is one of the fun jobs that pay well without a degree where you can earn a mean annual salary of $42,350. The top earners enjoy salaries as high as $73,360.
10. English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher
While being a teacher can be challenging, especially for those who pursue the career for monetary reasons without having any passion for it, it is a fulfilling career for those who love to teach and take pride in doing so.
You can work face to face with learners or students or opt to work online. Most positions do not require one to have a bachelor’s degree to become an ESL teacher but TEFL certification can be mandatory.
According to PayScale, the average annual base salary for ESL teachers is $46,232 with the top earners getting close to $69,000 a year.
11. Hairstylists and Cosmetologists
Another fun job that pays well without the need to have a bachelor’s degree is being a hairstylist or cosmetologist. Their roles include hairstyling and offering a range of beauty care services.
While you’re not required to attend college for a degree program, all states require hairstylists and cosmetologists to be licensed. You will need to graduate from a state-approved cosmetology program and pass a state exam to get your license.
Depending on where you work and your duties, you can earn between $30,000 and $60,000 a year. The highest earners make way above $85,000 a year.
As you can see, finding fun jobs that pay well without a degree isn’t such a hard task. Most of these jobs pay more than $30,000 a year as a starting salary with the potential of earning as high as $150,000 a year.