What if I told you there are dozens of low-stress jobs that pay well without a degree, some paying as high as 100K a year?
It’s understandable if you’re skeptical about the possibility of finding a low-stress job that pays really well.
Luckily, there are jobs that will not only give you the financial freedom and independence you desire but also keep your bank account “fat” without you having to forgo spending quality, stress-free time with friends and family.
As a professional in any of these jobs, you will get to enjoy a great work-life balance, be happy, and still earn a decent income every month.
Low-Stress Jobs That Pay Well Without a Degree in 2021
Below are 21 jobs that pay well without a degree but you still get to do your job with minimal stress.
1. Massage Therapist
Massage therapists provide massage treatments to clients in need of relaxation or relief from pain. As a massage therapist, you will work in a serene environment within the relaxing, beautiful confines of spas, fitness centers, franchised clinics, physicians’ offices, or hotels.
You will enjoy flexible work schedules, and if you’re self-employed you can freelance and attend to your clients from the comfort of their homes.
This profession requires one to understand the physical aspects of the human body to be able to provide the perfect healing touch. Understanding medical procedures to help relieve inflamed joints and treat patients suffering from postural ailments is important.
You need to complete a postsecondary education to get legal certifications for working as a licensed massage therapist. Apart from enjoying your job will minimal stress, you will amass loyal clients over time allowing you to enjoy a reliable stream of income.
It is also one of the few quick certifications that pay well above $75K a year. The mean annual wage of massage therapists is $47,350 with the highest earners making as high as $79,150 per year ($38.05 per hour).
This is one of the low-stress jobs that pay well without a degree in 2021. As an optician, you will work with patients in need of contact lenses and eyeglasses after optometrists have seen them. Your job description includes taking measurements of a client’s head and eyes to make sure the contacts and glasses fit properly.
You will also design, measure, fit, and adapt frames and lenses for clients according to their respective optical prescriptions and specifications. As an optician, you will help clients insert, remove, and care for contact lenses as well as helping them select the right frames.
You will also be tasked with keeping records of a client’s prescription that will come in handy in the future in case their condition changes. As an optician, you can work in department stores or the offices of eye doctors, with an option to also work part-time.
You need a high school diploma or its equivalent and some form of on-the-job training to become an optician. Some, though, enter the occupation with a certificate from a community college or an associate degree.
Opticians’ mean annual wage is $41,380 with the highest earners earning more than $62,180 per year ($29.90 per hour).
3. Freelance Photographers
While some take photography courses for career-based reasons, passionate freelance photographers whose hobbies involve taking beautiful pictures of landscapes, people, merchandise, and other subjects will tell you how photography is such a fulfilling career.
As a photographer, you need to learn how to use editing software and lighting equipment to enhance the subject’s appearance. You can choose to be a photojournalist, scientific photographer, or commercial and industrial photographer.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of photographers is $50,290. The highest-paid photographers earn more than $86,850 per year ($41.75 per hour).
4. Fine Artist
Being a fine artist, which includes painters, sculptors, and illustrators, is one of the low-stress jobs that pay well without having to enroll in a degree program.
Fine artists create original artwork using different media and techniques. The mean annual wage of fine artists is $63,030 with the highest earners earning more than $112,970 per year ($54.31).
5. Web Developers
Web developers design websites and can also work in computer systems design and closely related industries. You can choose to be self-employed, work in publishing companies, management consulting firms, or advertising agencies.
Education requirements for web developers vary depending on where they work and the work they do. You can become a full-time or freelance web developer with just a high school diploma but some jobs will require you to have a bachelor’s degree.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates web developers earn a mean annual salary of $77,200 per year and the top earners receive as high as $146,430 a year ($71.43 per hour).
6. Solar Photovoltaic Installers
As a solar photovoltaic installer, your tasks will include assembling, installing, and maintaining solar photovoltaic (PV) systems or roofs or other structures. This may include measuring, cutting, assembling, and bolting solar modules and structural frames.
Most installers need a high school diploma and you can also take courses at a community college or a technical institution. You also get to receive on-the-job training for at most a year.
The mean annual wage for solar photovoltaic installers is $48,020 with the highest earners earning over $64,600 per year ($31.06 per hour).
7. Travel Agents
Do you need a degree certificate to get a job as a travel agent? Not really. You need a high school diploma unless an employer is after someone with additional formal training. You should have good computer and communication skills too.
As a travel agent, your roles include planning and selling transportation and accommodations for customers. You will also determine destinations, travel dates, modes of transport, costs, and accommodations required. Other tasks could include describing, planning, and arranging itineraries and selling tour packages to travel clients.
The mean annual wage for travel agents is $46,650 with the highest earners making more than $73,360 per year ($35.27 per hour).
8. Makeup Artists (Theatrical and Performance)
Makeup artists apply makeup to performers to reflect the setting, period, and situation of the roles. You can work with motion picture and video companies, performing art companies, and personal care service providers.
Makeup artists (theatrical and performance) mean annual wage is $99,990 while the top earners make more than $157,680 per year ($75.81 per hour). You can learn all about Makeup Artists (Theatrical and Performance) here.
Choreographers create new dance routines and lead the rehearsal performance of the routines. Choreographers may also direct and stage presentations. Most choreographers start as dancers and rise the ranks.
It’s worth noting that some choreographers choose to pursue post-secondary education and enroll in colleges and universities offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in dance. Currently, many dance programs include coursework in a variety of dance styles.
The mean annual wage of choreographers is $52,000 while the highest earners earn more than $101,250 per year ($48.68 per hour).
Although this might be a complicated profession that often involves apprenticeship training for up to four years, it remains one of the low stress jobs that pay well without a degree.
You need a high school diploma or its equivalent for entry into this profession. You can start out by attending a technical school offering programs related to circuitry, safety practices, and basic electrical information.
An apprenticeship program will take you between 4 – 5 years to master your trade. You will receive credit towards your apprenticeship upon graduation, then you can proceed to apply for a license.
The median annual wage for electricians is $56,900 and the highest earners receive more than $98,720 a year.
11. Sound Engineering Technician
Sound engineering technicians are an integral part of show business. Be it on Broadway or presidential debates, they are invaluable for performance or speech, and without them, everything will come to a standstill.
Sound engineering technicians set up audio equipment, ensure the microphones work and monitor & operate the equipment during a live performance or an event.
Education requirements to become a sound engineering technician vary from a high school diploma to a college degree, with the core determinant being position and job description.
For example, sound engineering broadcast technicians typically need an associate’s degree, which takes just two years to complete.
Postsecondary programs for sound engineering technicians typically take several months to complete. The programs can lead to either a nondegree award or a college degree.
The median annual wage of sound engineering technicians is $53,520 with the top paid technicians receiving more than $119,720 a year.
Another low-stress job that pays well without a degree is plumbing. Plumbers install and connect pipes and fixtures, fix clogged toilets and sinks, and make sure water can reach dishwashers, water heaters, and come out of faucets.
While this might not be a pipe dream for many people, it’s a career that pays well without the need of having to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree program.
You’ll need a high school diploma or its equivalent to become a plumber, pipefitter, or steamfitter. You can attend vocational-technical schools but there are also plumbing companies that offer pathways through apprenticeship programs.
The programs allow you to start working as a plumber and receive hands-on training while on the job.
The median annual wage for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters in the United States is $56,330 with the top paid professional getting as high as $98,990 per year.
13. Hearing Aid Specialist
Working as a hearing aid specialist is one of the jobs that pay well without a degree. Your roles include evaluating the extent of a patient’s hearing loss by carrying out various tests.
The results will help you figure out the type of hearing aid a patient should use. You will also help to fit the device in the patient’s ear.
Their median annual wage is $52,630 while the highest earners receive more than $81,170 a year.
14. Computer Support Specialist
Computer support specialists are tasked with diagnosing computer issues and can work in an office, a call center, or at home.
Education requirements vary depending on the type of specialist one chooses to become. Computer user support specialists, for example, should have some computer knowledge but not necessarily a postsecondary degree.
On the other hand, computer network support specialists are more likely to get jobs if they have an associate’s degree while some employers go for applicants with a bachelor’s degree.
In a nutshell, the more technically taxing the job is the higher the education and experience requirements will be.
The top earners in these two categories earn $88,940 and $110,450 per year respectively, which makes them low stress high paying jobs with no degree needed.
15. Construction Equipment Operator
Construction equipment operators work in construction sites running excavators, bulldozers, and dump trucks among other heavy vehicles.
You need a high school diploma or its equivalent to become a construction equipment operator. Vocational training and a course in automotive mechanics will prove to be invaluable.
You may enroll at vocational training schools where you can specialize in a specific brand type of construction equipment.
Some schools also incorporate sophisticated simulator training into their courses, which allows beginners to familiarize themselves with the equipment in a virtual setting prior to operating real machines.
The median annual wage of construction equipment operators in the United States is $49,770 with the top earners enjoying more than $87,220 a year.
A career as a glazier isn’t a fancy one. Glaziers cut and install glass in all types of buildings. While it’s a physically demanding and mentally taxing job, it is less stressful and pays well.
Glaziers typically need a high school diploma or its equivalent to enter the occupation. You will learn your trade through a 3 or 4-year apprenticeship or on-the-job training.
You will learn how to use tools and equipment, handle, measure, cut, fit, and install glass and metal framing or doors. You also get to learn different installation techniques, safety practices, first aid procedures, and blueprint reading & sketching.
The median annual wage for glaziers is $46,080 and the top paid, experienced professionals earn as high as $83,640 a year. These salary estimates make it one of the low-stress jobs that pay well without a degree.
A career as a carpenter doesn’t sound fancy but it’s a creative, hands-on job that pays well and comes with little stress if any at all.
Carpenters typically go through apprenticeship programs either through a contractor association or a union. In terms of education requirements, you’ll need a high school diploma or its equivalent.
There are also vocational-technical schools that offer associate’s degrees in carpentry. Although the programs can vary in length, you will learn the basics and specialties of carpentry.
The median annual wage for carpenters is $49,520 with the highest earners getting more than $87,410 a year.
18. Insulation Contractor
Insulation contractors or workers use safe products to insulate homes and buildings to keep temperatures regulated and life indoors comfortable.
Insulation workers install material that saves energy and helps reduce noise in buildings. The installation is done around vats, vessels, boilers, water pipes, and steam pipes.
They also install fire-stopping materials to prevent fire and smoke from spreading through a building. You should be comfortable working in tight spaces, such as between walls if you want to work as an insulation contractor.
Although there are no specific education requirements for insulation workers, apprenticeships for mechanical insulators require a high school diploma or its equivalent.
You will also be required to get mandatory Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety training on insulation handling and asbestos abatement.
The median annual wage for insulation workers is $41,690 with the top earners getting more than $74,540 a year.
19. Radiologic Technologist
This is one of the high-paying hospital jobs you can do without a bachelor’s degree. It is a low-stress high-paying job for people looking to work in the healthcare industry and still earn close to $100k a year.
Radiologist technologists must acquire an associate’s degree. There are also postsecondary programs leading to graduate certificates or bachelor’s degrees.
The median annual wage for radiologic technologists is $61,900 and the top earners receive more than $92,660 a year.
20. Dental Hygienist
The demand for dental hygiene expertise will always be high due to the rising aging population. As a dental hygienist, you will clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral infections, and provide preventative care and oral hygiene advice.
While working as a dentist, oral surgeon, or orthodontist can be stressful, dental hygienists enjoy their careers more. A study by DentistryIQ indicates the profession is among that offers a good work-life balance.
You need an associate’s degree to become a dental hygienist, which can take up to three years to complete. All states require dental hygienists to be licensed but requirements vary by state.
The median annual wage for dental hygienists is $77,090 and the highest-paid 10% in this profession earn more than $104,420 a year.
21. Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers
Well, this might seem far-fetched but it is one of the low-stress jobs that pay well without a degree; even as high as $76K a year.
Their roles include to smooth and finish surfaces of poured concrete, such as floors, roads, sidewalks, bridges, dams, and curbs. They also align forms for sidewalks, gutters, and curbs, patch voids, and cut expansion joints.
A high school diploma or its equivalent is often required to enter the occupation. You can enroll in masonry programs in technical schools or choose to learn the trade through apprenticeships while on the job working alongside experienced masons.
The median annual wage for cement masons and concrete finishers is $46,000 with the highest earners getting more than $75,900 a year.
Low-Stress Jobs That Pay Well Without a Degree
There are many jobs with little stress and a good salary, but we chose to highlight just a few we believe might interest you.
It’s worth keeping in mind that being happy at your job depends on many things, including your work environment, the nature of the job, and the state of your personal life.
If you believe this list of low stress jobs that pay well without a degree is incomplete, you can add your favorite job below so we can have a look.