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13 High-Paying Occupations That Don't Require a College Education



You don't need to become a doctor to earn that coveted six-figure salary. Surprisingly, you can earn the same amount of money doing work most people don't even think about, like selling hot dogs or diving for golf balls. You might think you're "too good" for these jobs since you have a fancy schmancy college diploma, but once you see how much these easy and unique positions pay, you'll be regretting that philosophy degree (that is, if you're not regretting it already). Below, here are all the unique jobs that pay a lot more than you think.

1. Hot Dog Vendor

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Who knew you could make a living selling $2 hot dogs? Hot dog vending is a surprisingly lucrative business, with vendors in NYC taking home as much as $100,000 annually. However, there are caveats. To make serious buck, you have be stationed outside high-traffic areas like Central Park or the Met Museum and pay insane permit fees to the city. Vendors in New York pay as much as $50,000 per month to sell hot dogs to tourists. For hot dog sellers who live outside major cities, they earn a little less at $67,000 per year, which is still hardly chump change.

2. In-N-Out Burger Manager

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If you ever walked into In-N-Out burger and wondered why the employees are so darn ecstatic about flipping burgers all day, it's because they're probably being paid more than you. Employees there can work their way up from making $44,000 a year to a $160,000 managerial salary with no college degree. It's no wonder it's considered one of the best places to work.

3. Golf ball diver

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Retrieving balls might sound like a thankless career, but being a golf ball diver can make you as much money as being a physicist. Because golf balls are so expensive, people pay top dollar for divers to retrieve them. And since the job requires the occasional encounter with snakes and alligators, you can bet they pay those divers handsomely for their trouble. On average, divers make $100,000 annually, but some have earned as much as $15 million.

4. Body-for-Hire

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If you don't like working for "the man" and would prefer to be your own boss, you can make a living charging people by the hour to "rent" you. And no, I'm not talking about prostitution. Being a professional funeral mourner and even a professional bridesmaid are real jobs that people actually get paid to do. Professional bridesmaids can make as much as $1,000 per wedding. If you're successful and can get a lot of clients, you can easily make way over $100,000 annually.

5. Trader Joe's Manager

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Bagging groceries isn't normally people's first career choice, but grocery chain Trader Joe's pays its employees more than you think. Minimum wage starts at $13 an hour, but employees can work their way up to managerial positions that pay as much as $105,000. It's also considered one of the best places to work since they offer health insurance to even part-time workers.

6. Luggage carrier

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Weirdly enough, being a baggage handler pays more than being a pilot. Although technically handlers, or "skycaps," are only paid a base salary of $2-3 an hour, similar to servers, they make serious bank in tips, with many averaging around $70-100k annually.

7. Portable Restroom Owner

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Although it's a dirty job, the portable restroom business is a booming industry. Porta-pottys cost $250 a day to rent and can bring in $150,000 in revenue a year after expenses. If you don't think you can run a whole business yourself, porta potty cleaners make an average of $50,000. Hey, somebody has to do it.

8. Garbage collector

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And since we're on the subject of dirty jobs, garbage collectors are paid pretty well, too. Depending on the city, garbage collectors can start at $80,000 and work their way up to $100,000 after five years. "Guys who go to college might not make the kind of money [I make] on the back of a garbage truck, picking up trash," garbage driver Tony Sankar told CNN.

9. Professional Cuddler

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Yep, this is a real job. It might sound a little creepy, but charging people per hour to cuddle them is kind of a booming business. Cuddlers can charge as much as $80/hour, with some professionals taking home as much as $1,600 a week working part-time hours. Depending on how much time you want to devote to hugging strangers, you can easily turn it into a six-figure business.

10. Private Island Caretaker

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If you're fortunate enough to even find this job, taking care of some rich dude's private island can earn you $150,000 annually. Of course, these jobs are hard to come by, and when a position is open there are usually thousands of applicants. But who knows — you might get lucky one day.

11. Transportation Manager

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It's not the most fun or interesting job on the list (I mean, even the stock image is boring), being a transportation manager can earn you between $70,000 to $105,000 a year without a college degree. The role of a transportation manager varies, but typically they manage all the ins and outs of trucking fleets, buses, or trains. It's an important job with a comparable salary to match.

12. YouTube Vlogger

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You're probably already familiar with the success stories of YouTube's most famous vloggers taking home millions of dollars in ad revenue. Although the market is a tad over-saturated these days, vloggers with a solid following can still earn a modest living on the platform. However, if you want to earn six-figures, you'll need billions of views each month.

13. Airbnb Host

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If you own a cabin or a lavish condo in an expensive or tourist-y part of the country, renting out the space on Airbnb can make you $87,000 annually, and Superhosts can earn as much as $100,00 a year.

Clearly I chose the wrong career.

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