What Jobs Pay $25 an Hour Without a Degree?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

While having a degree can help you find a high-paying career, it's not always necessary. From earning a license to on-the-job training, discover other ways to start a career. What jobs pay $25 an hour without a degree? Read on to explore some options.

[Featured Image] Two flight attendants carry their bags and talk while walking through an airport.

According to the Pew Research Center, about 37.9 percent of adults over the age of 25 had a bachelor's degree in 2021 [1]. While that number has risen since 2011, it still means that you'll find more people in the United States who don't have college degrees than those who do [1]. Fortunately, you can find many great jobs that you can get without a degree across numerous fields and industries. Keep reading if you're wondering what jobs pay $25 an hour without a degree.

What jobs pay $25 an hour without a degree? 

If you have a high school diploma or are willing to learn through on-the-job training, you can find jobs in public service, transportation, and trades that pay $25 an hour. Here are eight such jobs with a positive job outlook.  

Police patrol officer  

Average hourly earnings: $34.35

Job outlook: 3 percent job growth between 2022 and 2032 [2]

What they do: As a police patrol officer, you'll work for a local or state law enforcement agency, enforcing laws, conducting investigations when a crime or incident occurs, and documenting information. You might respond to motor vehicle accidents, suspicious activity reports, or calls from someone in need, such as a stranded motorist. You'll patrol the roadways, ensuring others drive safely and issue warnings and citations when they don't. You may also patrol a specific neighborhood or jurisdiction to ensure no crime or suspicious activity occurs. Sometimes, you may arrest people or testify in court when someone commits a crime.

Training required: Training to become a patrol officer will vary depending on the law enforcement agency for which you work. While some may require a college degree, many do not. You'll typically need a high school diploma and to attend and graduate from a police academy. You'll also typically need to pass a physical exam and background check, and depending on where you work, you may need to pass a written exam and psychological evaluation.

Flight attendant    

Average hourly earnings: $32.22 

Job outlook: 11 percent job growth between 2022 and 2032 [3]

What they do: Flight attendants keep passengers safe and comfortable during flights. This might involve inspecting emergency equipment, demonstrating its use, ensuring passengers have their seatbelts fastened at appropriate times, and assisting customers with special needs. You may also serve food and beverages and clean up an aircraft after a flight. In emergency situations, you may need to handle medical situations, direct passengers during evacuations, or report suspicious activities.

Training required: To become a flight attendant, you typically only need a high school diploma. Then, you'll complete training through the airline for which you plan to work. Once you do that, you must earn certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In addition, you may need to pass a medical evaluation, background check, and drug test and meet any requirements set by the airline for which you work.


Average hourly earnings: $31.07

Job outlook: 6 percent job growth between 2022 and 2032 [4]

What they do: As an electrician, you install and maintain electricity in homes and businesses. That often means learning how to read diagrams, testing and identifying electrical problems, repairing equipment or replacing parts, and making sure electrical systems meet the standards of the National Electric Code and any local or state regulations. You may also install lighting and controls, connect appliances, and plan layouts for electrical wiring.

Training required: To become an electrician, you must have a high school diploma. You must also complete an apprenticeship, which includes a combination of on-the-job training and instruction. In some cases, you can also attend a technical school program to earn hours towards your apprenticeship. Once you complete your training, you must pass an exam and earn your state license. 


Average hourly earnings: $30.86 

Job outlook: 2 percent job growth between 2022 and 2032 [5]

What they do: As a plumber, you will install, maintain, and repair pipes and plumbing fixtures in homes and businesses. This might involve reading blueprints, ensuring projects meet local and state codes, understanding the differences in materials, and knowing which ones you'll need for specific jobs. You must also know how to inspect and test plumbing systems, troubleshoot when something goes wrong, and install fixtures, like toilets and bathtubs, and appliances, like dishwashers.

Training required: Like electricians, plumbers usually complete an apprenticeship, which combines on-the-job training with technical instruction. In some cases, you may also attend a program or take classes at a technical school. Once you complete the apprenticeship, you must earn a license through your state.

Makeup artist 

Average hourly earnings: $93.04

Job outlook: 8 percent job growth between 2022 and 2032 [6]

What they do: Makeup artists use cosmetics and tools, like brushes, to change a person's appearance. You may consult with a person before you do their makeup to determine the look they want, or you may work in the entertainment industry and make someone up for a particular performance. You may consider how a person's physical features, the lighting, or the setting affect how the makeup will look when finished.

Training required: Becoming a makeup artist usually involves some on-the-job training or enrolling in cosmetology school and completing a certain number of hours. The state where you live and practice will have its own unique rules. Some states require you to earn a license, while others do not. Even in states that don't, you may want to earn a certification from a cosmetology program. 

Aircraft mechanic  

Average hourly earnings: $34.46

Job outlook: 4 percent job growth between 2022 and 2032 [7]

What they do: Aircraft mechanics are responsible for inspections, repairs, and maintenance of various aircraft, like airplanes and helicopters. Your job might require diagnosing mechanical or electrical issues, replacing broken parts, and performing scheduled maintenance. You might also run tests and diagnostics and keep records of any maintenance or repairs you perform.

Training required: The FAA requires aircraft mechanics to be at least 18 years of age, proficient in English, and a United States citizen, with few exceptions. If you meet these requirements, you can attend a training program at an FAA-approved Maintenance Technical School, though in some cases, a certain amount of military or on-the-job training is sufficient. You must pass written, oral, and practical exams to earn your certification.

Court reporter  

Average hourly earnings: $42.86 

Job outlook: 3 percent job growth between 2022 and 2032 [8]

What they do: As a court reporter, you'll sit in on various legal proceedings and create word-for-word transcripts of anything said by anyone in the room using recording devices and stenography machines. You'll also report on the speaker's gestures and actions. Basically, it's your job to keep accurate records of everything said and done during these proceedings. You may receive requests to read or play portions of the recordings during the proceedings, and once completed, you'll provide copies for everyone involved in the proceedings.

Training required: To become a court reporter, you'll typically complete a program at a technical school or community college. You'll earn a certificate upon completion, though some schools offer associate degrees in the field. The state where you work may also require you to earn a license. Typically, you must also complete some on-the-job training.

Real estate agent   

Average hourly earnings: $47.68

Job outlook: 3 percent job growth between 2022 and 2032 [9]

What they do: Real estate agents help clients buy, rent, and sell residential and commercial properties. This might involve helping buyers search for homes and negotiate contracts, as well as advising sellers on how much to sell their properties for and promoting those properties once they hit the market. You may spend your days taking clients to see properties, assisting with negotiations between a buyer and seller, and creating marketing materials and listings for properties for sale.

Training required: Each state has its own requirements for real estate agents, but they typically involve having a high school diploma and taking a certain number of real estate courses before taking an exam and earning your license. Some states have other requirements, such as having a broker sponsor you or passing a background check before earning your license.

*All average hourly salary information is from Lightcast as of February 29, 2024.

Ways to boost your career without earning a degree 

Starting a new career, advancing within your current career, or simply learning new skills is always possible, even when you don't have a college degree. Here are some ways you might consider giving your career a boost without earning a degree:

  • Grow your professional network.

  • Attend professional workshops and conferences.

  • Read, research, or study a topic that interests you on your own.

  • Gain work experience in any field. 

  • Work with a mentor.

  • Volunteer. 

  • Establish yourself as an expert on a topic on social media. 

  • Complete on-the-job training in a field that interests you.

  • Get an internship.

  • Earn certifications.

  • Take online courses.

Getting started with Coursera

Knowledge of a subject can set you on the right path to a new career. If you're interested in a certain topic, consider taking an introductory class online on Coursera. You'll find options from top businesses and universities from around the world. For example, you could take Introduction to Psychology, offered by Yale, Introduction to Data Analytics, offered by IBM, or Introduction to Marketing, offered by the University of Pennsylvania.  

Article sources


Pew Research Center. "10 facts about today’s college graduates, https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2022/04/12/10-facts-about-todays-college-graduates/." Accessed February 29, 2024. 

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