What Jobs Pay $30 an Hour without a Degree?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

It's possible to earn more than the national average without going to college. Find out what jobs pay at least $30 an hour without a degree and the range of roles you can have.

[Featured image] A Man wearing a hard hat inspects a building.

You can pursue well-paying careers in the United States that do not require a college degree or some college experience. With a high school diploma, on-the-job training, or an apprenticeship, you may be able to learn valuable skills that can lead to a full-time position.

Some of these jobs pay at least $30 an hour, which is slightly above the median hourly wage for workers in the US. The country has more than 147 million people working with a median hourly wage of $22.26 across all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics [1]. If you're looking for a career that pays more than this median wage, consider the following roles and determine how to qualify for them.

What jobs pay $30 an hour without a degree? 

If you have not earned a degree, you can find rewarding jobs that pay at least $30 an hour in fields like writing, sales, and web development. Although some employers may prefer candidates with a degree, others may consider you for the following positions if you have related work experience or can prove you have the necessary skills for the job.


Median hourly wage: $35.17 [2]

Writers can work on various projects, such as articles, blog posts, social media posts, press releases, and more. Having a good understanding of the language you’re working in and a background in the topics you write about can be helpful. But writers, particularly freelance writers, may not need a college degree to get work.

Web developer

Median hourly wage: $38.81 [3]

Web developers create and maintain websites, monitoring their performance and ensuring they can support the amount of traffic they receive. Your job as a web developer could include meeting with clients to discuss plans for a website, building the site's design or structure, testing out website issues, or working with a graphic designer on the visuals for a site.

Fire inspector

Median hourly wage: $31.63 [4]

Fire inspectors review fire hazards to ensure organizations comply with state and local fire regulations. They may also be responsible for investigating fires by collecting evidence and presenting it to a lawyer or judge. You don’t need a college degree to become a fire inspector, but you’ll likely need previous experience as a firefighter or in a related field.

Police officer

Median hourly wage: $33.25 [5]

A police officer protects people’s lives and property within assigned areas. It can be physically demanding and dangerous, as you may arrest suspects and respond to emergency situations. Police officers typically do not need a degree, but they will need to get training at a police academy and on-the-job training.

Sales representative

Median hourly wage: $32.57 [6]

A sales representative sells goods to people and organizations, including businesses and government agencies. In this role, you’ll need to learn about the products you sell and be comfortable talking to customers, but you can do this without earning a degree. On-the-job training for sales positions is common.

Video editor

Median hourly wage: $30.01 [7]

Video editors are responsible for editing moving images to tell a story. You may have clients who need professional videos done for businesses, or you can work on short social media videos for platforms like Instagram or TikTok. Event planners may hire you to review and edit footage of clients celebrating weddings or birthday parties.

Insurance claims adjuster

Median hourly wage: $34.63 [8]

Insurance claims adjusters review and evaluate insurance claims. You may have to examine property damage for a homeowner or look over a car that’s been in an accident to help determine if a claim is legitimate or fraudulent. In this role, you may also review settlements for an accident or incident or approve payment for a claim.

Building inspector

Median hourly wage: $31.00 [9]

A building inspector reviews construction projects to ensure the work follows local building codes and ordinances. You may review construction plans, monitor construction sites, inspect systems, and document your findings. Building inspectors often receive on-the-job training, and previous experience in the construction industry may be helpful.

Railroad worker

Median hourly wage: $33.15 [10]

A railroad worker can do a number of jobs on railroads, such as operating trains and coordinating train activities. You may also be responsible for checking on a train’s mechanics or documenting issues with the equipment. If you accept a position as a railroad worker, the company will likely give you on-the-job training, so you may not need a degree to enter this line of work.

Cost of education in the United States

For some workers, the cost of a college education in the United States outweighs the value of a degree because they need to earn money now instead of in the future. This is why it's helpful to consider how much you will spend potentially to earn a degree. In the United States, you can expect to spend between $9,678 and $27,091 on tuition [11]. Add in the cost of room and board and fees, and you can spend as much as $55,840 per year [11].

If you choose to pay for college with a student loan, the cost typically increases. The average student loan payment in the United States is more than $500, and as much as 42 percent of what you pay back goes directly to interest [12]. If you choose one of the lower-paying college majors—like theology, social work, and performing arts—you may earn less than the jobs on this list and have a student loan payment due every month.

Getting started on Coursera

Choosing a career is personal, and you should consider factors like your interests, skills, and lifestyle when deciding. Fortunately, you can earn a decent living without an undergraduate degree, so look for opportunities to develop valuable job-ready skills if you're not ready to go to college.

Consider a course like HTML, CSS, and Javascript for Web Developers from Johns Hopkins University to learn the basics of coding. Topics include HTML, working with cascading style sheets, and building webpages. Or, check out The Art of Visual Storytelling Specialization from the University of Colorado Boulder. Courses in this Specialization cover the process of planning, recording, and producing video content to help you gain experience as a video editor. These courses and more are available on Coursera.

Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “May 2022 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, United States, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm.” Accessed February 23, 2024.

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