Despite what you've most likely been told, a college degree is not a necessary prerequisite for a good paying and rewarding career. Of course, there is nothing wrong with going the traditional route of high school graduation, onto college graduation, and then either masters or the job force. It just isn't the only option. Consider the following 20 great job opportunities you can have without a college degree:

  1. HVAC/R Mechanic. If you enjoy working with your hands and hate the idea of a desk job, then consider a career in HVAC/R. Many can get their foot in the door via an apprenticeship with a local trade union to jumpstart a career that earns around $43,000 annually.
  2. Executive Assistant.  Success here requires strong organizational, communication, and secretarial skills. 

  3. Electrical Technician.  Like an HVAC/R mechanic, this career begins with a local apprenticeship with a local group.

  4. Railroad Conductor & Yardmaster.  After on-the-job training, railroad conductors and yardmasters can expect to earn upwards of $50,000 per year.

  5. Real Estate Sales Agent.  While a tough industry, it takes just passing a state licensing exam to start this career.

  6. Private Detective.  Love the idea of solving crimes but don't want to work in the government? Becoming a PI doesn't require any formal requirements and can be highly interesting for the right person.

  7. Makeup Artist in the Theatrical Industry. Makeup artists working within the theatrical industry have the potential to earn a very lucrative salary. But it takes dedication and often a willingness to travel to enjoy the highest rates.

  8. Telecommunications Line Installer.  This career requires just some specialized postsecondary training to get started.

  9. Municipal Firefighter.  Firefighters need to pass both standard and physical examinations, and can often expect to work 24-hour shifts, but can expect a rewarding and financially stable career in return. 

  10. Wildland Fire Fighter.  Or, if you want to be in a bit more of a high-adrenaline area, consider working as a forest firefighter.

  11. Wholesale Sales Representative.  Having a proven sales ability always has a high value, and that goes doubly true for this career. Can you bring in the big results? You're hired.

  12. Court Reporter.  Enjoy a courtroom career without an expensive law degree. This does typically require the completion of a two-year program.

  13. Paralegal Assistant.  Or, for another law-oriented career, consider becoming a paralegal assistant. This career earns a median of $47,000 per year.

  14. Web Developer.  While you certainly can earn a degree in this field, it isn't necessary. This is an open career that can be successfully done by anyone who takes the time to educate themselves and attract clients with examples.

  15. Insurance Agent.   This is another profession ideal for the self-starter. Prerequisites include being comfortable in face-to-face communications, accepting criticism, and thriving when under pressure. 

  16. Artist.  Thanks to the Internet, artists aren't automatically resigned to being starving artists. There are a variety of online resources that make connecting artists with buyers easier than ever. 

  17. Gaming Manager.  Gaming industry might be regulated, but it's also growing. Getting in now can earn you high rewards -- no degree required.

  18. Flight Attendant.  Enjoy traveling around the world with on-the-job training.

  19. Dog Walker, Trainer, and Boarder.  Great with animals? Start with a few dogs and grow your business into a full boarding operation.

  20. Small Business Owner.  Speaking of which, being your own boss can be had with just a good idea and smart business acumen.