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Here Are Some High-Paying Jobs That Don't Require A Degree

You can get to the bag without investing in a four-year undergrad program.

Workin' Girl

When we think of jobs that bring in real bank, we often think of medical, legal and tech industry gigs. And true, those jobs do pay substantial salaries, but they often require a bachelor's or master's degree. However, believe it or not, there are jobs where you can earn a good amount of money without investing in a four-year degree. Here are the top 15 high-paying jobs for women without a college degree:

Sound Engineer Technician

These professionals are responsible for setting up audio equipment, ensuring sound quality in a studio, performance hall or other venue, working the lights and syncronizing sound. The median annual salary for a sound engineer technician is $52,390 and those interested in pursuing this can either take online courses, get into an associate's program, or learn by trial and error by getting your own equipment and experimenting.

Hearing Aid Specialist

As a hearing aid specialist, you'd be evaluating the quality of hearing for patients, talking them through the best options and managing dispensing and maintenance in this job. The median salary for hearing aid specialists puts you at 52,770 per year, and the only education requirement starting out is a high school diploma. It's a good idea to pursue a trainee position and learn a lot via courses or on-the-job mentorship.

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Electrician

The median salary for an electrian is more than $55,000 per year, and you'd have a wide range of options in terms of duties and environments. Some electricians work independently with real estate developers and construction managers. Others work for major corporations. You can pursue a trade school program or go in as an apprentice with an experienced professional.

Sales Rep

This is a job that can hit various industries and businesses, and the options are almost limitless. The median salary for a sales rep is more than $58,500 and the minimum education requirement is a high school diploma. You can also boost your skills by getting an associate's degree.

Executive Assistant

Extreme attention to detail, great communication skills, ability to multitask, and a knack with project management are the key skills required to be an executive assistant. The median annual salary for an executive assistant is more than $54,000.

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Commercial Pilot

You can start off in this industry with a high school diploma and learn from a certified instructor. (If you're looking to work for an airline, be prepared to invest in a bachelor's degree. The requirements are different for major airlines.) As a commercial pilot, you can fly private jets for independent clients or you can work for a company providing services for their executive or travel needs. The average base pay for a commercial pilot is well over $80,000 per year.

Patrol Officer

This job requires a focus on public service and attention to law, and the median salary for a patrol officer is $61,380. If you're into making a difference, working to protect and serve and want to attempt to change the system, this might be the job for you.

Microblading Artist

You can earn up to $76,000 a year sculpting eyebrows that slay as a microblading artist. Some professionals work on their own, catering to clients via a salon or mobile services, and some work within a professional salon network. If you're looking for an example, check out Love and Hip Hop star Sierra Gates, who swears by the profitability and potential for flexibility with this career path. You can take courses and get experience by apprenticing with a pro.

Food Stylist

The average salary for the job of a food stylist is more than $62,000, and though some firms require a college degree for positions, you can still get your foot in the door at others with just a high school diploma. If you have an eye for aesthetics, don't mind positioning food for photographs, films and other productions, and know a bit about styling techniques, this is for you.

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Licensed Practical or Licensed Vocational Nurse

Not to be confused with a registered nurse (RN), these profesionals support RNs in major functions such as checking vital signs, performing enemas, delivering medicines and massaging muscles--among other duties---and the role of a licensed practical or licensed vocational nurse requires no more than one to two years of education via a state-approved diploma or certificate nursing program. The median annual salary for an LPN or LVN is more than $42,000.

Funeral Service Manager

Compassion, creativity and great people skills are important for the role of funeral service manager, and it can bring in up to $66,666 per year. You'll need an associate's degree in funeral service or mortuary science which can take up to two years, and you'll also have to work as an apprentice or trainee.

Fashion Designer

If you have a natural knack for sewing, pattern making and textile sourcing, you're a perfect fit for fashion design. Though some designers study at top schools in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, and Italy, you don't necessarily have to have a four-year degree to pursue this job and actually make good money doing it. You can take certifications or other courses to specialize in a certain type of fashion or audience to cater to. The median income for a fashion designer is more than $57,000 per year.

YouTube Personality

When you see the title, you might think it's a long shot. Think again. Top earners on YouTube can get from $50,000 up into the millions yearly. If you're great at video editing, engaging with an audience, offering content people love, and connecting with sponsors, the YouTube personality route might be a great path to pursue.

Insurance Sales Agent

Insurance sales agents earn a median salary of $50,600 and are responsible for selling auto, health, home or life insurance to consumers. Once you've passed the required tests, you can either work for a particular company or start your own.

Surgical Technologist

Surgery support professionals are a vital part of the success of medical procedures, and they are often responsible for tasks like sterilizing the operating room, setting out tools for the doctor, or prepping a patient. The median salary for a surgical technologist is $47,300.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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