16 high-paying jobs you can do from home without a college degree

SeventyFour/Getty ImagesNot every job that you can do from home requires a college degree.
  • Researchers from The University of Chicago analysed which jobs can be done from home given their characteristics and work duties.
  • Given this classification of telework jobs, we decided to look at which jobs are high-paying and can be done from home but do not require a college degree.
  • Using education requirements and typical salary data from the Bureau of Labour Statistics, we looked at jobs from the University of Chicago list that earn more than the US average annual salary and where the typical minimum education is a high school diploma or no formal education.
  • Transportation managers made the top of the list with an average annual salary of $US103,320 and a minimum educational requirement of a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The kinds of jobs that can be done from home range from managers and supervisors to sales agents, and not all of these jobs require you to be a college graduate.

Jonathan Dingel and Brent Neiman from The University of Chicago researched the kinds of job that can potentially be done from home based on an occupation’s characteristics and responsibilities found on The Department of Labour’s Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

Using two work questionnaires on O*NET, if an occupation met conditions like a “majority of respondents say they work outdoors every day” or “performing general physical activities is very important,” then the researchers classified this occupation as one that cannot be done from home. The full list of these kinds of questions can be found in their white paper.

To check this method, the researchers manually gave each occupation their own score. The O*NET and manual classifications were mostly the same, agreeing for about 85% of the jobs.

Athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers were one of the jobs that did not match between the two assessments. The O*NET classification found these jobs can likely be done from home, while their manual classification believed these jobs are not suited for telework. Private detectives and investigators showed a similar difference.

Based on their O*NET method, they found about 37% of occupations can likely be done remotely.

Given the large number of people working from home during the pandemic, Business Insider decided to look at high-paying remote jobs that don’t require a college education. To do this, we used The University of Chicago’s classification of jobs that likely can be done from home based on the O*NET classification scheme and found those where the typical minimum requirement is a high school diploma or its equivalent, or does not have a particular educational requirement. Of these occupations, we looked at those that make more than $US53,490, the average annual salary of all occupations as of May 2019.

The following are the 16 highest-paying jobs that you can do from home that don’t require a college degree based on O*NET classifications. Education and occupational data are from the Bureau of Labour Statistics.


16. Brokerage clerks

Witthaya Prasongsin/Getty Images

Education requirement: High school diploma or equivalent

Salary: $US55,190

Number of people employed: 47,990


15. Private detectives and investigators

South_agency/Getty Images

Education requirement: High school diploma or equivalent

Salary: $US57,000

Number of people employed: 35,000

While the job-characteristic-based method found private detectives and investigators can work from home, the researchers’ manual assignment found that this occupation probably cannot work from home.


14. First-line supervisors of transportation and material moving workers, except aircraft cargo handling supervisors

Fertnig/Getty Images

Education requirement: High school diploma or equivalent

Salary: $US57,840

Number of people employed: 455,390


13. First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers

Steve Debenport/Getty Images

Education requirement: High school diploma or equivalent

Salary: $US60,130

Number of people employed: 1,487,870


12. Farm labour contractors

Per Breiehagen/Getty Images

Education requirement: None

Salary: $US62,060

Number of people employed: 160


11. Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants

sturti/Getty Images

Education requirement: High school diploma or equivalent

Salary: $US62,920

Number of people employed: 542,690


10. Insurance sales agents

fizkes/Shutterstock

Education requirement: High school diploma or equivalent

Salary: $US67,780

Number of people employed: 410,050


9. Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators

SDI Productions/Getty Images

Education requirement: High school diploma or equivalent

Salary: $US68,940

Number of people employed: 287,960


8. Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives, except technical and scientific products

Katleho Seisa/Getty Images

Education requirement: High school diploma or equivalent

Salary: $US71,110

Number of people employed: 1,344,530


7. Property, real estate, and community association managers

Education Images / Contributor/Getty Images

Education requirement: High school diploma or equivalent

Salary: $US71,720

Number of people employed: 220,750


6. Postmasters and mail superintendents

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Education requirement: High school diploma or equivalent

Salary: $US78,220

Number of people employed: 13,850


5. Real estate brokers

courtneyk/Getty Images

Education requirement: High school diploma or equivalent

Salary: $US81,450

Number of people employed: 42,730


4. Intelligence analysts

Laurence Dutton/Getty Images

Education requirement: High school diploma or equivalent

Salary: $US86,030

Number of people employed: 105,620

Intelligence agents are included in the broader category of detectives and criminal investigators, but the researchers at University of Chicago found criminal investigators and special agents likely cannot work from home. These specific occupation titles from O*NET, intelligence analysts and criminal investigators and special agents, both use wage data for detectives and criminal investigators from BLS.


3. First-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers

Moyo Studio/Getty Images

Education requirement: High school diploma or equivalent

Salary: $US86,180

Number of people employed: 249,090


2. Athletes and sports competitors

Associated PressIn this still image from video provided by the NFL, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the NFL football draft, Saturday, April 25, 2020. (NFL via AP)

Education requirement: None

Salary: $US93,140

Number of people employed: 11,330

While the O*NET job-characteristic-based method found athletes can work from home, the researchers’ manual assignment found that this occupation probably cannot work from home.


1. Transportation, storage, and distribution managers

Hybrid Images/Getty Images

Education requirement: High school diploma or equivalent

Salary: $US103,320

Number of people employed: 132,040

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.