Everyone wants to develop skills that will ultimately allow them to be in demand, get an excellent salary, and have a successful and productive career.
However, the truth is that this isn’t possible for everyone. Indeed, to make a lot of money, the odds are good; you will need some high-income skills that can allow you to demand a high salary and be constantly in demand.
Fortunately, career paths are in demand, require minimal education, and can give you the chance to make a lot of money throughout your career.
No matter the economic environment, you should always increase your high-income skills. In a recession, you can be the last to be laid off. You will be the first to find a better-paying job in boom times. Or start a passive income business.
What is a High-Income Skill?
There is no “set” definition for a high-income skill, but it is generally understood to be a skill that hits a sweet spot between a few different factors:
- High demand. A high-income skill is one in which a lot of people are needed. It may be because it is vital for critical businesses or because changes in technology or business have created an environment in which the need for this skill is overwhelming.
- Hard to learn. Some skills, like specific technical skills, are challenging to understand and may require formal education. As such, they allow a person who possesses these skills to be in demand.
- Highly profitable. The valuable skills owned by the individual in question are capable of helping a person – or their employer – make a lot of money. As a result, the person who possesses these skills can ask for a high salary.
- Limited worker pool. The laws of supply and demand create a circumstance in which someone who has a valuable skill that others don’t can demand a high salary.
What is the Difference Between A Soft Skill and A Hard Skill?
A hard skill is a skill that can be learned or taught. Soft skill is something that is usually developed over time with experience. Furthermore, soft skills are typically more interpersonal, internal characteristics, while hard skills are skills that apply to a specific occupation. As such, soft skills are used in any job.
How Do You Develop High Income Skills?
In many cases, formal training is necessary to learn high-income skills. However, there are often ways that someone can learn these skills and begin their career without needing to sink tens of thousands of dollars into a formal college education. Specialized skills can often be learned at home, or at least can start to be learned at home, thus paving the way for an individual to learn more. In many cases, resources exist on the internet or are already available for free elsewhere.
Examples of ways that you can learn these specialized skills without a college education include:
Free YouTube & Blogs
YouTube, blogs, and other free resources are on the internet and can often provide extensive online classes and resources for free. It may not be enough to allow an individual to show their expertise on a resume. Still, the skills taught with these free resources are often enough to enable a person to generate money solely through their own business or the skills they learn by taking advantage of these resources.
Paid Online Courses
Online courses offer some outstanding resources and may potentially have formal certification. These online courses can teach high-income skills. Many platforms can allow a person to learn these skills.
Individuals who can find someone in the high-income skill area to give them a mentorship can learn high-income skills from an individual who has already established themselves within this field. Furthermore, a mentorship can often teach a person soft skills, like management skills or project management, that can be critical supplements for whatever field they ultimately enter.
An internship is often an excellent starting point for learning any high-income skill. Internships often serve as outstanding introductions because you work closely with someone who has already established themselves in a high-income field, allowing you to learn skills and better determine if this is a career you are interested in.
On The Job Training
Many high-income skills are high income because they suffer from a real worker shortage. As such, these skills will often provide on-the-job training that allows you to learn the relevant skill and succeed in the long run.
Formal classes are often the closest thing to an alternative to learning high-income skills that allow you to understand what you need without the massive expense of a college education. If done right, a formal class will often leave a person with the knowledge they need and a formal certification that can be used when applying for a job or on a resume.
Top 29 High Income Skills You Can Learn Without A College Education
There is no question that a college education can allow someone to develop the skills necessary to pull a high income and create a successful career, potentially leading to one’s own business or working as a contractor. Thankfully, individuals can learn high-income skills without needing college. Examples of some of the best high-income skills include:
Digital marketing has become a wildly successful field of late, particularly as the internet has exploded in popularity and commercial potential. Digital marketing involves a combination of various fields, including understanding marketing trends, having a robust understanding of social media platforms, and designing content that can cut through the online noise and help businesses reach potential customers.
If you are savvy and experienced enough, you can get into this field without taking any classes. However, earning a certification or taking a course will help you market yourself to other businesses. Digital marketing requires expertise, and you have to start somewhere. As such, starting as a digital marketer with a business may be an excellent way to launch your career, even if you have to work as an intern to get started. Multiple online courses also teach digital marketing.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing entails more work that is specific to social media. Individuals involved in this area have to be experts at not only managing already existing platforms but must keep an eye on the constantly changing social media ecosystem to ensure that they are watching for new platforms that may rise. Social media marketing is a very relevant skill and one that continues to be needed as social media and internet commerce become more intertwined. Social media marketers need skills that include creativity, technical understanding, and working well with clients to determine what content will work.
Thankfully, there are many ways to learn social media marketing. Many individuals involved in this field are self-taught, but many online courses are related to this area. The inexpensive nature of learning this field and its usefulness make it one of the most highly desirable freelance skills.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization is a specialized form of content creation. It refers to the art of creating content or tweaking websites to better align with search phrases. It can help a potential customer find content, products, or services a business offers. Since it is critical for a company to be found on the internet, this skill is desperately needed.
Search Engine Optimization does not need a college education. What it does require is typically a certification or training. Certification can allow someone to market themselves better in this critical field.
But more than certification, the skills of DIY will impress prospective hiring managers. And the best way to learn and demonstrate your expertise is by building a website and applying SEO skills to it.
Given the digital economy, more and more of our world will be moving online. Automated tools make it easy to start a website in 10 minutes with zero computer programing skills.
Setting up a website or blog is considered active in the initial phase because you need to produce content. But, the internet provides infinite leverage in terms of audience.
And you do not need to be an expert. Everyone loves to learn from their peers. The topic does not need to be complex either and you can make money from your hobby.
My friend started a kitchen herb garden and now sells e-books on herb gardening from her website. Another friend is offering keto recipes on his website. With costs so low to start an online business, there is no reason not to start. Check out my guide on how to create a website in 10 minutes.
There’s no question about the popularity and usefulness of the internet. In the long-term future, businesses will need help with web design, which means that learning the various languages of website development is highly necessary. A web designer creates websites and assists with search engine optimization, where the skills associated with web development are needed.
Online courses and certifications are available to people interested in this field. Furthermore, many businesses will offer on-the-job training. Individuals interested in learning this skill must know the specifics of the coding and ensure they fully understand the techniques associated with solid web design and development.
As you would imagine, software developers work with various computer or mobile app development pieces of software, creating top-quality programs that can be used in multiple recreational or business fields. It requires extensive, specialized knowledge and the merging of various skills. You’ll have to take client requests, create customized programs, work with others, and learn different programming languages. Just like web designers, software development is a highly desirable freelance skill.
Many software developers are self-taught. However, there are a variety of ways to learn software development, depending on the complexity of the programming language in question. You can watch YouTube videos, take online courses, or take classes in software engineering. There are also many free coding resources across the internet, and you can always try to take a class at your local community college.
The rise of digital media has made the graphic design more popular and more achievable than ever. A graphic designer works to make the layout of digital or print media attractive. There are so many graphical design tools available today that it is easier than ever to earn this art. Learning graphic design means learning the technical skills and developing a style that matches those of your prospective clients. Graphic designers are always in demand, and there are many freelance websites that graphic designers can use to advertise.
Like many other technical skills in this list, countless graphic designers are self-taught. However, you can also learn quite a bit about graphic design online or by working with other graphic designers.
Copywriting is another way of saying “writer for sale.” Copywriters are given an assignment and told to write about that assignment. It means they are supposed to take the content and put it into a format that matches the needs of the business in question. Copywriters often post their content on web pages, blogs, social media, or more. Multiple freelance sites help copywriters find work. Content marketing – using content to pull in writers – is a handy skill many writers often specialize in.
Copywriting is a skill that can often be self-taught or developed. It requires mastering the language in question and understanding how to meet client needs. Unlike many items on this list, the technical skills encompassed are not particularly demanding: Creativity and the ability to manage projects are far more critical when it comes to copywriting.
Real Estate Agents
There is no question that real estate is a highly lucrative business. Real estate agents or brokers can help individuals buy and sell a property. They can also get involved in specific real estate applications, like commercial or industrial brokerages. Finally, real estate agents can also work in short-term properties.
Real estate agents do not need to attend college. However, in every state, a real estate agent must be licensed. As a result, real estate agents must take the appropriate classes and ensure they are familiar with the various steps associated with real estate licensure. They likely will have to pass a final exam and may also have to take continuing education classes to maintain their license.
Agents meeting the real estate professional requirements have additional tax benefits as per IRS publication 925, which lets them deduct business expenses, losses, and property depreciation from their overall taxable income. Contrast that with an individual investing in real estate who does satisfy the real estate professional requirements and can only deduct losses against income or capital gains.
Real Estate Investors
Unlike investing in stocks, real estate investors have to develop unique skills which are learned through a combination of self-learning and mentorship. Learning how to evaluate a rental property is much more complicated than learning how to invest in the S&P 500.
In due course, you can even start your real estate syndication company.
Of course, these roles require some level of sweat equity early in the game, networking, and soft skills, but it is possible without spending thousands of dollars on a college degree.
One of the most in-demand skills today is becoming a skilled tradesman. As the name implies, this involves working with your hands. To be as transparent as possible: This is not a job for dummies. Depending on the specific trade, being involved in skilled trades requires math, science, and spatial skills. It is also called a skilled trade because you need to take classes and are likely to get certified – or licensed – to be able to do this well.
Fortunately, many in-person classes can teach you the skills necessary to succeed in this area, and you don’t need a college degree. Furthermore, many unions hire individuals as apprentices, then help them get jobs. Finally, the massive skilled trade shortage has led many companies to offer on-the-job, paid training that can help an individual get the skills necessary to succeed in this area.
An entrepreneurial electrician or plumber can quickly pursue the path of a real estate investor. They can raise funds needed for their first property using a real estate crowdfunding platform.
A salesperson will sell a product or service to individuals. The specific nature of the product or service will alter what a salesperson needs to know. However, as anyone in the sales field will tell you, this is not an easy job. You have to understand your product or service, be skilled at finding leads and sales, and understand what a customer needs and how you can fulfill that.
Sales do not require a college education. More often than not, you’ll need on-the-job training and a total understanding of the product that you are selling.
YouTube Content Creator
Countless people have seen their interests or hobbies become full-time jobs thanks to YouTube and the company’s robust ad-sharing programming. YouTube allows individuals to create exciting content, giving them a portion of the ad revenue generated from their videos. To succeed on YouTube, you have to have various technical and creative skills, including being good at editing and research. If you can generate enough popular content, you can make sponsorship deals with brands, turning your hobby into even more revenue.
These days, there is so much data in the world that it can be impossible to manage. Someone who is trained in data analysis can help manage data sources, set up systems for interpreting data, and ensure that data can be recorded in a method that is satisfactory to the client.
Data analysis can be done with a college education, but it’s not always required. As always, training can help make data analysis a reality.
Project management refers to a highly specialized income skill in which a person will manage the completion of a task or project. It involves planning, coordination, and execution of resources. More often than not, the difficulty with project management is that it can be a very disparate field. Skilled project managers must work in numerous areas and understand how to manage very different projects.
Video editing does not require a college education. It involves editing videos together to produce a high-quality presentation. It can be for commercial purposes, such as creating videos for businesses or working with YouTube creators to edit their footage and help develop video scripts.
Online flipping is the process that involves acquiring goods over the internet at a low price, then selling them at a higher one. In other words, it’s professional arbitrage. It can involve various products, including toys or gift cards, which have lucrative secondary markets. Individuals interested in this field must be capable of managing research, organization, and more.
Despite all the talk about social media, email marketing is still a highly relevant, high-income skill. Good Email marketers can design high-quality Emails that are interesting to customers, will lead to more customers opening Emails, and will ensure that more people read Emails from businesses. It involves good writing, graphic design, and more.
There is a massive trucking shortage in the United States right now, and since trucking is a highly specialized skill, the pay to become a trucker can be extremely high. Trucking is not an easy job. It involves long hours on the road and can be physically demanding. It also obviously requires time away from home. However, excellent experienced truckers can make as many as six figures for their job.
Online Course Creator
Course creation services have become wildly popular as a direct result of the popularity of the internet. More and more people are looking to learn high-income skills – including those listed in this article! Many freelance sites have programs that enable people to learn these skills, and individuals who are skilled in an area and able to teach high-income skills can help create online courses that can be highly beneficial for people.
Teaching also helps you give back to the community while the students benefit from your knowledge. It is a win-win situation for all parties.
Millions of people listen to podcasts every day, but just like YouTube, there is a big difference between learning how to create the content of a podcast and understanding how to edit it. Podcast editors are usually self-taught: They find the right software to use and learn how to master it. Podcast editing requires a good ear and the ability to integrate creative and technical skills, but you’re good to go once you do that.
Audio programs have made great strides in making advances with transcription, but the software isn’t perfect yet. Good transcribers – including courtroom transcribers – can make a small fortune by recording words as they hear them. It usually requires excellent typing skills and an ability to master transcription programs that professionals use.
As long as there is school and classes, tutors will always be needed. Good tutors can be invaluable in providing one-on-one or small group assistance to individuals trying to learn a skill or a craft. Tutoring requires learning how to teach and communicate with students – particularly those who may be having difficulty. Of course, it also requires a mastery of a subject. However, keep in mind that tutoring doesn’t have to be a highly specialized skill: You can tutor in 5th-grade math and make good money!
IT and Computer Security
Cyberattacks continue to grow in the level of problems they create and in their overall disruption of the world economy. As a result, cybersecurity is becoming more popular and more necessary. Good cybersecurity or IT specialist can make good money in this high-income skill. College education in this field is nice, but it is not required, and a certification combined with job training is often enough.
You may think of animators as people who work on cartoons that air on television. The truth is that this is no longer the sole job of animators, and it’s certainly not the same as it was a few years ago. Animators not only work on television shows, but they work with computer programs to design quick animations for television, YouTube videos, businesses, and more. All you need here is specialized training, an ability to draw, and an understanding of the computer programs used in animation.
Believe it or not, becoming a professional diver is a highly specialized, in-demand skill. Divers are often needed for various purposes, including working with the police or private companies to do salvage work. Because the craft is so specialized – and because it can be dangerous – it pays very well. It requires specialized training and certification but no college degree.
The post office is one of the most critical aspects of the United States economy. As a result, it is constantly hiring. Like most of these jobs on this list, it requires on-the-job training and being able to pass a civil service test. Fortunately for you, it also pays well, and like most government jobs, it comes with great benefits.
Car Mechanic & Technician
It is a handy, high-income skill that anyone with a mind for mechanics and an ability to use technology should pursue. It combines a variety of essential skills, and for people who are interested in cars, it can be a dream career. No college education is required, and the shortage in this field is so severe that many companies are willing to pay for the classes you need. In many cases, schools or Career & Technical Institutions will provide this skill as part of a college education.
Customer Service Representative
As the name implies, a customer service representative is someone who works for the private sector, helping to ensure that a customer’s needs are met. It can occur both in-person, and over the phone, and with the continued expansion of work-from-home technology, you may be able to get a high-paying job without ever having to leave the house.
Customer service representatives rarely require a college education. Although fundamental skills and training are needed, these skills are often soft skills, including interpersonal skills and the ability to satisfy angry customers.
Many local, state, and government jobs require skilled individuals to work in various positions. The term “government jobs” is broad, but more often than not, these are highly-skilled, technical jobs that benefit all of society in some way. Government jobs typically pay relatively well and come with solid benefits packages such as deferred compensation plans, HSAs, Traditional 401(k) or Roth 401(k).
In many cases, individuals are provided with on-the-job training to help them learn the skills they need. Individuals can then take those skills and earn even higher-paying government jobs or return to the private sector.
Although there are issues with pseudonymous crypto founders, the industry has many opportunities for talented individuals.
Artists can lend their creative expertise to crypto projects, including creating NFTs or designing the look and feel of the metaverse. Games are one of the most popular ways to earn cryptocurrency for free indicating untapped potential for game developers.
Individuals who are good at programming can work directly on creating blockchain tokens or smart contracts for DeFi. Unlike other programming languages, blockchain developers are not expected to have decades of experience since the industry is brand new.
FAQs on High-Income Skills
What is the Most Profitable Skill?
It can be very tough to say. However, the most profitable skill can be any of these – as long as it is paired with the right soft skills and your area of expertise. Being able to get along well with customers and having creativity can position anyone for long-term success and allow them to turn their skills into a profit.
What is the Easiest High Income Skill To Learn?
Again, this depends on someone’s skill-set. However, many of these skills, including copywriting, coding, and editing, can take only the completion of a class or two to learn. It can allow a person to become highly skilled in various fields.
John Dealbreuin came from a third world country to the US with only $1,000 not knowing anyone; guided by an immigrant dream. In 12 years, he achieved his retirement number.
He started Financial Freedom Countdown to help everyone think differently about their financial challenges and live their best lives. John resides in the San Francisco Bay Area enjoying nature trails and weight training.
Here are his recommended tools
M1 Finance: John compared M1 Finance against Vanguard, Schwab, Fidelity, Wealthfront and Betterment to find the perfect investment platform. He uses it due to zero fees, very low minimums, automated investment with automatic rebalancing. The pre-built asset allocations and fractional shares helps one get started right away.
Personal Capital: This is a free tool John uses to track his net worth on a regular basis and as a retirement planner. It also alerts him wrt hidden fees and has a budget tracker included.
Credit Karma partners with Equifax and TransUnion and offers free credit reports and free credit scores updated weekly. It also provides alerts when it detects unusual activity on your credit files. Monitoring your credit report for errors can save you thousands.
Fundrise: One of the top real estate crowdfunding platforms for non-accredited investors. Sign up for free and look at passive real estate investment opportunities with low minimum (only $10).
DiversyFund: is an excellent choice for non-accredited real estate investors with low minimum (only $500) offering automatically reinvested dividends.
Streitwise is available for accredited and non-accredited investors. They have one of the lowest fees and high “skin in the game,” with over $5M of capital invested by founders in the deals. It is also open to foreign/non-USA investor. Minimum investment is $5,000.
PeerStreet has a low $1,000 minimum, which allows for better diversification for real estate accredited investors. You can define the criteria based on rate, LTV, duration, etc., and use their automated investing feature to place you into investments that match your criteria. Or manually select the investments.