12 Hands-On Jobs That Pay Well and Require Less Than a Bachelor’s Degree

Everyone needs to eat and pay bills, and for this, one should have a well-paying job.

However, most such jobs require either a Masters’ degree and sometimes even a Ph.D.

What if we told you that you can find at least 12 hands-on jobs that pay well and require less than a Bachelor’s degree?

If we got you curious, read on!


Being a mason is not the easiest job out there, but it is one that only requires a high school diploma or GED along with training on the job.

This is a physically demanding job, in some parts of the country just seasonal, and its popularity is decreasing.

Despite all these negative aspects, you’ll still be able to earn around $23 per hour or $47,000 per year.

Your duties as a mason include:

  • Reading blueprints or drawings to calculate materials needed
  • Laying forms or foundations according to the plans
  • Laying out and installing rain-screen water systems

Sheet Metal Worker

Unlike masons, there is a slowly increasing demand for sheet metal workers.

For this occupation, you’ll also need a high school diploma or equivalent and then to complete an apprenticeship as your training.

This trade is also physically demanding with the average pay at around $51,000 per year or $24.7 per hour.

Here’s what you’re expected to do as a sheet metal worker:

  • Select types of sheet metal according to plans
  • Drill holes for screws, bolts, and rivets
  • Fabricate or alter parts at construction sites
  • Fasten seams or joints by welding, bolting, riveting, or soldering

EKG Technician

The healthcare industry has a high demand for personnel in all specialties.

To become an EKG tech you’ll need to graduate from high school or have a GED.

Additionally, you’ll have to attend further training for about a year, though it is possible to get hired without it as well.

It’s very common for these professionals to hold an Associates’ degree though.

Your duties will include:

  • Evaluating patients and explaining procedures
  • Performing EKGs
  • Preparing test results for the cardiologist

With the above-mentioned degree, you’ll be able to earn almost $29 per hour or $59,600 per year.

MRI Technician

We remain in the medical field and have a look at the MRI technicians who create specific images of body parts for physicians.

These professionals need at least a year of studying a specialized program after they obtain their high school diploma or GED.

You’re also expected to earn a certificate or a license depending on the state you live in.

These are some of their duties:

  • Position patients for MRI scans
  • Assist radiologist with procedures
  • Maintain patient records

MRI techs earn around $74,000 a year, which translates to about $35.7 per hour.

Solar Photovoltaic Installer

Solar photovoltaic installers usually work outside, usually on roofs, and in a team.

A solar photovoltaic installer completes tasks like the following:

  • Measures, cuts, and assembles the support structure for solar PV panels
  • Connects PV panels to the electrical system
  • Activates and tests PV systems

These professionals are required to graduate from high school or to have a GED at minimum.

Most of them attend some classes at either some community college or vocational school and then receive training on the job for about 1 year.

The pay is about $22 per hour or around $46,000 per year.

12 Hands-On Jobs That Pay Well and Require Less Than a Bachelor's Degree


Electricians are related to solar photovoltaic installers in a way.

To become an electrician you’ll need to graduate from high school or obtain a GED.

You’ll either have to enroll in an apprenticeship or an electrician training program.

There are online programs for electricians available.

Furthermore, you’ll have to obtain a license according to the local regulations.

These will be some of your future duties:

  • Plan electrical systems for new buildings
  • Install and maintain electrical products
  • Upgrade outdated equipment

Based on your experience and level of certification, you can earn on average $45,000 annually or $21.5 hourly.

Diesel Mechanic

Diesel mechanics repair buses, trucks, and heavy machinery, and they usually only need a certification.

The programs for certification last for at least 6 months.

Some of these professionals choose to earn an Associates’ degree, and this route lasts for about 2 years to complete.

These are some of the duties of a diesel mechanic:

  • Diagnosing engine and other mechanical problems
  • Inspecting and adjusting wheels
  • Cleaning engine parts

Such a job will earn you around $50,000 a year or $24 an hour, based on a variety of factors.


The demand for plumbers is increasing at a slow pace, despite them having to respond to emergency calls rather often.

However, it is relatively easy to become a plumber as all you need is to graduate from high school or have an equivalent diploma and then complete your training, you can be trained online as a plumber as well.

These are some of the job duties of a plumber:

  • Reading blueprints
  • Installing pipes and fixtures
  • Repairing piping systems in homes, factories, and businesses

For everything a plumber does, the hourly wage is around $27, translating to about $56,000 per year.

Ultrasound Technician

We return to the medical field where the demand for ultrasound technicians is rather high.

While you could obtain a Bachelors’ degree for this position, there will be enough opportunities to get hired with less education, sometimes even right after graduating from high school.

These professionals also create images of the inside of the human body for doctors to help patients.

Here are some of their duties include:

  • Obtaining patient history
  • Keeping medical records
  • Operating diagnostic medical equipment

Depending on how much education and experience you have, you can expect to earn around $76,000 yearly or $36 hourly.

Surgical Technologist

This occupation is for those who do want to earn a degree, but not a Bachelors’.

Classes are offered at various educational institutions and last between 1 and 2 years.

As a surgical tech, you’ll be responsible for:

  • Preparing the operating room
  • Assembling the sterile equipment
  • Assisting the surgeon with putting on the equipment

You’ll need to be detail-oriented and be able to work in a team for this occupation.

You’ll be earning around $50,000 annually and this means around $24 hourly.


These tradespeople use special equipment to join together or cut apart metals.

Your duties will include:

  • Choosing the correct welding method for the job
  • Reading blueprints and following plans
  • Maintaining your equipment

To work as a welder, you’ll need to undergo some training that can last up to 18 months.

Some welders choose to earn an Associates’ degree for more career opportunities and higher income.

Regardless of getting a degree or not, you’ll need to become certified, there are online welding classes to help you with that.

As far as the salary goes, you can expect to make about $40,000 annually or $19.4 hourly.


Carpenters are not in high demand, but they’re still needed.

You’ll need to complete an apprenticeship that lasts for about 4 years after you graduate from high school.

Carpenters usually complete these tasks among others:

  • Following blueprints and building plans to create the items for the clients
  • Measuring, cutting, and shaping wood, plastic, and other materials
  • Inspecting and replacing damaged frameworks or other fixtures

The work is rather demanding and the hours could be longer than for other occupations as well.

Carpenters make about $49,000 a year or $24 an hour.


These are not the only occupations that pay well and don’t require individuals to have a Bachelors’ degree.

Most of them require either certification or licensing.

Keep in mind that these diplomas have to be renewed and this usually involves continuing your education in the chosen field.

Many also offer the possibility of owning and running a business for which you’ll need additional credentials.

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