How to Make 75 Grand a Year Without a College Degree

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Do you believe making 75 grand a year could make you happy?

Well, consider data of earnings and life satisfaction analyzed by Psychologists from Purdue University and the University of Virginia of 1.7 million people in 164 countries, found that the ideal income for individuals is $95,000 a year for life satisfaction and $60,000 to $75,000 a year for emotional well-being. Families with children will need more.

 So you mean t tell me if you make over six-figures you happiest in life won’t increase? Like the songs says more money more problems.

The research found once the earning threshold was reached, further increases in income tended to be associated with reduced life satisfaction and a lower level of well-being. Often by obtaining a higher income it has an impact on your life-work balance. It’s an important question to ask yourself is the trade-off worth it?

Our time is our most valuable resources, we already send a 1/3 of our time each day eating, sleeping, and getting ready for work. If you are spending 10-12 hours in the office each day to chase that large six-figure income when do you have time to enjoy it?

There are many different paths to achieving a 75 grand a year salary. Surprisingly enough many don’t require a college degree. 

75 Ways to Make 75K

I love social media, not for the political banter, but an occasional meme, but most of all the meaningful discussion, and engagement with others.

 In a private Facebook group, there was a lively discussion on how someone could make $75,000 a year without a college degree? 

Here’s the list of real jobs being performed by real people making 75 grand a year.

  1. Aerospace Mechanic
  2. Agriculture — farming
  3. Armed Security
  4. Auto Manufacturer
  5. Auto Mechanic
  6. Auto repair shop owner
  7. Border Patrol Agent
  8. Business Owner — cleaning, landscaping
  9. Car Sales
  10. Carpenter
  11. Casino Dealer
  12. CDL Driver (license needed)
  13. Cell Tower Site Development
  14. Chef
  15. Construction
  16. Corrections Officers
  17. Cosmetology
  18. Court Reporter
  19. Crane Operator
  20. Custodial
  21. Diesel Mechanic
  22. Electrician
  23. Elevator Mechanic
  24. Executive Assistant
  25. Facilities Manager
  26. Federal Employee — shipyard construction, contractor
  27. FedEx Freight Driver
  28. Fire Suppression
  29. Firefighter
  30. Garbage Man
  31. Graphic Design
  32. Ground Operations for Airline
  33. Hairstylist
  34. Help Desk
  35. Home Daycare (may require license and insurance)
  36. Home Inspector
  37. HVAC
  38. IBEW Worker
  39. IS — information security
  40. IT — information technology
  41. Kitchen Design
  42. Land Surveyor
  43. Law Enforcement
  44. Legal Billing
  45. Legal Secretary
  46. Life Insurance Agent
  47. LPN — Licensed Practical Nurse — technical degree needed
  48. Mechanic
  49. Military
  50. Millwright
  51. Mining
  52. Mortgage Banker
  53. Office Manager
  54. Oil and Gas Refinery
  55. Painting Contractor
  56. Paramedic
  57. Pilot — technical training needed
  58. Plumbing
  59. Postal Service
  60. Project manager
  61. Railroad
  62. Realtor
  63. Restaurant Operator, Owner, or Manager
  64. Retail Store Manager
  65. Sales — insurance, telecom
  66. Steamfitter
  67. Steel Mill Worker
  68. Television Production
  69. Union Laborer
  70. UPS Driver
  71. Warehouse Manager
  72. Waste Industry — Wastewater treatment
  73. Web Development
  74. Welder
  75. Wind Turbine Technician

What do you think of the list? Any other jobs you might add?

So of these jobs, I had to look up. For example, I had no idea what a millwright was.  

A millwright is a high-precision craftsman or skilled tradesman who installs, dismantles, maintains, repairs reassembles, and moves machinery in factories, power plants, and construction sites.

Things to keep in mind, many of these jobs do require some training, technical degree, or license, usually completed at a trade school in 12-18 months. May indicated that their employers often offered the training or were willing to pay for it.

Also, many of these positions don’t start at $75,000. The people working these jobs has to start at the bottom making less but suggested in as little as five years could be making this amount of money.


Real-Life Example

I recently needed to hire a plumber for a few little fixes, and a bathroom faucet replacement. I asked friends and family for some recommendations and called each one for their price and availability. The first company I called quote me a price of $195 to replace the faucet, and a rate of $225 per hour for the other fixes. After making several calls I settled in on a particular company. A small two-man business. They were prompted, courteous, and finished their work in under an hour. Total cost $354.

In speaking with them they had completed a another job before mine and were on their way to another after my work was completed. So I can only guess the total amount of money made on that day, let’s say each of the other jobs brought in $350 as well, that a 1-day total of $1050. If you say 50% is cost and 50% profit that’s $525 a day or $2625 a week or $10,5oo a month or $126,000 a year.

So the point of it all is working a job as a plumber, electrician, mechanic, etc. Can really be a lucrative career.

Many Factors to Consider

There were over 3 million high school graduates in 2020. What will these 3 million young adults do? Go to college, military, enter the workforce?

There no clear right or wrong decision, it’s an individual choice, but its important to consider all options, and look at factors like your goals, where you’d like to live, future job market, cost of living, etc.

If you start on any one of these 75 career paths mentioned above at 18, you could be making more then a friend who goes to college, and graduates four years from now. You’ll avoid student debt, and possible have a great head start.

If you want to serve in the military, there are many opportunities to earn money for higher education, learn a trade, or make a full career in the military.

If college is the path you choose do your best to minimize the cost of your degree, consider community college first. The less you spend to obtain your degree the better your future will be. By all means, do your homework on the return on investment of your degree.

So spend $160K for a private college for a career path that makes $40k a year. You’ll be paying back the debt forever. Research what the job market will look like in four years, what salaries for your career path will look like, and use this to help make the best economical college choice.

If all else fails, you still have 75 career paths that can make you enough money to live a happy life. Good luck, and I’ll leave you with some words from Mike Rowe.

This article was originally published at and republished here with permission.