Top high-income skills to learn to make money without a degree

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Do you want to increase your income? Well, who doesn’t?

We understand what it’s like to feel stuck at what you do and the desire to earn more and reach your goals. 

To do that, you might need to make specific changes, like learning a new skill that doesn’t require going back to school to get a degree. 

We looked at the latest data on high-income skills and potential earnings. We also read reviews and success stories of people who are actually making money off these skills.

Are you still undecided on what skill to pursue? Keep reading until the end to pick an expertise or two that interest you. You can boost your income and avoid living from paycheck to paycheck.

What is the Difference Between a Skill and a Job?

A skill is the ability to use your knowledge in performing a task while a job pertains to the paid task or position or a piece of work. 

Employers look for two types of skills: soft skills and hard skills.

Although you can learn soft skills, they’re usually included in your personality. Some examples are critical thinking, leadership, and creative thinking. 

On the other hand, hard skills require hard work and patience since they’re not innate. They’re technical abilities that increase your chances of being hired by a company.

So what are high paying skills?

They’re teachable abilities that help you find a profitable job that can provide around $75,000 annual income. 

Now you need soft and hard skills to land a job. Employers expect you to use various skills to perform the assigned work.

Fortunately, several profitable skills won’t require a college or even a master’s degree.

Top 20 High-Income Skills

We’ve compiled 25 high-value skills to explore if you want more income.

Writing & SEO

1. Copywriting

Income range: $75,000 to $139,000 annually

Businesses need copywriters to increase their sales. A good copywriter must produce content consistent with the brand’s unique voice.

It’s one of the high-income skills you can learn at home!

First, you can research persuasive writing since you need to convince the target audience to purchase a product or service. 

It’s also essential to know how to write a headline, landing page, sales email, advertisement, and video script.

After that, you need to practice writing with the proper grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure. You should also learn how to edit your work.

Fortunately, you can practice doing all of these at no cost by searching the internet for free courses and writing exercises.

If you decide to be a copywriter, there are three paths you can take.

  • Freelance copywriter
  • In-house copywriter at a company
  • Staff copywriter at an advertising agency

2. Content Marketing

Income range: $88,600 to $134,000 annually

Content marketers help businesses build trust with their clients through blogs, newsletters, and other written content. 

They don’t necessarily persuade the target audience to take action; instead, they mainly inform potential customers.

How to create content?

First, you need to pick which content you want to focus on, such as the following:

  • Blogs
  • Whitepapers
  • Newsletters
  • Emails
  • Videos

Although these types of content are also included in a copywriter’s job, they entail different styles when used to communicate with potential customers.

After that, you can study how to write one. There are various free courses that you can take to learn this skill.

Since this is almost similar to copywriting, here are the possible career paths you can take once you master content marketing skills.

  • Freelance content marketer
  • In-house content marketer at a company
  • Content marketer at an advertising agency

3. SEO

Income range: $56,036 to $151,083 annually

Every time you search the internet, don’t you always click the top result first?

It’s not luck that you see it at the top of the list.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization helps businesses rank higher in search engines, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

As an SEO specialist, you can apply as a search engine marketer, consultant, and analyst.

Did you know that it’s one of those self-taught careers you can learn online?

First, you need to know SEO fundamentals, like keyword research, on-page and off-page SEO, and link building. After that, you can practice what you’ve learned by creating content using your SEO knowledge.

Check out the list below for tools that SEO experts use.

  • Ahrefs
  • Google Search Console
  • SEMRush

Content Creation

1. Online Course Creation

Income range: $66,467 to $82,070 annually

Did you know that you can develop money-making skills using your knowledge on a specific subject?

You can create online courses about piano, language, home decor, gardening, sewing, and academic lessons—basically, anything that you’re passionate about.

How can you create online courses?

  • Pick a specific topic.
  • It’s recommended to research the topic, even though you’re already knowledgeable about it.
  • Write an outline, then create the overall content.
  • You can ask friends to read or watch your lesson and ask for suggestions from them.

Of course, it doesn’t stop there since you need to publish your course online and market it to reach your target audience. You can use Wix, Weebly, and WordPress.

2. Podcasting

Income range: $87,274 to $164,000 annually

You can talk about almost any topic as a podcaster. It’s the same as radio, but on the internet.

Statista reported that in 2021, there were 383.7 million internet users who listened to podcasts. If you can produce interesting and informative episodes, you can only imagine the number of people that will listen to your channel.

How to learn podcasting?

  • Choose a topic you’re interested in.
  • Brainstorm the podcast name and write a catchy podcast description.
  • Organize your podcast format.
  • Prepare equipment and software.
  • Choose a podcast hosting service.
  • Record and share your podcast.

Check out these podcast hosting services.

  • Spotify
  • iTunes
  • PodBean

Technology

1. Web Design

Income range: $53,349 to $147,000 annually

Web designers focus more on programming and web knowledge. Like the other jobs, you can apply for a job at a company or work as a freelancer.

How to learn web designing?

First, you need to understand key web design concepts, including textures, colors, shapes, and grids. It’s also essential to familiarize yourself with Hypertext markup language (HTML), which will help you generate websites. You also need to learn the foundation of user experience to provide user-friendly sites.

It will help to follow design blogs, watch tutorial videos, and read books.

2. Software Development

Income range: $73,441 to $112,000 annually

In this age where almost all businesses need an online presence, software development is necessary. Here are the roles you can take on this career path.

  • Front-end developer
  • Back-end developer
  • Full-stack developer
  • Mobile developer

Software development focuses on technology and is one of the high income skills for the future.

After researching the roles mentioned above, it’s now time to learn fundamental programming skills by attending boot camps or enrolling in online courses.

Check out these core knowledge software developers must have:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • SQL
  • NoSQL
  • jQuery

3. Coding

Income range: $62,817 to $155,541 annually

It’s not news that Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates developed widely-used platforms without graduating from college.

This shows that it’s clearly possible to learn these high income skills without a degree. 

So how can you learn programming without a degree?

  • Watch free tutorials on YouTube or read blogs from programmers.
  • You can also enroll in bootcamps to learn quickly.
  • Focus on key concepts, including data types, variables, functions, trees, maps, conditional loops, and if statements.
  • Practice your coding skills hands-on. You can create a simple program first before venturing into the complex ones.

Free coding software to check out:

Tool nameProgramming languages
Notepad++PHP JavaScript HTML CSS
BracketsJavaScript HTML CSS
Visual Studio CodeSupports many languages like C++, Java, TypeScript, JSON

4. App Development

Income range: $89,092 to $146,000 annually

Businesses hire app developers to expand their customer base. Through a unique app, they can send notifications about new products and services.

You can apply as an Android or iOS application developer for a company or work as a freelancer.

How to learn app development?

  • You can choose between iOS and Android.
  • You can search for online courses to learn the basics. 
  • Practice your skills by developing an app idea, collaborating with other developers, and testing your app.

This will help you create a strong portfolio that you can show to employers.

Mobile platformProgramming languages
AndroidJava and Kotlin
iOSObjective-C and Swift

Online Marketing

Businesses must have an online presence, and online marketing is a crucial aspect to build that. That’s why the following skills are on demand.

1. Digital marketing

Income range: $57,691 to $182, 917 annually

Digital marketing includes other skills, such as SEO, content marketing, and affiliate marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing.

They’re high income skills you can learn for free by reading blogs, watching tutorial videos, and listening to a podcast.

You can apply as an in-house marketer or analyst. You can also choose to be a freelancer so you can do tasks on your own time.

2. Affiliate marketing

Income range: $66,258 to $175,000 annually

Affiliate marketers influence their followers to buy products and services. Hence, you need a dedicated follower base to earn commissions.

It also helps to present the products in an aesthetic manner to show how the products improved your daily life.

Usually, you can get a 5 to 30% commission per item sold.

3. Social media marketing

Income range: $93,806 to $122,719 annually

Social media marketers use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote a brand.

Some tips for aspiring social media marketers:

  • Be updated with trends and incorporate them into your posts
  • Enroll in social media marketing courses online
  • Watch social media marketing videos
  • Follow successful influencers and observe their strategies

4. Email marketing

Income range: $67,982 to $93,736 annually

Email marketers directly engage with prospective and current customers. Also, you need to have copywriting and content writing skills that pay.

It would help to learn the ins and outs of these email marketing services, which come with automation and valuable features.

  • Constant Contact
  • SendinBlue
  • HubSpot

Project Management

Income range: $145,946 to $181,537 annually

Project managers help business owners run their companies more smoothly. In effect, project management helps organizations meet their objectives.

Usually, you’ll start as a project coordinator and then move up to a project director role.

As you can see, it’s one of the highest paid skills on this list.

You can even learn project management skills in the comfort of your home. 

First, you can enroll in online courses. After familiarizing yourself with the key concepts and processes, you can practice what you’ve learned.

Some project management software to try out:

  • Wrike
  • Asana
  • Jira

Arts & Design

1. Graphic Design

Income range: $59,931 to $112,000

Graphic designers create appealing visuals for brands. These include social media posts, logos, posters, pamphlets, charts, and brochures to give lasting impressions to a brand’s target audience.

So how can you learn graphic designing?

First, you need to know the basic design principles and processes. This way, you can produce a cohesive, organized, consistent, and impactful design. 

It also helps to research more on typography, which is the art of arranging content aesthetically. You also need to study the fundamentals of color, including hue, saturation, and light.

Some applications to practice graphic designing:

  • Lucidpress
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator CC
  • CorelDraw
  • Canva

Once you’ve already developed this lucrative skill, you can apply as an art director and in-house or freelance designer.

2. Photography

Income range: $49,731 to $181,350 annually

As a photographer, you can work in a media organization or partner with an events company. It’s also an option to work as a freelancer.

Here’s how you can learn photography skills:

  • Research how to operate your camera.
  • Enroll in a photography workshop and join photography clubs.
  • Always bring your camera to build your photography portfolio.

3. Video Production and Editing

Income range: $53,063 to $144,462 annually

You can work as an animator, film editor, and marketing video editor.

But how can you develop video editing skills?

  • Use a fast computer and the right software
  • Watch tutorials to learn keyboard shortcuts for editing
  • Look for inspiration on different brands and personal blogs

Some video editing software to try:

  • Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Apple Final Cut Pro
  • Apple iMovie
  • CyberLink PowerDirector 365

Sales

Income range: $71,401 to $159,339 annually

As a sales representative, you’ll sell products and services for a company. It also includes representing the brand in transactions to get commissions.

How to become an effective sales representative?

  • Know the product you’re selling, including its pros and cons.
  • Use a sales process so you can connect with customers.
  • Observe techniques from successful sales representatives.

Entrepreneurship

Income range: $61,264 to $189,000 annually

On the other hand, entrepreneurs manage their own companies. They’re the ones responsible for coming up with a profitable idea.

Here’s how you can jumpstart your business:

  • Find a stable business idea and draft a plan.
  • Develop your product.
  • Contact families and friends to test your product.
  • Secure funding to launch your business.

Blockchain

Income range: $18,000 to $188,500 annually

Cryptocurrency offers a decentralized payment method that you can use to trade online.

While it’s volatile, it’s one of the high income skills online that definitely doesn’t require a college degree. 

Here’s how you can earn through blockchain technology:

  • Research about cryptocurrency exchanges and trends.
  • Get a crypto wallet that you can use for buying and trading.
  • Invest in multiple digital currencies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, and Binance.

Aside from buying and selling, you can also mine or validate crypto transactions. However, you need specialized mining hardware for that. Since you’re still a beginner, it’s advisable to explore cryptocurrency exchanges first.

Tips for Choosing a High-Income Skill to Learn

You can always try any career listed here, but it would help if you choose one that you already have a background in. 

This way, you can start earning using such skills, and you only need to improve your knowledge and capabilities.

If you want to engage in your chosen career for a long time, you can go for a technology-related one. Businesses turn to technology to improve their operations, so there will always be a demand for these jobs.

You can also look into the equipment you might need for the jobs mentioned above. 

For example, you must have a camera when you’re honing photography skills. You also need to have a powerful laptop when editing and producing videos.

4 Places to Learn High-Income Skills

Here are the top places you can look into if you want to start learning high-income skills:

Books

Reading books is a great way to learn anything. They help with the fundamental concepts you need to know when trying new skills.

You can also read blogs written by experts in a particular field so you can adapt and innovate their techniques. 

As you do your research, remember to focus on the basics first so you won’t be overwhelmed with massive information.

However, it’s not enough to read since you also need to practice what you’ve learned to produce content, programs, videos, and other items or services.

Udemy

Udemy is an online learning marketplace with more than 185,000 video courses about various topics.

Enrolling in a free online course allows you to have organized study sessions that can take place during your spare time.

So how can you utilize Udemy?

  • Visit Udemy website and click the “Sign Up” button on the top right corner.
  • Type your full name, email, and password to register.
  • On the next page, you’ll be asked about your career goal. You’ll have four choices: enter a new field, advance in your current field, become a manager, and advance as a manager.
  • After that, you need to select the professions you’re learning for.

Udemy will use the information you provided to show relevant courses for your chosen career and level of expertise.

HubSpot Academy

HubSpot Academy offers courses and certifications on digital marketing, sales, and customer service.

Follow the steps below to access free courses on HubSpot.

  • Go to HubSpot Academy’s website.
  • Tap “Sign up for free courses” on the top right corner.
  • Input your name, email address, and password, then click “Next.”
  • On the next page, you’ll be asked to select the field you work in.
  • After that, you need to provide details about your company.

HubSpot will display courses based on the details you’ve given.

Codecademy

As its name suggests, Codecademy is for people who want to learn programming or those who want to improve their coding skills.

You can learn these programming languages using Codecademy:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Python
  • Java
  • Go
  • JavaScript
  • Ruby
  • SQL
  • C++
  • Swift
  • Sass

Register by visiting Codecademy website to provide your email address and password.

Can You Make Decent Money Without a Degree?

Yes, you can earn almost $180,000 once you’ve mastered one of these lucrative skills that don’t require a college degree. You only need to utilize books and online resources available from blogs, YouTube, and other teaching websites.

Through these resources, you can learn copywriting, content marketing, SEO, online course creation, and podcasting. It’s also possible to excel in web design, software development, coding, and app development without a degree. 

Other high paying skills include online marketing, management, graphic design, photography, video editing, entrepreneurship, and blockchain.

You can work at a company or pursue the freelance route in any of these jobs!

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