While 20-somethings have been graduating from colleges across the U.S. this month, higher education remains a privilege that is inaccessible to many.
Even though they can be prohibitively expensive, a degree offers more opportunities than ever before, including increasing your future earning potential, opening the door to other employment opportunities and even adding years to your life.
However, for those without the opportunity to pursue a four-year degree, there are some career options that pay well.
In fact, Monster PayRight worked with PayFactors to collect data from over 2,000 American employers and found that many high-paying jobs don't require a bachelor's degree.
Topping the list is janitorial manager, a profession where the median annual salary is $93,500. While this may not be the most glamorous occupation, a surprising number of self-made millionaires started off as janitors.
For instance, Sean Conlon, the star of CNBC's " The Deed: Chicago ," immigrated to the United States with just $500 to work as a janitor. Conlon worked hard and eventually built a lucrative career in real estate.
Consistent among these top jobs is the ability to work under minimal supervision, the ability to manage others and some degree of technical proficiency . In order to reach these high salaries, workers must often assume leadership responsibilities.
Here are the five highest-paying positions that don't need a bachelor's degree:
5. Instrument technicians
According to Monster, instrument technicians are responsible for installing, monitoring and maintaining production equipment. While the role does not require an advanced degree, it does need a wide range of skills including oral and written communication abilities, computational proficiency, technical expertise, problem-solving abilities and leadership potential.
A grinder operates machines used for various manufacturing, smoothing and polishing tasks. The extremely dangerous machines calls for a high technical knowledge and strong attention to detail. Many grinders are also responsible for quality assurance of the final product, whatever it may be.
3. Aircraft mechanics
It may come as a surprise, but according to Monster, many aircraft mechanic positions do not need a college degree. The job site reports that these jobs typically expect a high school diploma, an internship and four to six years of experience. One of the most important roles of an aircraft mechanic is to inspect airplanes and ensure that they meet Federal Aviation Administration standards.
2. Shop service managers
Shop service managers oversee a team of technicians and mechanics that service cars, trucks and heavy equipment. While some employers do prefer candidates to have a bachelor's degree, Monster says that it is not compulsory. In order to be a shop service manager, you will need terrific customer service skills, comprehensive knowledge of the industry and a clean driving record.
1. Janitorial managers
You may think you know what it takes to be a janitorial manager, but this profession demands skills that are highly valuable to any company or organization. Janitorial managers often play a role in departmental budgeting and strategic planning. They also must be able to foster teamwork and problem solve under pressure.