31+ Entry-Level Jobs That Pay $20 An Hour Or More in 2023

Landing a high-paying job usually requires years of experience and education. But that‘s not always the case. Plenty of occupations pay over $20 per hour without needing a four-year degree.

As a small business entrepreneur and career coach, I‘ve helped hundreds of people build financial security through smart career moves. You don‘t necessarily need college to access well-paying work.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll showcase over 30 great jobs accessible to those without advanced degrees. I‘ll also provide insider tips to help you land these roles and maximize your earning potential.

Let‘s dive in!

Trades and Technical Roles

Skilled trades and technical roles offer some of the best opportunities for high pay without a bachelor‘s degree. These hands-on jobs provide great on-the-job training.

Occupation Median Annual Salary
Electrician $59,190
Plumber $56,610
HVAC Technician $48,730


Median Hourly Wage in 2021: $28.66

To become a licensed electrician, you typically need to complete an apprenticeship program which combines paid on-the-job training with classroom instruction. This takes 3-5 years.

Once licensed, electricians enjoy high demand and excellent pay installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical systems. The job growth for electricians is projected at 8% from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations.


Median Hourly Wage in 2021: $27.32

Like electricians, plumbers learn their trade through a paid apprenticeship program, typically 4-5 years. Once properly trained, plumbers earn a great living installing, repairing and maintaining water systems in homes and commercial buildings. Their skills will always be in demand.

Employment of plumbers is projected to grow 5% from 2021 to 2031. Business expansion, new building construction, and an aging workforce driving retirements will create job openings.

HVAC Technician

Median Hourly Wage in 2021: $23.43

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians work on heating, ventilation, cooling, and refrigeration systems. Excellent mechanical aptitude and technical skills are needed.

Formal training lasts 6 months to 2 years and combines classroom study with hands-on practice. HVAC technicians get rewarded with good pay and job stability. Employment in the field is projected to grow 4% from 2021 to 2031.

Healthcare Jobs

The healthcare sector offers a broad range of patient care and support roles accessible with an associate degree or less. These jobs feature competitive wages along with meaningful work.

Occupation Median Annual Salary
Dental Hygienist $76,220
Radiologic Technologist $63,120
Registered Nurse $77,600

Dental Hygienist

Median Hourly Wage in 2021: $36.51

Working under dentists‘ supervision, dental hygienists examine patients, provide preventative oral care, and educate about proper dental health. An associate degree or certificate is required along with a state license.

Strong job prospects and high pay make this a secure career path. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow 11% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than average.

Radiologic Technologist

Median Hourly Wage in 2021: $30.59

Also known as radiographers, radiologic technologists perform diagnostic imaging examinations like x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and mammograms. An associate degree is typically required.

With a large number of radiologic technologists nearing retirement, job opportunities are plentiful. The BLS projects 7% growth in the field between 2021 and 2031.

Registered Nurse

Median Hourly Wage in 2021: $35.24

Nurses provide and coordinate patient care while monitoring treatment. An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is the minimum education required, along with a state license.

Nursing offers diverse specialties and schedules, from standard daytime hospital jobs to home health care and more. According to the BLS, registered nursing jobs are projected to grow 9% from 2021 to 2031, creating 194,500 openings.

Transportation Jobs

From truck drivers to air travel personnel, transportation offers stable roles focused on keeping cargo and people moving. These jobs feature good pay and opportunities for advancement.

Occupation Median Annual Salary
Flight Attendant $56,000
Air Traffic Controller $130,420
Commercial Pilot $93,300

Flight Attendant

Median Hourly Wage in 2021: $27.02

Providing customer service to travelers on flights, flight attendants ensure passengers‘ comfort and safety. While a high school diploma is technically enough, most airlines prefer candidates with some college.

Excellent hospitality skills are a must. With air travel demand increasing, employment of flight attendants is projected to grow 30% from 2021 to 2031, according to the BLS.

Air Traffic Controller

Median Hourly Wage in 2021: $62.49

Using radar and visual info, air traffic controllers coordinate the movement of aircraft to maintain safe distances. Controllers need an associate degree from an FAA-approved program.

With a large number of controllers expected to retire, job opportunities are plentiful. Employment is projected to grow 9% for air traffic controllers from 2021 to 2031.

Commercial Pilot

Median Hourly Wage in 2021: $30.82

Piloting and navigating aircraft to transport passengers or cargo is an exciting career option. You need a high school diploma, commercial pilot‘s license, and 250+ hours of flight time.

Strong math, science and communication skills are essential. Demand for commercial pilots is projected to remain stable through 2031 as the industry recovers from a shortage of pilots.

Outdoor Jobs

For nature lovers, outdoor occupations like park ranger, conservation worker, landscaper, and tree trimmer offer active roles with solid pay. These jobs combine environmental passion with financial stability.

Occupation Median Annual Salary
Park Ranger $45,730
Landscaping Worker $33,800
Tree Trimmer $39,970

Park Ranger

Median Hourly Wage in 2021: $21.99

Park rangers work for the National Park Service or state/local governments overseeing public parks. Roles involve law enforcement, visitor education, and resource conservation.

A high school diploma is required, though positions are competitive. According to the BLS, job opportunities for park rangers are projected to be good thanks to excellent benefits and rewarding work.

Landscaping Worker

Median Hourly Wage in 2021: $16.24

From planting trees and flowers to maintaining gardens and green spaces, landscaping workers make outdoor areas beautiful. Most get trained on the job, with employers providing tools.

Growth of 13% is projected for landscaping worker jobs between 2021 and 2031. Homeowners and businesses investing in lawn and garden upgrades will drive demand.

Tree Trimmer

Median Hourly Wage in 2021: $19.23

Trimming and removing trees near power lines or residential areas requires specialized skills. Most arborists learn through on-the-job training. A commercial driver‘s license helps in transporting equipment.

According to the BLS, job opportunities for tree trimmers and pruners are projected to grow 19% from 2021 to 2031 thanks to utility company investments in power line clearance initiatives.

Office and Administrative Jobs

For those who prefer indoor work environments, office support roles offer stable hours and income. Administrative assistants and data entry clerks will continue seeing strong demand.

Occupation Median Annual Salary
Executive Assistant $66,870
Billing & Posting Clerk $42,170
Data Entry Clerk $35,850

Executive Assistant

Median Hourly Wage in 2021: $32.13

Providing senior leaders with admin support, executive assistants handle busy calendars, travel logistics, office management, and communication. Related work experience and strong computer skills are preferred.

With executives needing reliable support, jobs for executive assistants are projected to grow 14% from 2021 to 2031, per the BLS.

Billing & Posting Clerk

Median Hourly Wage in 2021: $20.28

Billing and posting clerks enter data, produce invoices, handle payments and maintain financial records for companies. An associate degree is preferred but a high school diploma is sufficient.

Meticulous data entry skills and organizational ability are vital. The BLS projects 4% job growth for billing and posting clerks from 2021 to 2031.

Data Entry Clerk

Median Hourly Wage in 2021: $17.23

Data entry clerks input information into databases and spreadsheets for companies. Roles involve transcribing, verifying, and updating existing data. Attention to detail is critical.

While automated data capture will affect some positions, a growing need for data entry across industries will create job opportunities. The BLS projects a 4% increase in data entry clerk jobs from 2021 to 2031.

Career Tips and Insights

Beyond formal education requirements, here are my top tips for accessing and succeeding in these well-paying roles:

  • Get certified. Even if not always required, certifications in your field can make your resume stand out. They show commitment to professional growth.
  • Ace the interview. For hands-on roles especially, highlight your mechanical aptitude, troubleshooting abilities, and customer service skills.
  • Continue learning. Take advantage of on-the-job training. Learn new equipment and technologies to make yourself more valuable.
  • Watch the market. Research growing fields like green energy and e-commerce for plentiful openings.
  • Be a problem solver. In any role, focus on providing solutions and adding value rather than just performing tasks. This leads to promotions.
  • Manage money well. Budget wisely and invest surplus income so those $20+ hourly wages really pay off long-term.

The days of needing a four-year degree to earn good pay are gone. Whether you want to launch a hands-on trade career as an electrician or HVAC technician, provide important patient care as a nurse or dental hygienist, or enjoy travel perks as a pilot or driver, excellent options exist.

Choose something you‘re passionate about that offers stability and income growth potential. With hard work and smart moves, lucrative, fulfilling careers are possible without expensive college degrees.