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10 Easy High-Income Skills You Can Learn [without a College Education]

·11 min read

This post originally appeared on Arrest Your Debt and has been republished here with permission.

Most everyone will agree that doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc., are careers with high-income skills. But all of these require at least four years of college, if not more. Because these specialized skills need formal education, it's understandable why they demand a high income.

However, did you know there are skills you can learn to generate six figures without a formal education? Keep reading for a list of 20 valuable skills and how you train for them.

The Top 10 Best High-Income Skills

These skills are presented in no particular order. For each skill, the training involved and the business ideas where it could be utilized have been provided. There's also a "related skill" section to link skills together that appear on the list. Some are only loosely related, while others are tightly integrated.

1. Copywriting

Copywriting is a specialized form of writing that is intended to sell a product. There are examples of copywriting all over the web. If the words are designed to inform, then it's a form of copywriting. This is a very relevant skill and is related to many of the other skills listed here.

How You Can Learn This Skill

Some companies and organizations teach copywriting on the web. In fact, some of them even offer certifications for the skill, which are useful when starting as a novice copywriter.

How You Can Use This Skill

You can use this high income skill almost anywhere. Good copywriters are few and far between, and if you master this craft, you'll never have to worry about money again. Some copywriters make seven-figure incomes merely by getting a percentage of the sales that their copy generates. Your earning potential depends on the amount of time and effort you're willing to use on networking and writing content.

People can make decent money by listing their services on Fiverr and writing articles for bloggers.

2. Content Creation/Content Marketing

Content creation or content marketing is when you write informative content and sell the content itself or sell advertising on the site you've created content for. Content marketing is actually what many people think of, like blogging.

However, blogging is not a business. It's a means of attracting visitors to a site where you'll sell them something. If you blog without any kind of content marketing associated with it, you have a hobby of producing free content for the fun of it.

Besides creating content for an online company or blog, paid speakers are routinely compensated to present actionable information during conferences and events. Top-level experts in their field with real-life experience can make a substantial income by traveling to give their information in person.

How You Can Learn This Skill

If you have graduated from high school, you have the skill required to become a content creator or content marketer. You don't even have to have expertise in something to create content. You just need common sense and the ability to research any given topic.

There are also online companies that will provide specific training in content marketing from a business perspective, but the base skills are research and writing.

How You Can Use This Skill

If you can write compelling content that will bring people to your website to sell them ebooks, or advertising on your site, you're a content marketer. Note: this is closely linked to affiliate marketing, but the difference here is that the content you're selling is your work, not the work of others.

3. Online Course Creation

One of the hottest trends in online marketing these days is online course creation. This is where you create an online course and sell it to people who want to learn about what you know and how your knowledge can fix other people's problems. Of course, you have to have a related skill that you can teach, but this can be overcome with extensive research.

Have you taken an online course that you liked? Do you have personal experience to add to the content of the original course? Then you can emulate the course, making sure not to copy it, but to rewrite the material in your own words, based on your own experience with the topic.

Online courses offer a high opportunity, especially with the recent increase in online events. Even if existing resources exist on the internet for free, people will pay for the work you have done to curate and present the information in an easy to understand format.

There are several learning platforms and software that make course creation simple. The hardest part is the "expertise" piece, but even that can be overcome.

How You Can Learn This Skill

You can learn how to do course creation and increase your yearly income by following the tutorials on any learning platforms such as Udemy. Each specific platform has its method of doing course creation, and other software companies have course-builder software you can implement on a website.

How You Can Use This Skill

Once you learn how to use the various tools that allow you to create online courses, you can sell course creation services to those who have the expertise but do not have the technical skills to complete a course. If you have any skills as a video editor, you can quickly push yourself into the next income bracket with a substantially higher income.

4. Graphic Designer

Graphic designers create the visual elements of both online and offline advertisements. They're the logo creators, the banner designers, the artists that draw the cute characters that sell products. They should not be confused with web designers who can create websites. Graphic design requires some artistic talent. Graphic designers are great at helping small business owners creatively display their personal brand.

How You Can Learn This Skill

You can learn the principles of graphic design online or at your local community college or university. You don't have to complete a degree program to benefit from taking college-level classes in graphic design. If you have a high school diploma, you can learn design skills from many free online sources. There are also technical colleges that may offer programs in graphic design as well.

How You Can Use This Skill

Graphic design is a highly marketable skill. You could start as a freelancer or work for an ad agency, newspaper, or magazine. Anything that requires a visual element requires a graphic designer. There are multiple freelance sites where you can display your portfolio of work and land jobs.

5. Web Designer

In this context, a web designer creates websites using one of the website-builders such as WordPress, Wix, SquareSpace, or many others. They don't make custom CSS or JavaScript. That's included in the next skill, web development. Web design is tightly integrated with graphic design, but a web designer doesn't have to create their images. They can use someone else's work.

How You Can Learn This Skill

There are multiple online courses, and each individual website-building platform will usually have free tutorials on how to use their software. There may also be classes at your local community college available.

How You Can Use This Skill

This is another highly desirable freelance skill to have. You could also go to work for a large company and design their website. But you're unlikely to command the same salary that you could obtain by doing this as a freelancer.

The high earners in this field are usually freelancers who can charge a substantial rate due to the high value and rare skill sets they offer. Advanced networking through digital media and word of mouth can add credibility to the web design services provided.

6. Web Developer

Web developers are the technical gurus behind websites. They're versed in CSS, JavaScript, and other platforms like Joomla or Ruby on Rails. They can build a website without a website builder such as WordPress or Wix. This is a much more technical approach to websites than web design.

Companies such as Microsoft boast some of the highest median wage salaries for web developers in the corporate sector.

How You Can Learn This Skill

There are online classes that will teach you the technical skills encompassed by web development.

How You Can Use This Skill

Again, this is an excellent skill for freelancers. There are also jobs for web developers at most major companies as well. However, if you have the resume and work experience to back up freelance pricing, you can make even more as an independent contractor.

7. Software Developer

Software developers create apps. They can also contribute to web development by providing interfaces to back end databases and external applications. Of course, software development is relevant everywhere computers are used. Software developers are the people who bring ideas to life and command computers to do their bidding. Mobile app development is a niche in the software developer world.

How You Can Learn This Skill

You can teach yourself to program using online classes. This is the one skill on this list that might benefit from a formal college education, but many programmers are self-taught. There's even app-building software these days that can help you bring your app to life without knowing how to code.

More than likely, if you don't want to freelance, you'll need to take college classes in one or more programming languages such as Java, JavaScript, Python, etc. to learn app-building skills.CodeAcademy is another excellent resource to gain these tech skills and build a strong foundation.

How You Can Use This Skill

You can use this skill to build any app that you can think of, and then sell the app on an app store such as Apple or Google, or freelance as a coder for others who have ideas for applications. You can also work as a coder for companies like HP, Apple, etc., but most of these employers will require a college degree.

8. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketers use social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., to sell products and services. Typical clients include motivational speakers, life coaches, and other professionals who don't have the time to offer clear communication and networking through social media.

How You Can Learn This Skill

You can learn social media marketing skills by taking online tutorials on the various platforms you want to advertise. In addition, there are lots of online courses available on social media marketing as well to become a sales funnel expert.

How You Can Use This Skill

Social media marketers are in high demand by individuals and companies who want someone to manage their social media presence. Most social media marketers are freelancers, and they may have products or services of their own that they promote in addition to working for others. Although there may be some corporate jobs out there for this skill, most openings are designed for freelancers.

9. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is what most people think of when they consider making money online. Affiliate marketing occurs when you receive a commission for selling someone else's product or service online. Most people think of Amazon when they think of affiliate marketing, but platforms like eBay, Walmart, and many manufacturers also offer affiliate commissions to those who sell their products.

How You Can Learn This Skill

There are many course providers online that will teach you the ins and outs of affiliate marketing. Many of the affiliate programs themselves have tutorials on how to be a good affiliate.

How You Can Use This Skill

You use this high income skill to sell products and services on your website.

10. Digital Marketing

In this context, digital marketing is creating content that makes money through ad revenue. You're not selling anything in particular, but using the traffic to your website or YouTube channel to produce advertising revenue from Google or another ad network.

The digital content and information you can provide allows you to create an income without selling a physical property.

How You Can Learn This Skill

There are online courses related to digital marketing. This includes skills such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and other techniques to drive lots of visitors to your online platform so that you can generate money solely from advertising revenue.

How You Can Use This Skill

SEO experts are in high demand. You can work as a freelancer or work for a digital marketing agency. Usually, digital marketing requires expertise in one or more of its related skills, such as copywriting.