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Highest-paying jobs in Denver that don’t require a college degree


Flamingo Images // Shutterstock

Highest-paying jobs in Denver that don’t require a college degree

From the moment they first set foot on campus, today’s high-school students are inundated with messages about the importance of receiving a college education. They hear it from their guidance counselors, teachers, parents, family members, neighbors, coaches—the list goes on and on. While graduation from a four-year college can certainly work wonders for students’ future careers, it’s not necessary for all fields—something admissions officers and guidance counselors sometimes fail to mention.

To find the highest-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree, Stacker consulted the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook to compile a list of all jobs that don’t require higher education. All professions that listed a high-school diploma, some college education (without a degree conferred), postsecondary non-degree award, or no formal education requirements for entry-level positions were considered. Jobs that didn’t list any entry-level education requirement were excluded, as were job titles that grouped several positions together. Jobs are ranked by 2020 annual mean wage. Job descriptions are from O*NET.

Keep reading to discover the highest-paying jobs in Denver that don’t require a college degree.

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#50. Sound engineering technicians

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $61,810
– #8 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 70

National
– Annual mean salary: $67,210
– Employment: 10,870
– Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($89,500)
— New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($76,790)
— Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL ($71,740)
– Job description: Assemble and operate equipment to record, synchronize, mix, edit, or reproduce sound, including music, voices, or sound effects, for theater, video, film, television, podcasts, sporting events, and other productions.



Avatar_023 // Shutterstock

#49. Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $62,420
– #52 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 760

National
– Annual mean salary: $51,890
– Employment: 119,380
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($99,130)
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($89,730)
— Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($86,080)
– Job description: Operate or control an entire process or system of machines, often through the use of control boards, to transfer or treat water or wastewater.



Shift Drive // Shutterstock

#48. Computer user support specialists

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $62,950
– #28 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 9,520

National
– Annual mean salary: $57,000
– Employment: 634,820
– Entry level education requirements: Some college, no degree
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA ($86,350)
— Napa, CA ($78,740)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($78,670)
– Job description: Provide technical assistance to computer users. Answer questions or resolve computer problems for clients in person, via telephone, or electronically. May provide assistance concerning the use of computer hardware and software, including printing, installation, word processing, electronic mail, and operating systems.



rawpixel.com // Shutterstock

#47. Real estate brokers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $63,610
– #44 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 2,490

National
– Annual mean salary: $81,630
– Employment: 44,610
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($134,770)
— Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ ($129,820)
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($116,510)
– Job description: Operate real estate office, or work for commercial real estate firm, overseeing real estate transactions. Other duties usually include selling real estate or renting properties and arranging loans.



Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#46. Insurance sales agents

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $63,820
– #156 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 5,870

National
– Annual mean salary: $69,100
– Employment: 409,950
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($109,540)
— Birmingham-Hoover, AL ($105,840)
— Fond du Lac, WI ($105,190)
– Job description: Sell life, property, casualty, health, automotive, or other types of insurance. May refer clients to independent brokers, work as an independent broker, or be employed by an insurance company.

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Andrey_Popov // Shutterstock

#45. Private detectives and investigators

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $64,680
– #22 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 150

National
– Annual mean salary: $60,100
– Employment: 32,200
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($88,550)
— Fresno, CA ($79,220)
— Anchorage, AK ($77,960)
– Job description: Gather, analyze, compile, and report information regarding individuals or organizations to clients, or detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment.



ITisha // Shutterstock

#44. Bailiffs

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $66,010
– #6 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 110

National
– Annual mean salary: $51,730
– Employment: 18,120
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($72,570)
— Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN ($72,160)
— Providence-Warwick, RI-MA ($71,400)
– Job description: Maintain order in courts of law.



Wipas Rojjanakard // Shutterstock

#43. Occupational health and safety technicians

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $66,380
– #16 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 280

National
– Annual mean salary: $57,870
– Employment: 20,950
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($80,790)
— Knoxville, TN ($77,510)
— Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA ($76,950)
– Job description: Collect data on work environments for analysis by occupational health and safety specialists. Implement and conduct evaluation of programs designed to limit chemical, physical, biological, and ergonomic risks to workers.



Stealth Communications // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $66,830
– #55 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 2,630

National
– Annual mean salary: $61,980
– Employment: 190,510
– Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Elmira, NY ($94,280)
— Springfield, MA-CT ($92,920)
— Fairbanks, AK ($87,940)
– Job description: Install, set up, rearrange, or remove switching, distribution, routing, and dialing equipment used in central offices or headends. Service or repair telephone, cable television, Internet, and other communications equipment on customers’ property. May install communications equipment or communications wiring in buildings.



Pixabay

#41. Meter readers, utilities

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $67,170
– #7 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 150

National
– Annual mean salary: $46,160
– Employment: 26,490
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($84,560)
— Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($76,260)
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($71,420)
– Job description: Read meter and record consumption of electricity, gas, water, or steam.

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kittirat roekburi // Shutterstock

#39 (tie). Stationary engineers and boiler operators

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $67,660
– #28 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 390

National
– Annual mean salary: $68,170
– Employment: 29,550
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($106,910)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($104,970)
— Springfield, IL ($102,660)
– Job description: Operate or maintain stationary engines, boilers, or other mechanical equipment to provide utilities for buildings or industrial processes. Operate equipment such as steam engines, generators, motors, turbines, and steam boilers.



GaudiLab // Shutterstock

#39 (tie). First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $67,660
– #17 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 13,030

National
– Annual mean salary: $62,010
– Employment: 1,427,260
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Bremerton-Silverdale, WA ($78,770)
— Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($77,030)
— New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($75,820)
– Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate the activities of clerical and administrative support workers.



Pressmaster // Shutterstock

#38. Title examiners, abstractors, and searchers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $68,060
– #7 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 780

National
– Annual mean salary: $52,950
– Employment: 54,960
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Salem, OR ($73,530)
— Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX ($71,970)
— Greeley, CO ($71,560)
– Job description: Search real estate records, examine titles, or summarize pertinent legal or insurance documents or details for a variety of purposes. May compile lists of mortgages, contracts, and other instruments pertaining to titles by searching public and private records for law firms, real estate agencies, or title insurance companies.



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#37. Court reporters and simultaneous captioners

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $68,520
– #17 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 120

National
– Annual mean salary: $66,710
– Employment: 13,880
– Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($118,300)
— Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA ($109,600)
— Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX ($92,150)
– Job description: Use verbatim methods and equipment to capture, store, retrieve, and transcribe pretrial and trial proceedings or other information. Includes stenocaptioners who operate computerized stenographic captioning equipment to provide captions of live or prerecorded broadcasts for hearing-impaired viewers.



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#36. Gas compressor and gas pumping station operators

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $69,590
– #4 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 30

National
– Annual mean salary: $63,770
– Employment: 3,800
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN ($77,930)
— New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($77,520)
— Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($72,560)
– Job description: Operate steam-, gas-, electric motor-, or internal combustion-engine driven compressors. Transmit, compress, or recover gases, such as butane, nitrogen, hydrogen, and natural gas.

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#35. Skincare specialists

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $69,790
– #3 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 590

National
– Annual mean salary: $41,230
– Employment: 46,640
– Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Olympia-Tumwater, WA ($117,340)
— Waterbury, CT ($83,930)
— Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO ($69,790)
– Job description: Provide skincare treatments to face and body to enhance an individual’s appearance. Includes electrologists and laser hair removal specialists.



Oleg Golovnev // Shutterstock

#34. First-line supervisors of production and operating workers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $70,620
– #87 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 3,650

National
– Annual mean salary: $66,800
– Employment: 599,900
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Baton Rouge, LA ($101,930)
— Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX ($100,590)
— Longview, WA ($99,590)
– Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate the activities of production and operating workers, such as inspectors, precision workers, machine setters and operators, assemblers, fabricators, and plant and system operators. Excludes team or work leaders.



Olena Yakobchuk // Shutterstock

#33. Airfield operations specialists

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $71,240
– #7 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 60

National
– Annual mean salary: $58,360
– Employment: 10,590
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA ($80,910)
— New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($77,920)
— Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($77,840)
– Job description: Ensure the safe takeoff and landing of commercial and military aircraft. Duties include coordination between air-traffic control and maintenance personnel, dispatching, using airfield landing and navigational aids, implementing airfield safety procedures, monitoring and maintaining flight records, and applying knowledge of weather information.



Jacob Lund // Shutterstock

#32. Advertising sales agents

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $71,770
– #25 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 840

National
– Annual mean salary: $68,040
– Employment: 110,040
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($112,850)
— Winston-Salem, NC ($104,930)
— New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($92,370)
– Job description: Sell or solicit advertising space, time, or media in publications, signage, TV, radio, or Internet establishments or public spaces.



Unsplash

#31. Tax preparers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $71,990
– #4 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 560

National
– Annual mean salary: $52,710
– Employment: 62,600
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($99,160)
— College Station-Bryan, TX ($80,580)
— Anchorage, AK ($78,470)
– Job description: Prepare tax returns for individuals or small businesses.

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Daniel Tausis // Unsplash

#30. Firefighters

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $73,760
– #16 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 2,360

National
– Annual mean salary: $56,360
– Employment: 311,350
– Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($125,680)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($109,480)
— Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($105,670)
– Job description: Control and extinguish fires or respond to emergency situations where life, property, or the environment is at risk. Duties may include fire prevention, emergency medical service, hazardous material response, search and rescue, and disaster assistance.



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#29. Construction and building inspectors

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $75,550
– #31 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 2,050

National
– Annual mean salary: $66,470
– Employment: 113,770
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($103,820)
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($102,920)
— Salinas, CA ($98,360)
– Job description: Inspect structures using engineering skills to determine structural soundness and compliance with specifications, building codes, and other regulations. Inspections may be general in nature or may be limited to a specific area, such as electrical systems or plumbing.



sculpies // Shutterstock

#28. First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $76,750
– #74 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 9,730

National
– Annual mean salary: $72,990
– Employment: 614,080
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($107,870)
— Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA ($103,930)
— Santa Rosa, CA ($100,620)
– Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate activities of construction or extraction workers.



Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#27. Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $77,020
– #41 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 3,650

National
– Annual mean salary: $70,650
– Employment: 287,150
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($97,980)
— Waterbury, CT ($92,160)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($88,750)
– Job description: Review settled claims to determine that payments and settlements are made in accordance with company practices and procedures. Confer with legal counsel on claims requiring litigation. May also settle insurance claims.



Christian Lagerek // Shutterstock

#26. Gas plant operators

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $77,230
– #9 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 140

National
– Annual mean salary: $73,290
– Employment: 14,990
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($98,230)
— Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($97,370)
— New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($92,160)
– Job description: Distribute or process gas for utility companies and others by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines.

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4 PM production // Shutterstock

#25. First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $77,720
– #68 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 5,820

National
– Annual mean salary: $73,100
– Employment: 475,000
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($95,680)
— Bremerton-Silverdale, WA ($93,140)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($92,810)
– Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate the activities of mechanics, installers, and repairers. May also advise customers on recommended services. Excludes team or work leaders.



ded pixto // Shutterstock

#24. Wellhead pumpers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $79,020
– #1 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 320

National
– Annual mean salary: $60,500
– Employment: 12,050
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO ($79,020)
— Austin-Round Rock, TX ($75,580)
— Greeley, CO ($74,100)
– Job description: Operate power pumps and auxiliary equipment to produce flow of oil or gas from wells in oil field.



Ken Wolter // Shutterstock

#23. Postmasters and mail superintendents

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $80,110
– #47 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 40

National
– Annual mean salary: $79,660
– Employment: 13,880
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ ($96,130)
— Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL ($95,920)
— San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($92,630)
– Job description: Plan, direct, or coordinate operational, administrative, management, and support services of a U.S. post office; or coordinate activities of workers engaged in postal and related work in assigned post office.



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#22. Fire inspectors and investigators

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $80,600
– #9 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 40

National
– Annual mean salary: $67,680
– Employment: 14,010
– Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($129,790)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($123,610)
— Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA ($102,370)
– Job description: Inspect buildings to detect fire hazards and enforce local ordinances and state laws, or investigate and gather facts to determine cause of fires and explosions.



Luisa Leal Photography // Shutterstock

#21. Electrical power-line installers and repairers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $82,080
– #68 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 1,020

National
– Annual mean salary: $74,410
– Employment: 114,930
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($114,820)
— Redding, CA ($112,850)
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($111,810)
– Job description: Install or repair cables or wires used in electrical power or distribution systems. May erect poles and light or heavy duty transmission towers.

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Rebekah Zemansky // Shutterstock

#20. First-line supervisors of correctional officers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $82,540
– #30 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: data not available

National
– Annual mean salary: $67,600
– Employment: 53,420
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA ($115,020)
— Trenton, NJ ($113,630)
— New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($113,070)
– Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate activities of correctional officers and jailers.



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#19. Transportation inspectors

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $83,970
– #38 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 320

National
– Annual mean salary: $81,320
– Employment: 27,360
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Portland-South Portland, ME ($119,270)
— Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($117,900)
— Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA ($104,370)
– Job description: Inspect equipment or goods in connection with the safe transport of cargo or people. Includes rail transportation inspectors, such as freight inspectors, rail inspectors, and other inspectors of transportation vehicles not elsewhere classified.



Tim Goode/PA Images // Getty Images

#18. Sales representatives of services, except advertising, insurance, financial services, and travel

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $84,710
– #14 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 21,020

National
– Annual mean salary: $70,490
– Employment: 977,070
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($115,620)
— Lawrence, KS ($97,910)
— Boulder, CO ($94,870)
– Job description: Sell services to individuals or businesses. May describe options or resolve client problems.



Stock Rocket // Shutterstock

#17. Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, except technical and scientific products

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $85,920
– #17 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 19,340

National
– Annual mean salary: $73,500
– Employment: 1,278,670
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Danbury, CT ($112,810)
— Napa, CA ($101,850)
— Santa Fe, NM ($93,680)
– Job description: Sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses or groups of individuals. Work requires substantial knowledge of items sold.



Lovely Bird // Shutterstock

#16. Power distributors and dispatchers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $85,930
– #19 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 110

National
– Annual mean salary: $93,260
– Employment: 9,940
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA ($141,200)
— Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($126,870)
— Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA ($120,200)
– Job description: Coordinate, regulate, or distribute electricity or steam.

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#15. Rotary drill operators, oil and gas

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $87,290
– #2 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 120

National
– Annual mean salary: $58,940
– Employment: 15,650
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Anchorage, AK ($94,610)
— Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO ($87,290)
— Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($81,210)
– Job description: Set up or operate a variety of drills to remove underground oil and gas, or remove core samples for testing during oil and gas exploration.



michaeljung // Shutterstock

#14. Power plant operators

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $87,390
– #27 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 150

National
– Annual mean salary: $81,890
– Employment: 32,960
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA ($114,420)
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($107,830)
— Redding, CA ($106,030)
– Job description: Control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power. Includes auxiliary equipment operators.



Pandu Agus Wismoyo // Unsplash

#13. Aircraft mechanics and service technicians

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $87,830
– #3 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 1,150

National
– Annual mean salary: $69,040
– Employment: 128,300
– Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
– Metros with highest average pay:
— McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX ($95,680)
— Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($89,710)
— Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO ($87,830)
– Job description: Diagnose, adjust, repair, or overhaul aircraft engines and assemblies, such as hydraulic and pneumatic systems.



goodluz // Shutterstock

#12. Real estate sales agents

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $90,220
– #8 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 2,670

National
– Annual mean salary: $62,990
– Employment: 168,740
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Salinas, CA ($106,280)
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($101,300)
— New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($98,580)
– Job description: Rent, buy, or sell property for clients. Perform duties such as study property listings, interview prospective clients, accompany clients to property site, discuss conditions of sale, and draw up real estate contracts. Includes agents who represent buyer.



Canva

#11. Elevator and escalator installers and repairers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $91,690
– #14 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 640

National
– Annual mean salary: $86,200
– Employment: 24,730
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($109,710)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($105,080)
— Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ($101,990)
– Job description: Assemble, install, repair, or maintain electric or hydraulic freight or passenger elevators, escalators, or dumbwaiters.

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Oil and Gas Photographer // Shutterstock

#10. Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $92,160
– #4 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 360

National
– Annual mean salary: $77,610
– Employment: 40,480
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($96,510)
— Billings, MT ($95,130)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($92,800)
– Job description: Operate or control petroleum refining or processing units. May specialize in controlling manifold and pumping systems, gauging or testing oil in storage tanks, or regulating the flow of oil into pipelines.



Suwin // Shutterstock

#9. Electrical and electronics repairers, powerhouse, substation, and relay

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $93,950
– #16 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 170

National
– Annual mean salary: $83,150
– Employment: 23,070
– Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($113,410)
— San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($111,660)
— Anchorage, AK ($111,470)
– Job description: Inspect, test, repair, or maintain electrical equipment in generating stations, substations, and in-service relays.



Prath // Shutterstock

#8. Detectives and criminal investigators

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $99,550
– #32 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 1,160

National
– Annual mean salary: $89,300
– Employment: 105,980
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($127,380)
— Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($127,090)
— Anchorage, AK ($126,530)
– Job description: Conduct investigations related to suspected violations of federal, state, or local laws to prevent or solve crimes.



Leszek Glasner // Shutterstock

#7. Property, real estate, and community association managers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $104,140
– #7 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 930

National
– Annual mean salary: $73,210
– Employment: 219,800
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Charleston-North Charleston, SC ($117,770)
— New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($113,800)
— Boulder, CO ($107,230)
– Job description: Plan, direct, or coordinate the selling, buying, leasing, or governance activities of commercial, industrial, or residential real estate properties. Includes managers of homeowner and condominium associations, rented or leased housing units, buildings, or land (including rights-of-way).



U.S. Air Force

#6. First-line supervisors of firefighting and prevention workers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $104,180
– #21 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 610

National
– Annual mean salary: $83,170
– Employment: 69,000
– Entry level education requirements: Postsecondary nondegree award
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($187,890)
— Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($181,340)
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($176,050)
– Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate activities of workers engaged in firefighting and fire prevention and control.

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g-stockstudio // Shutterstock

#5. First-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $108,810
– #12 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 4,490

National
– Annual mean salary: $90,120
– Employment: 240,290
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN ($124,150)
— Durham-Chapel Hill, NC ($122,460)
— Leominster-Gardner, MA ($119,130)
– Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate activities of sales workers other than retail sales workers. May perform duties such as budgeting, accounting, and personnel work, in addition to supervisory duties.



Canva

#4. First-line supervisors of police and detectives

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $120,010
– #29 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 770

National
– Annual mean salary: $97,180
– Employment: 122,310
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($200,090)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($182,810)
— Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($182,720)
– Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate activities of members of police force.



Skycolors // Shutterstock

#3. Commercial pilots

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $121,230
– #18 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 400

National
– Annual mean salary: $110,830
– Employment: 37,120
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Sioux City, IA-NE-SD ($153,990)
— Medford, OR ($152,730)
— Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA ($152,290)
– Job description: Pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing aircraft on nonscheduled air carrier routes, or helicopters. Requires Commercial Pilot certificate. Includes charter pilots with similar certification, and air ambulance and air tour pilots. Excludes regional, national, and international airline pilots.



Kelly Ogden // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Transportation, storage, and distribution managers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $129,530
– #11 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 880

National
– Annual mean salary: $105,100
– Employment: 132,210
– Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($163,580)
— Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($137,680)
— Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ ($136,410)
– Job description: Plan, direct, or coordinate transportation, storage, or distribution activities in accordance with organizational policies and applicable government laws or regulations. Includes logistics managers.



Unsplash

#1. Athletes and sports competitors

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $182,290
– #2 highest pay among all metros
– Employment: 230

National
– Annual mean salary: $94,740
– Employment: 8,380
– Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
– Metros with highest average pay:
— New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($197,690)
— Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO ($182,290)
— Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX ($102,400)
– Job description: Compete in athletic events.

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