Americans are wallowing in a sea of student loan debt – about $1.42 trillion, in fact. The class of 2016 graduated with an average student loan burden of more than $37,000, and many of those recent graduates will be repaying that debt for 10 years or more. That kind of debt can have real consequences down the road, even affecting your ability to qualify for a home mortgage. (See also: 10 Tips for Managing Your Student Loan Debt.)

So if you're ready to start your career (or make a change from your current job) and you don't want to spend a lot of time and money on school, here are six high-paying jobs for you to explore. (See also: When Saving for College Is a Bad Idea.)

1. Police Officer

Although many police officers do have college degrees, the minimum educational requirement is a high school diploma. The recruiting process is fairly competitive, and once you're hired, you'll probably have to attend police academy training. There are also opportunities for advancement into detective and criminal investigator ranks, where salaries can hit six digits in some locations. (See also: 8 College Degrees With the Best Return on Investment.)

Median annual salary: $67,000.

Expected job growth over the next decade: 4 percent

2. Commercial Pilot

Most major airlines require pilots to have a college degree, but you can fly charters and work for smaller companies as a cargo pilot, a tour pilot or a ferry pilot – there are lots of options – without a degree. You'll need to pass a written Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) exam and get a medical certificate as well as complete 250 hours of flight time to earn your license. (See also: Top 4 Airlines to Work for in 2017.)

Median annual salary: $75,000 (airline captains earn about $120,000).

Expected job growth over the next decade: 9.4 percent

3. Gaming Manager

If you love the glitter and thrill of casino gaming, you may enjoy a career as a gaming manager. You don't even need to move to Vegas to get in on the action, although you can if you want. Gaming managers are usually moved up from the ranks after a couple years of on-the-job training in a casino, but no formal education is required beyond a high school diploma. The gaming industry employs about 1.7 million people in the U.S. and is continuing to grow. (See also: A Future Shift in the Las Vegas Casino Industry.)

Median annual salary: $66,000

Expected job growth over the next decade: 7.5 percent

4. Electrical Powerline Installer and Repairer

You need to be pretty fearless to work as a powerline installer – these are the workers who are called to fix downed lines after a storm or other disaster. You don't need a college degree, but you do need to have some advanced math (algebra and trigonometry) to pass the recruiting process. From there, your employer will put you through an extensive training program. (See also: 10 Highest-Paying Blue-Collar Jobs.)

Median annual salary: $64,170

Expected job growth over the next decade: 9 percent

5. Elevator Installer and Repairer

Find a good apprenticeship program, and you're on your way to a six-figure income in many locations. You don't need a degree to get in, but you do need competency in advanced math. Paid apprenticeships usually take about five years and cover things like electrical theory, physics and technical specs. Once you're done, you'll need to get a license (some may require an exam) in order to work. (See also: Employability, the Labor Force and the Economy.)

Median annual salary: $79,000

Expected job growth over the next decade: 24 percent

6. Transportation Inspector

Planes, trains, ships, and subways all need transportation inspectors to keep people and cargo moving safely. If you live in certain high-freight areas (think Texas and the coasts), demand for transportation inspectors is growing by upwards of 20 percent. You don't need a college degree to do the job, but you will need to complete some fairly extensive on-the-job training. (See also: Global Transportation: 3 Key Industry Players.)

Median annual salary: $71,150 (it jumps to six figures in some states)

Expected job growth over the next decade: 11.2 percent

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