Even today, many people still consider university the best or only way to attain a well-paying job. Whilst this assumption still holds value, there are now a plethora of professions around that do not require a degree to get into and which allow you to achieve an above average to highly lucrative salary.
For some, the thought of getting into mountains of debt and delaying earning for on average 5-6 years (college + university), sometimes longer, is enough to put them off going to university. On average, graduates are now leaving with £44,000 of debt, which is a foreboding figure. For others, the opportunity of university could never have become a reality due to social, financial, criminal, or educational issues.
What we are providing in the list below are 12 completely different and varied professions which you do not formally need a degree to get into. Of course, having a degree will help; however, these careers look at more than just the ability to study and do well in exams.
For those with, perhaps, a less than perfect background — criminal records, health and educational issues, for example — we have also included a couple of professions where you can still earn above average salaries with a bit of hard work.
1. Truck Driver
Whilst hardly a glamorous job, becoming a Truck Driver means you get to travel all over the country, listen to your own music on the stereo and eat whenever you like. All you need for this is a full driving license and to pass an LGV and/or a HGV test and you could be earning a salary of up to £35,000 — much higher than the UK average of £26,500. Truck drivers are currently in short supply in the UK, so salaries could rise further, making this an ideal job for someone who may be struggling to reach the UK average otherwise.
2. Recruitment Consultant
The recruitment sector is a highly lucrative market, worth over £30 billion in the UK. You will need strong sales abilities, a good customer service attitude and sharp problem solving skills to flourish in this business. Intricate knowledge of a particular career sector is a bonus for top quality recruitment, with top earners taking in excess of £38,000 before (hefty) commission.
A career as a journalist can be as varied as any two people; it really depends on what you’re interested in. You could work in sports, politics, art, lifestyle or travel to name just a few. The main things you need to get started are good writing skills under deadline pressure, strong self-confidence and lots of enthusiasm. As a journalist at the top of your field you can expect to earn a minimum salary of £35,000, depending on what kind of publication you’re going for. You can do degrees in journalism, as with almost every industry nowadays, but it is far from a necessity.
4. Stone Mason
Stone Masonry is one the oldest crafts in the world, used to create iconic buildings such as the Egyptian Pyramids, Stonehenge, the Temples of Angkor and our beloved Houses of Parliament. No formal education is required; simply find a local college that is offering courses in Stone Masonry or Construction to learn the basics. Once you’ve worked your way up, you could be on £40,000 a year.
Working as a security officer is another job that requires nothing more than a good character and a relatively fit physique. You will need to be patient, polite, sensible, and be able to work well under stress. Small jobs aren’t particularly lucrative in terms of salary, but higher security jobs can earn you £40,000+.
6. Digital Marketing
SEO and PPC combine to make up what most people perceive to be digital marketing, with roles such as email and affiliate marketing also coming under the same banner. Each niche is different, with SEO’s aim being to help a website rank organically on a search engine results page, and PPC’s to give websites visibility online at a specific time and place (and cost). Whilst degrees in related fields — business and marketing, for example — can help, they are not always required, as much can be learnt on the job. Salaries start at junior levels; however, you can quickly rise to the mid thirty thousands within a few years, depending on location and how hard you work.
7. Police Constable
As a Police Officer you will learn more about people’s behaviour and what it is to be part of a community than you possibly could in any other job. You will need a clear head, a friendly attitude and good leadership skills, amongst many other attributes, but with those, you could be earning upwards of £41,000 a year.
8. Fire Fighter
Fire Fighters do everything from saving lives to educating and supporting local communities; the job is continually evolving and you will never be left uninspired. Good character and physical build are the most important attributes, for you’ll find these the most valuable tools for dealing with the situations that arise. A fully trained Fire Fighter can earn a minimum of £28,700, with that rising to £55,000 for Area Managers. The dangers of the job are self-explanatory.
9. Air Traffic Controller
Whilst you don’t need a degree to become an Air Traffic Controller, you will need some specific qualifications that will train you for the very particular job at hand. Don’t worry, though, just enter with some decent maths skills and some stolid reflexes and you should be set. The average wage for this highly valuable job is around £80,000.
10. Marketing and Sales Manager
For these kinds of roles you need to be very self-motivated and have the ability to motivate and inspire others. There will be plenty of on-the-job management training, but to get here make sure you’re learning everything there is to know about your industry and taking any opportunity for development you can get. For Senior Management roles you could earn over £50,000 a year.
11. Fashion Designer
Whilst the competition in the fashion world is fierce, experience and talent are more important than qualifications. Alexander McQueen, for instance, left formal education at the age of 16 with one O-level. Build up a good portfolio, market yourself well and plague fashion houses and companies with your enthusiasm, and, the world really could be your oyster.
12. Public Relations
To work in Public Relations you need to have excellent communication skills and the ability to influence people using a variety of media. The most powerful tools you can have are a shrewd character, strong communication skills, creativity and a good knowledge of all kinds of media. This job pays for what it brings, so if you are at the top of your game, earning your company good reputation, you could earn £100,000+.
Featured photo credit: Marius Boatca — CC A SA License via flickr.com