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12 of the best paid (realistic) careers that don’t require a degree

12 of the best paid (realistic) careers that don’t require a degree

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.

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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.

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3. Journalist

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.

5. Security

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+.

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

Physical Signs

Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

Mental Signs

One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

  • The tension in your neck
  • Difficulties with sleeping
  • Unable to concentrate
  • High anxiety
  • Depression

If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

Desire for an Increase of Salary

The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

Overnight Decision

Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

Rejected for a Promotion

I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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Bored at Work

Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

  • How long have you worked in your career?
  • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
  • Do you receive recognition?
  • Can you consider working in a new department?

If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

  • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
  • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
  • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

How to Make a Career Change Successfully

The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

1. Write a Career Plan

A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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You can learn how to set your career plan here.

2. Weigh Your Options

If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

  • Economic factors
  • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
  • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
  • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
  • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

    A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

    4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

    A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

    • What is required to be successful in the role?
    • What certification or educational development is needed?
    • What are the challenges of the role?
    • Is there potential for career advancement?

    A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

    Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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    5. Research Salary

    Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

    It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

    6. Be Realistic

    If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

    For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

    Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

    7. Volunteer First

    A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

    Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

    Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

    8. Prepare Your Career Tools

    I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

    • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
    • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
    • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
    • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

    Bottom Line

    It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

    Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

    More About Career Change

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
    [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
    [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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