Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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+.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

More by this author

James Timpson

Marketeer

Why the Value of Creativity Is Decreasing 30 Things Only Entrepreneurs Would Understand 8 Ways to Boost Employee Well-Being + Workplace Performance 8 Creative Tips to Make Your Wedding Stand Out 5 Awesome Christmas Dinner Leftover Recipe Ideas

Trending in Career Advice

1 Clueless On Your Career? Sabbatical vs. Career Break 2 9 Tips for Starting a New Job and Succeeding in Your Career 3 10 Essential Career Change Questions To Ask Yourself This Year 4 10 Job Search Tools Every Jobseekers Need To Know About 5 If You Have This Key Behavior, You’ll Be More Successful Than 90% Of People

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

Advertising

  • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
  • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
  • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

Advertising

These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

For Changing a Job

  1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
  2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
  3. Get a raise.
  4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
  5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
  6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
  7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
  8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
  9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
  10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

For Switching Career Path

  1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
  4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
  5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
  6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
  7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
  8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
  9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
  10. Create a financial plan.

For Getting a Promotion

  1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
  2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
  3. Become a mentor.
  4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
  5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
  6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
  7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
  8. Become a better communicator.
  9. Find new ways to be a team player.
  10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

For Acing a Job Interview

  1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
  2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
  3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
  4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
  5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
  6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
  7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
  8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
  9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
  10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

Career Goal Setting FAQs

I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

Advertising

2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

4. Can I have several career goals?

It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

Advertising

On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

Summary

You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

  • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
  • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
  • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
  • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
  • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

More Tips About Setting Work Goals

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next