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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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5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

Not being able to stay productive at work is a problem that everyone runs into at some point; no matter how much you like your job, there are certain factors that prevent you from staying at maximum proficiency throughout the whole day.

A lack of productive focus at work can lead to extra stress on yourself, missed deadlines, passed opportunities, raise denial, demotion and even termination.

So, if you are someone who has trouble with your productivity, here are five effective tips on how to be productive at work:

1. Take breaks

First and foremost, it’s important for you to take regular breaks. Trying to work throughout the whole day will tire your brain, which will then cause you to doze off and think about something else.

If you keep working your brain, it will fill up and get jumbled with information—sort of like a computer hard drive. Taking a break would be like resetting your computer so that it can start afresh, or de-fragmenting the data so that all the information is in order.

This is a great thing because it allows you to solve problems you were unable to solve previously, by seeing it differently; if you are able to organize your thoughts properly, you will be able to take in new information more easily.

There have even been studies about methods of saving time and staying proficient, and taking breaks is one of the leading factors.

According to Christine Hohlbaum, the author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World, eating lunch away from your work area every day will greatly increase your productivity. Eating in your work area will give you the illusion that you are working, but whether you like it or not, your brain will begin to wander and think of something else and then you will be working tirelessly with no progress.

It’s important to take breaks before and during work too: if you come to work in a rush because you woke up late, your mind will not be mentally prepared for the day ahead, and you will spend the first 10 to 15 minutes trying to get organized and composed before you can actually start working.

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Instead, you should try to wake up 20 minutes earlier than the time it would take you to “just get” to work. Take that time to stare off into space and not worry about anything.

If you do this, your brain will be empty and ready for all the challenges it has coming for the next few hours.

If your employer only allows a set amount of breaks during the workday, that doesn’t mean you can’t just get up and walk around for a quick break every now and then.

Even if it’s only 5 minutes, it will refresh your brain and you will gain renewed energy to do your job.

Learn more about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

2. Pace yourself and balance your workload

One problem that most people run into is that they underestimate the amount of work they have to do, and end up doing 50% of the work in the last 20% of the time they have to do it. This is due to an issue of balancing one’s workload.

When you receive a project, or are doing a job you normally do, take some time to really plan out your work schedule.

Consider how much time it took you to do this last time; determine how you can break the project into smaller parts and which can only be accomplished on certain days, and whether anything might come up that could interfere with your plan.

All of these questions are important for starting on a project, and when answered, they will help you stay productive throughout each day.

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For example, if you needed to design a project to map out the amount of aid offered in various regions after Hurricane Sandy, you can break it up as follows:

You will need to know what organizations are offering help to begin with, how much aid those organizations gave or plan to give, which regions were hit by Sandy, and which regions suffered the greatest losses.

You start this project on a Thursday and know you have until Tuesday to gather this information.

In order to stay productive, you need to plan out your work week—now you know you can find out which organizations are involved in helping the Hurricane Sandy Victims any day since that information is online, but gathering information on the organizations may require you to call them.

Since phone calls can only be done during week days, you have to plan on gathering all of that information before the weekend comes.

That is just one example of a situation in which pre-planning your project will help you stay productive; had you researched the affected regions first, you would not have received the info on the organizations until the weekend, and may have missed your chance to call them.

That, in turn, would have wasted time you could have spent working on this project to finish it.

Knowing what you need to do, when you can do it, and how long it will take you, is important in balancing your workload and being more productive and efficient.

3. Put your work first

This is an issue that usually occurs with young people who are new to the workforce: they’re often tempted with offers to go out at midday, and then come back lost in thought and unfocused on their work-related tasks.

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While it is important to take breaks, your breaks should consist of you clearing your mind, not loading it up with other less important information—like sports.

However, that is not the only situation where you need to worry about putting your work first before all else.

In a work environment, the senior employees will oftentimes push some of their menial tasks onto the newer employees. If you fall into that category, you need to know that their work is not your work, so if you have tasks that need to be done, you need to do it first.

If you are a new employee, you must learn to say no to other people even when it means you may not be in their good graces anymore. You can help others out once your work is done, but you are paid to do your own work, not anyone else’s.

4. Don’t open your browser unless you need them

In this day and age, everyone is constantly monitoring their social network. This is a major pain point for companies, which is why many don’t allow employees to access their social networks on company workstations.

When you are at work, disconnect the internet from your phone and keep your browsers closed so you’re not tempted to log onto your social media accounts or browse any sites that are not work-related.

If you keep your browsers closed and phone tucked away, only to be used in an emergency, you will find yourself being a more productive employee right away. 

5. Try to be happy and optimistic

If you always have a negative outlook on life, you will be more distracted and less motivated to get work done, so it’s important for you to start your day off right.

This can be done by having a good breakfast or by taking time in the morning to watch one of your favorite TV shows before work.

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If you are happy, you will find yourself able to work much more productively as your mind won’t wander into worrying about something else.

Also, if you stay optimistic and keep telling yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to, the tasks will seem much less daunting and will go by much more quickly.

Take a look at more effective ways to stay positive at work:

15 Ways To Stay Positive At Work

Happiness and optimism are the keys to being a productive and happy employee.

All in all, heed the five tips above and you will find yourself being one of the most productive people at your company.

While you do not need to master them all, each and every one of them will help you become a better and more efficient employee.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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