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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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James Timpson

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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