Five High-Paying Jobs You Don’t Need Degrees For

Five High-Paying Jobs You Don’t Need Degrees For
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Silicon Valley is full of college dropouts who became obscenely wealthy CEOs. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Mark Zuckerberg – the list goes on and on. Of course, most of these guys had genius and/or family wealth on their side. For average Joes, scoring a high-paying salary with no qualifications is tougher – but not impossible. Here are five jobs with potential salaries in the six figures that don’t require a degree.

If you’re currently stuck in one of the lowest paying jobs in Australia, it’s nigh time you reassessed your career choices. One option is to develop new skills at TAFE or university, but not everyone has the requisite time or disposable income to make this happen. Another option is to apply for an industry with a good career trajectory, where it’s possible to climb the ranks regardless of your tertiary education level.

Career FAQs recently put together a list of the highest-paying jobs you don’t need a degree for. Here are some of the highlights (all salary data comes from SEEK):

Crane, Hoist and Lift Operators (average salary: $83,040 per annum.)

Construction is considered “blue collar” work, but it’s actually the third highest earning industry in Australia, with crane and lift operators among the best paid labourers in the country. These people can earn up to $104,023 per year, with managers earning an average salary of $124,682. To become qualified, you’ll need to obtain a Licence to Perform High Risk Work and complete a crane operator traineeship.

Air Transport Professionals (average salary: $96,000 per annum.)

Becoming an air transport professional is certainly no walk in the park: you need to pass multiple examinations and clock at least 200 hours of flying experience just to get started. On the plus side, you can do this on weekends and you don’t need to attend university: instead, the industry is regulated by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and you can potentially earn up to $171,565 per annum. Just be aware that you’ll need to put down some serious cash to get trained up.

ICT Professionals (average salary: $99,945 per annum.)

If you’re a regular Lifehacker reader, you probably have more than a passing interest in information technology. The good news is that Information & Communications Technology (ICT) Professionals are among the highest paid in Australia – and you don’t necessarily need a degree to climb the ranks. As Career FAQs points out, success in this industry has more to do with your ability to learn on the job and creatively troubleshoot, rather than the number of degrees you have. While you will probably need to get some certifications under your belt, many of these can be completed at night and/or online.

Mining Professionals (average salary: $118,298 per annum.)

Miners have basically been keeping the Australian economy afloat over the past few years and they’ve been duly rewarded. A mining employee can earn an average salary of $118,298. Managers can earn well over $300k. As you’d expect from such a high-tech industry, many mining jobs do require tertiary qualifications. However, there are many entry-level positions available that start on a reasonably high salary with incremental pay bumps as you learn on the job.

Construction Manager (average salary: $123,504 per annum.)

A construction manager can earn upwards of $280k per year. The job involves seeing a construction project through from start to finish. While it helps to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Management, you can also work your way up on construction sites and earn certifications as you go.

It goes without saying that landing one of the jobs above requires a huge amount of dedication and hard work – arguably more than going to university. But if you’re wasting your youth packing boxes or slinging beef patties for a living, these are the industries you should be considering. You can check out more suggestions over at Career FAQs. Good luck!

The Five Worst Paying Jobs In Australia

Online employment marketplace Seek has revealed the highest and lowest paid jobs advertised on its website in the past 12 months. Those at the top are currently being offered annual salaries of over $137,000 while workers at the bottom can expect to take home around $44,000. But which jobs have the best and worst pay? Let's take a look.

Read more

[Via Career FAQs]

This story has been updated since its original publication.


  • It’s pretty obvious that you can get a “job” as an MP in Australia without a degree. Or any qualifications. Or any actual skills or talents at all.

    • I really can’t complain. Apparently in the US you can not only get away with lacking all that, you actually can get the highest available position while not having personable skills, human decency, emotional control or any kind of virtue at all.

  • Yeah, but that’s gotta be a horrible job. You become a public figure, the media hates on you, the public hates on you, you have to worth with dickhead politicians everyday and you have to bend over backwards to please those who fund your campaign. I reckon with all of this going on there’d be zero chance of being able to bring able meaningful change or get anything worthwhile done. Excellent pensions though.

    • When you earn $300,000+, and know you won’t be sacked even if you are incompetent, which most of them are, who cares what the public thinks, or who you work with?

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