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We at Year13 are big advocates for following your own path, and as many of you have not and will not go to University, here are some unconventional ways into high-paying jobs.

None of these high-income jobs will have you burying your head in a book in a university library but unfortunately, not all things in life come that easy! For most you’ll still need to study at TAFE or another educational institution, but for a few you may not need to put pen to paper at all.

We have searched far and wide, including Government Statistics, financial experts and much more to ensure you know and can pursue the highest paying jobs going around.

From the world of aviation to the funeral industry there will be some jobs that surprise you, but if any of these potential employment paths get you excited, Year13 is here to help you get started. 

 1. Air Traffic Controller

Average Pay: Air Traffic Controllers earn $118, 000 a year.

Qualification Required: The most common level of educational attainment is an Advanced Diploma in Aviation, which you can study once you have completed your Certificate IV and Diploma. The Advanced Diploma is a theory course with almost no flying involved, which includes seven subjects that you will complete, along with seven exams. When you pass these exams, you will have a ‘frozen’ Airline Transport Pilots Licence.

Projected Job Openings: Employment for Air Transport Professionals rose strongly in the past five years and is expected to remain fairly steady.

Description: The Department of Education’s Job Guide says that Air Traffic Controllers are responsible for the safe and orderly flow of aircraft in to, out of and between airports in Australia, while also working with overseas regions adjoining Australian airspace.

2. Human Resources and Recruitment Professional

Average Pay: The average maximum annual salary for a Human Resources and Recruitment Professional is $88,282.

Qualification Required: Diploma of Human Resources Management. You will need to have already completed a Certificate IV in Human Resources, or similar qualifications.

Projected Job Openings: Over the next 4 years, Human Resources and Management jobs are expected to have an above average (between 25,001 and 50,000) number of job openings.

Description: Working in human resources, you will plan, develop, implement and evaluate staff recruitment, assist in resolving disputes between employees, and represent industrial, commercial, union, employer and other parties in negotiations on different issues. 

3. Offshore Oil Platform Foreman

Average Pay: The average full-time earnings for Other Construction and Mining Labourers is $1,550 per week

Qualification Required: Certificate II in Drilling Oil/Gas (Off Shore)

Projected Job Openings: Over the next 5 years there are expected projected job openings will be below average. There were 8,592 persons employed as Other Construction and Mining Labourers in 2013.

Description: ExxonMobil says that they have up to 300 personnel and contractors living and working offshore at any one time. Their platforms operate 24 hours a day with crew working 12 hour shifts on a 1-week-on and 1-week-off roster.

You would work under close supervision assisting with simple maintenance, deck procedures, rig floor operations and preparation and operation of drilling fluid systems.

4. Mining Field Assistant

Average Pay: Average full-time earnings before tax for Other Construction and Mining Labourers are $1,550 a week.

Qualification Required: Certificate II in Mining/Field Exploration, which are only available in Western Australia.

Projected Job Openings: Job openings over the next 5 years are expected to be between 5,001 and 10,000.

Description: Field Assistants or Fieldworkers carry out on-site work to find and develop sources of metals and minerals. Providing support to a mining exploration team, you will navigate remote areas and move equipment and instruments. 

5. Funeral Service Manager

Average pay: Funeral Service Managers are paid $79,930 a year

Qualification Required: The Australian Funeral Directors Association tells us that you do not need any formal qualifications to work within the funeral industry, however studying can help build your skills and career options. Through the National Funeral Services Training Package you could gain a

  • Certificate II in Funeral Operations
  • Certificate III in Cemetery and Crematorium Operations
  • Certificate III in Grave digging, Grounds and Maintenance
  • Certificate IV in Funeral Services
  • Certificate IV in Embalming or a Diploma of Mortuary Management

 Projected Job Openings: While employment in the funeral industry has declined over the past 5 years, it is expected to grow very strongly through 2017.

Description: A funeral director plans, directs and coordinates the services or resources of funeral homes, including determining pricing for services and managing the workings of funeral homes.

 6. Stockbroker

Average Pay: A stockbroker on average earns $65,000 a year (we all know that this can be a lot more!)

Qualification Required: Complete the Professional Stockbrokers Program under the Stockbrokers Association of Australia and you will receive the Stockbrokers Association of Australia Professional Diploma in Stockbroking.

Projected Job Openings: Employment for stockbrokers has decreased by 20% over the past five years but it expected to grow very strongly through 2017.

Description: Stockbrokers are in the know on the financial progress of companies, and give advice to clients on if it’s a good or bad idea to invest in a company. As a stockbroker you can work for individuals, under a company or with other financial dealers.

 7. Car Salesman 

Average Pay: According to Payscale, the median pay for a car salesman with 5-10 years experience is around $65,000 a year.

Qualification Required: No educational requirements! But you will need to be a quick learner, have fantastic people skills, be persistent and have loads of emotional intelligence.

Description: A car salesman sells automobiles by understanding and demonstrating their characteristics, capabilities, and features, as well as comparing and contrasting competitive models. You will need to develop and maintain rapport with previous customers and close sales by overcoming objections.

Projected Job Openings: Employment for car salespersons has risen by 22.9% over the past five years and is expected to grow very strongly through 2017.

8. Executive Assistant

Average Pay: An Executive Assistant earns an average salary of $62,984 a year. For the first five to ten years in this position, pay can increase somewhat, but any additional experience does not have a big effect on pay.

Qualification Required: None, but Executive Assistants are usually hired after years of assistant or secretarial experience.

Description: You will work with high-level executives at a company to provide top-level experience. This includes being trusted with complex duties, handling incoming and outgoing communication, and filing and administrative work. You may oversee other staff.

Common Career Paths: An Executive Assistant can move to an Office Manager or Human Resources Manager role, which opens numerous career opportunities including being a General/Operations Manager, Bookkeeper, Finance and Administration Manager, Business Office Manager, Payroll Officer or a Customer Service Manager.

 9. Real Estate Agent

Average Pay: The median annual salary for a Real Estate Agent is $45,301 a year but is largely commission based. So if you can talk the talk, you can really make come cash!

Qualification Required: With a Certificate IV in Property Services (Real Estate) from TAFE you will be a nationally recognised and qualified to apply for a Real Estate Agent License (NSW & QLD) and a Certificate of Registration (NSW, QLD & SA). For more information: Year13 Real Estate

Projected Job Openings: Over the next four years, the number of job openings in Real Estate is expected to be above average, after rising moderately over the past six years.


Real estate is all about property. You’ll be making residential, commercial or industrial deals for clients, with the aim of making those sales as profitable as possible.

10. Soldier or General Service Officer with the Australian Army

Average Pay: $38,422 – $43,224 a year for soldiers; $39,131 to $44,348 a year for general service officers. While training, soldiers are paid on average $33,619 per year, and this salary will continue to increase based on competency level, rank and years of service. Soldiers are also entitled to a Service Allowance of $12,431 per year and a Uniform Allowance of up to $682 per year, among others.

Qualification Required: All soldiers in the Army complete Basic Training at the Army Recruit Training Centre at Kapooka (located near Wagga Wagga) in New South Wales. Full-time soldiers have 80 days of training and part-time soldiers have 28 days of training.

In order to be a Lieutenant you can take the 18-month General Service Officer course at the Royal Military College, which will allow you to command a team of soldiers.

The Army has roles that don’t require experience or qualifications, such as Other Ranks (Technical) where you must have finished Year 10 with passes in English, Maths, Science and one other subject.

Description: You’ll be a part of the Australian Army, which is Australia’s military land force and is part of the Australian Defence Force. A soldier will be an expert in close combat, will possess leadership skills, be physically and mentally strong, work in a team and demonstrate compassion.

Data Sources:


Yahoo Finance

My Skills | Australian Government Department of Industry

Payscale | Data & Career Research Center

Australian Salary Guide & Market Report 2012-2013, Greythorn