Career Paths

10 Highest Paying Jobs You Can Get Without Going To Uni

words by Year13 | photo by @marlee_harrison

It’s a common misconception that going to uni and getting a degree is the only way to guarantee yourself a good income. The truth is, there are definitely ways to earn some good money without a degree.

Of the highest paid jobs that don’t require a degree, many of the top spots- and the highest paying job- are roles in the construction industry or trades in general which will probably make you re-think the whole going to uni thing.

On top of being able to earn a lot more than you probably expected, going down the VET pathway means being able to avoid a massive debt before you even start your career- which gives you a solid head-start on uni grads.

Our mates over at CSQ know all about how good working the construction industry can be and if you want to find out more just head here.

1. Construction Manager–average salary $115,166

While this one varies depending on your trade,  according to sites like PayScale the average pay for construction managers sits around the $115K+ mark but can get even higher the more experience you get under your belt.

Construction managers plan and direct the construction of civil engineering projects, buildings, and dwellings, as well as coordinating the resources involved in the construction.

You can get into this role with a bachelor’s degree, but experience is still necessary. In reality, the highest education level held by many construction managers is a Certificate III or IV.

There are a number of courses eligible for funding through our mates at Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ) that will help you land this job, such as a Certificate IV or Diploma of Building and Construction (Building), as well as a range of short courses to fill any skills gaps.

2. Maintenance Manager–average salary $110,030

This role is responsible for the upkeep and repair of buildings, machines, mechanical systems and other equipment. They also manage staff and safety procedures.

Maintenance managers generally require lots of technical on-the-job experience, as well as management skills. Networking will help you get to where you want, as will some formal education. One course eligible for funding through the CSQ is a Certificate III in Civil Construction.

3. Farm Manager–average salary $92,588

They are responsible for all operational matters involved in running a farm, such as staffing, admin, machinery, crops, and livestock.

Working as a farm manager is achievable without formal education, though there are VET courses that will help you along. Practical experience is valued in this field, and this can be gained through work experience programs and working your way up from lower positions.

4. Electrician–average salary $84,311

These workers are responsible for the installation, maintenance, and repair of electrical equipment and systems.

Like construction workers, electricians are in demand and the best way to get into this role is through an apprenticeship.

5. Senior Care Worker–average salary $82,976

They look after the elderly, disabled, and those that are mentally and physically ill, as well as supervising and managing staff.

There are a few different VET courses you can study to get started in the field, such as a Certificate III in Aged Care. Further qualifications and experience will help you progress to senior roles.

6. Pilot–average salary $78,473

They fly planes for commercial and private purposes.

The most common way to become a pilot is by studying a degree, but other pathways include cadetship programs from airlines, private training, or programs from the Australian Air Force.

7. Executive Assistant–average salary $74,838

This role involves working as an assistant to a high-level executive of a company, undertaking a range of administrative tasks and communicating with clients.

Formal qualifications aren’t required to become an executive assistant, though there are VET courses that can help you get a foot in the door, such as Certificate III in Business Administration.

8. Sales Executive–average salary $72,933

Money is their language and sales is what they speak, facilitating business between companies and clients.

This is one of those jobs where skill and experience takes precedence over formal qualifications, though many still get themselves a degree in business or marketing to give themselves a leg up.

9. Roofer–average salary $73,394

Roofers construct and repair roofs, specialising in metal roofs, tiling, or both. They also work with scaffolding, waterproofing, and protective paint layers.

CSQ can help you get started with an apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship program, as this is the best way to start your career as a roofer.

10. Car Sales Executive–average salary $72,612

They sell cars, and they’re good at it.

On the job experience is the most important thing here, so get an entry level position and work your way up.