Highest paid jobs that don't require a degree (Part 1)

There are so many jobs out there where you don’t need a degree that we’ve had to split our article into 3 parts! With the opportunity to earn big bucks without having student loan debt, we think that sounds pretty fantastic.

Nearing the end of your years in compulsory education and unsure where to turn next? Does it feel like everyone’s telling you that if your plan isn’t university, then there is no plan? Or maybe you’re looking to change careers, but you’re unsure you’ve got the qualifications to start something new?

Well we’ve got a blog post packed full of potential career paths that say otherwise. In fact, there’s so many jobs out there where you don’t need a degree that we’ve had to split this article into 3 parts! And with the opportunity to earn big bucks without having student loan debt, we think that sounds pretty fantastic.

Read on for Part 1 of our highest-paid jobs that don’t require a degree.


You might think that studying journalism or English at university is the only route to becoming a journalist, but we’ve got news for you: even the journalism graduates are having trouble getting a job in the industry once they come out of university. Jamie Lewis writes for the International Business Times and blogs for the Huffington Post. Does he have a degree? Nope. It was actually his blogging passion and initiative to create a news platform for students that helped get him his first break in the industry (read more here). And ITN’s Jon Snow? Never finished his law degree.

What kind of salary could I get as a journalist? Journalists earn on average £30,000 a year


If you love the idea of serving for your country, you might like the idea even more if you knew that regular soldiers are paid as soon as they start their Phase 1 training, earning at least £18,035 a year in the beginning, with this figure rising each year with inflation. Make it to Corporal by the end of your first 5 years, and you could be on a salary of £29,474. Not bad going for a 23 year-old!

Hazardous-waste manager  

It may not seem like the most glamorous of jobs, but if managing is your thing, and you care about the environment, then becoming a hazardous-waste manager could be the role for you. Responsibilities include organising and managing waste disposal, collection and recycling, whilst following government regulations.

As a hazardous-waste manager, you could expect to earn around £36,684 a year.

HR Manager

If you’re a “people person”, working your way up the HR career ladder could be the role for you! HR managers can earn anything in the region of £38,677 a year. The role is all about making sure your organisation is sourcing and hiring the best staff, and that you’re continuing to train these employees and ensuring they are getting the most out of their roles. Because a happy workforce = a happy business.

Although a degree is not strictly necessary, a form of qualification from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) will help you get ahead in this sector.

Air Traffic Controller

Forever looking up at the sky? Love being at the airport? Excited by the idea of having a job with a LOT of responsibility? As an air traffic controller, you’d be in charge of the safe landing and departure of airplanes as they come in and out of the airport. You’d be using super cool radio communication equipment to communicate instructions and information to the pilots.

As an Air Traffic Controller, you could be earning £52,947 a year – duty free looks pretty appealing with that salary! Although you wouldn’t need a degree for this job, you would need a formal qualification.

Nuclear Energy Worker

A high risk job like a Nuclear Energy Worker comes with a price tag to make the risk more appealing. A lot of jobs in the nuclear industry do require a degree, but a role like a Non-Licensed Operator offers the possibility of on-the-job training. A Non-Licensed Operator, for example, monitors plant equipment performance and opens and closes valves, electrical breakers and other devices.

Apprenticeships and training are available via the National Skills Academy for Nuclear. Average pay for a Nuclear Energy Worker is £44,494.

Excited by what you’ve seen so far? Want to know what other jobs are on offer with the qualifications you have right now?

Come back for Part 2 of our highest paid jobs without a degree next week…

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