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Not All Well-Paying Careers Require A University Education. Here Are 12 Of The Best

As more and more people are going to university and competition for jobs is heating up, for those who haven't been to university a high-paying job can seem as far away as the moon. There are many professions, however, that don't require a degree in order to succeed, just as having a degree does not guarantee well-paid success.

As more and more people are going to university and competition for jobs is heating up, for those who haven't been to university a high-paying job can seem as far away as the moon. There are many professions, however, that don't require a degree in order to succeed, just as having a degree does not guarantee well-paid success.

The current UK average salary is at £27,600. We've put together a list of careers that are well within the reach of those who don't have a degree, and that pay above the national average. Whether it's the unappealing debt, or other personal/financial reasons, university isn't for everyone. We want to prove that success is not limited to university graduates and to show that many skills are gained through other means.

Recruitment Consultant

The plethora of jobs that are coming onto the market every day require a bit of organisation and interpretation. That's what Recruitment Consultants are for. The recruitment market is worth £30 billion in the UK, and is only getting bigger. To get involved you will need good sales skills and a quality customer service attitude. In-depth knowledge of a particular career will help you to specialize and increase your worth. Base salaries average around £38,000, but you can expect large commission pay outs on top of that.


Hairdressing may not sound lucrative in terms of salary, but if you work hard at your skills and technique then you could be highly sought after senior stylist, earning upwards of £30,000. Owning your own salon or working on TV and film sets could bring you much more. You will get little reward for many years, but once you've gained notoriety you can take your profession anywhere.

Fire Fighter

Fire Fighters are the heart and muscle of any community. As well as putting out fires and attending every emergency, Fire Fighters teach, inspire and care for the people of their community. A patient and authoritative nature is good for this role, with good fitness and the ability to stay calm in a crisis. Fully trained Fire Fighters start at around £28,000 a year and can rise to £55,000 for Area Managers.

Stone Mason

Stone Masons build the very foundations of our cities and civilisations, from the Egyptian Pyramids to the Bank of England. To join their ranks you will need to be fit and good with your hands. Find a college that offers courses in masonry or construction and keep developing those skills. Once you're a professional you could be earning upwards of £40,000 a year.

Air Traffic Controller

A career as an Air Traffic Controller doesn't require a university degree, but you will need to gain some more specific qualifications. They're certainly not far-fetched, however, you will just need good maths skills and sharp reflexes. It's a highly valued job that requires hard concentration, and this is reflected in the salary which averages at around £80,000.

Fashion Designer

The fashion world is fast-paced and highly competitive, but experience is worth far more than qualifications. Alexander McQueen, for example, had no qualifications after leaving school at 16. Fine-tune your talents and create as much as you can and you will show employers, designers, buyers and journalists that you are serious at your craft. There is little reward for untested newcomers, but there is big money in the market available to be unlocked after prolonged hard work.

Truck Driver

Becoming a Truck Driver allows you to roam up and down the country, listening to whatever music you desire and dreaming whatever sweet dreams please you, every day, for up to £35,000 a year. To access this lifestyle you simply need a full driving license and will need to pass an LGV and/or HGV test. There's a national shortage of Truck Drivers at the moment so this salary could potentially rise if you time it well!


Journalism is as varied as the stories of the world are. As such, it is achievable for anyone with good writing skills, a unique perspective and a razor-sharp commitment to deadlines. The salary is also dependent upon the type of publication you work for, whether it be TV, digital, newspapers or magazines. Prominent journalists at the top of their game can expect a minimum salary of £38,000.

Police Constable

Police Officers are another body of leaders that bring peace and respect in the community. If you're a just leader who enjoys listening to and learning about people around them then you should fully consider joining the police force. A clear head, good judgment skills and a kindly character will help you to rise through the ranks and earn a salary of £41,000+.


A career as a Security Officer is another that emphasizes the need for good character and fitness. Patience, politeness, a clear, calm mind and a quick wit will help you excel in this job, not to mention being happy with standing up for long periods of time. Companies of higher worth that require top-level security will offer higher salaries of around £40,000 upwards.

Sales and Marketing Manager

These roles are found in many different professional sectors, the requirements for the job are the same. Strong motivational and leadership skills alongside a proactive attitude and you will be able to rise up through the ranks of your workplace, with on-the-job training supplementing your enthusiasm. Senior management roles can offer a salary over £50,000.

Public Relations

Working in Public Relations demands an authoritative, shrewd individual who sees opportunities wherever they look. You will need to be able to listen and understand the needs of the others, and have a good knowledge of a variety of media. The salary reflects your own ability really, but big businesses will pay upwards of £100,000 for your hard work.

Still unsure?

Don't stress about you career choice. There's a lot of choice and there's always something that will fit your character, even if you haven't found it yet. Our tips to you are:

1. What are your interests and skills? There is always a practical side of hobbies that can be applied to the workplace. Maybe you like quizzes and have quite a quick-witted, logical mind. Write them down see what jumps out at you.

2. Once you have some ideas do some research. Look online, ask peers. What jobs are available that relate to your ideas? What kind of training do they need? What kind of pay does it offer?

3. Keep in mind that you are not signing away your life to your choices. You can change your career as often and whenever you like. It takes time to find the right fit for your strengths and interests.

A careers test could help to reveal some of the right and wrong careers for you.

The National Careers Service website is great resource for your online research, with advice on CVs, interview skills and a library of career profiles.

The benefits of taking time to find the right career can be life-changing, so have a little patience, put the kettle on, and get proactive.

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