The Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require A Degree

With record numbers of students choosing to go to university in recent years, you could be forgiven for thinking that obtaining a degree is fast becoming a pre-requisite for attaining well paid work. However, the rise in tuition fees coupled with uncertainty over what future governments could impose has left many feeling disillusioned. Numerous people are still opting to avoid the potential debts and commitments of higher education and pursue their career without a degree. It is important to remember that the university option is and always will be, quite simply, not for everyone. Higher education is a choice, and while it may suit some people’s way of working, others will invariably thrive in an altogether different environment. Make no mistake; there is still a huge and varied job market out there and a whole host of alternative routes into work. Whilst in some cases it may take slightly longer to reach the highest pay scales; not having a degree certainly does not have to equal a life of poorly paid work. With that in mind, read on to see our list of the top ten highest paying jobs that don’t require a degree.

The Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require A Degree: 1: Construction Manager

at Don't Require A Degree Construction Manager

Construction managers oversee and organise work on numerous types of building projects. It is their job to ensure that this work is completed to set standards, within set timescales and to a set budget. They are also tasked with making sure that projects adhere to stringent safety regulations. Salaries in the UK range from an average of £27,000 to £70,000 per year. Although having a degree is an option for securing this type of role; there is clear scope to be able to work your way up through work experience, site supervisor roles and apprenticeship schemes.

The Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require A Degree: 2: Offshore Oil Worker

Highest Paying Jobs Don't Require Degree Offshore Oil Worker

Now this may seem like an obvious one, but if you are willing to put in the hours, you can reap huge rewards in the oil and gas industry – no degree required. You will need to pass a basic offshore induction and emergency training (BOSIET) test to ensure you have the survival and fire-fighting skills required for emergencies. The work can be physically demanding, and requires living and working on a rig for two to three weeks. However, this is followed by a rest period of two to three weeks on shore, and top earners can expect salaries of up to £100,000 a year. To get your foot through the door, consider work experience in a mechanical field, or training as an electrician. After you have gained a little experience there are apprenticeship schemes available to help you climb the ranks.

The Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require A Degree: 3: Electrician

Highest Paying Jobs Dont Require Degree Electrician

On the subject of training to be an electrician, did you know that you could have the potential to earn in the region of £42,000 a year or more with some on the job training and/or an apprenticeship scheme? If you don’t fancy living away from home on an oil rig and the on/off working patterns but you still have an interest in engineering and a healthy pay packet; this could be a great option. The beauty of training to become an electrician is that once you have had adequate experience, you then have the option to become self-employed, as well as possessing a skill that is always in demand.

The Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require A Degree: 4: Sales Manager

Highest Paying Jobs Don't Require Degree Offshore Oil Worker

On a slightly different note, well paid jobs not requiring a degree need not always be physically demanding. If you are a great communicator, have the ability to organise and motivate a team and work to strict deadlines, then a sales manager position may be for you. Most companies will offer a basic salary plus a performance based commission, and you could realistically be earning around £22,000 right up to in excess of £70,000 a year (based on experience). If an apprenticeship isn’t the option for you, then you could instead take this approach and opt for an entry level sales job in an industry that interests you. After that you can go on to work your way up to a management position.

The Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require A Degree: 5: Recruitment Director

Highest Paying Jobs Don't Require Degree Offshore Oil Worker

Similarly, this is another generally speaking office based role that doesn’t require a degree yet can be incredibly lucrative. Again, if you have strong communication skills, the drive and ambition to be able to meet targets as well as a resilient personality then you could earn seriously good money in this field. Entry level consultant roles pay anywhere from £15,000 to £25,000 a year as a basic plus an often uncapped commission structure and managers and directors can earn in the region of £60,000 to £100,000 a year. Once you’ve built up a bit of experience in the field you are then free to develop into a specialism and thus further increase your earning potential.

The Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require A Degree: 6: Accountant

Highest Paying Jobs Don't Require Degree Accountant

You may be pleased to hear that you do not need a degree to earn great money working as an accountant. Although obtaining a degree is one possible route you can take, many firms are happy to take on new recruits with a good set of A-Level’s (it’s not even essential that mathematics is one of them) and train them up to earn their AAT, or Association of Accounting Technicians qualification. From here many firms will then help employees to earn the ACA, or Association of Chartered Accountants qualification whilst working. At this level you can expect to earn anything from £45,000 to £90,000 per annum.

The Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require A Degree: 7: Equities Or Commodities Trader

Highest Paying Jobs Dont Require Degree Equities Commodities Trader

Believe it or not, although holding a degree is the most common route into employment in this sector, it’s still entirely possible to get into the field of trading in either equities or commodities without one and the remuneration can be vast. Both strong numerical skills and a confident and courageous personality would be incredibly advantageous. Industry certified qualifications are a requirement and you would also need to be approved by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority). The CISI (Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment) Capital Markets Programme can be undertaken without a degree and is a fantastic route into what could potentially over time yield earnings including bonuses of in the region £150,000 a year.

The Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require A Degree: 8: Detective Inspector

Highest Paying Jobs Dont Require Degree Detective Inspector

The entry and selection process for getting into the police force as a constable is admittedly an in depth and lengthy one; however it does not require a higher education degree. Further down the career path, detective inspectors can earn in the region of £55,000 to £65,000 a year. If you are a hard-working, natural problem solver with a calm and confident manner and would thrive in an environment where no two days are the same, then this could certainly be a viable option for you.

The Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require A Degree: 9: Air Traffic Controller

Highest Paying Jobs Dont Require Degree Air Traffic Controller

This one is arguably somewhat of ‘wild card’, yet nonetheless worth a mention as a position not requiring a degree with some serious earning potential. There is a huge amount of responsibility to take on with this role, as you’ll be tasked with overseeing take offs and landings and ensuring that pilots are safely guided to runways. To get into this position, you will need to embark on college training for your National Air Traffic Services (NATS) qualification. In your first year on this course salaries start at around £13,000 a year, with colleges often subsidising fees and living costs. This then increases periodically with experience. Senior controllers with extensive experience have the potential to earn in excess of £100,000 a year.

The Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require A Degree: 10: Entrepreneur

Highest Paying Jobs Dont Require Degree Entrepreneur

It goes without saying that some of the highest paid individuals in today’s society didn’t need to rely on a degree to make them their money. Of course, there are no guaranteed earnings or indeed initial job security for those who choose to seek their own path and start up a business of their own, but the rewards can be huge. You’ll need to have an idea that you passionately believe in, conduct extensive market research and be prepared to potentially work long and unpredictable hours; but if successful your earning potential could be enormous.


In summary, although it may seem that the workplace is becoming more and more geared towards individuals who hold degrees there is still a huge scope for high earning potential without a BA or a BSc. That is not to say that degrees are no longer valuable; certainly there are a large number of careers where having one would put you at a direct advantage, however it is certainly not wise to encourage a ‘one size fits all’ approach. The decision on whether or not to embark upon higher education should involve some real in depth consideration into how you work best, what your motivations are and ultimately your goals for the future.