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Australia's top 10 highest paying jobs you don’t need a degree for

By Katie Quirk | 01 January 2021

If you've decided that heading to university is just not the education path you're keen to take, you may have found yourself wondering what the highest paying jobs with no degree required are and what certification is actually required to pursue those opportunities.

It's understandable that the thought of spending four years at a tertiary institution isn't everyone's cup of tea and a desired career trajectory doesn't always intersect with the need for a Bachelor's degree.

However, there are dozens of accessible, very well-paid jobs across a myriad of industries that don't require the time or financial investment that a university degree does.

While most require a level of training or higher education, it is possible to earn more than the $1,633.80 Australian average weekly earnings and build a satisfying, successful career.

What is the highest paying job without a degree? 

With an average annual salary of $150,000, the highest paying job in Australia that does not require a university degree is a construction manager. 

Construction managers play an imperative role in the building industry and in addition to managing construction projects from start to finish, role responsibilities include everything from coordinating workflow, handling subcontractors, reading blueprints and supervising and advising staff.

As the title suggests, the ability to manage effectively is crucial to forging a successful career path; Upskilled offers relevant courses like BSB51415 - Diploma of Project Management and BSB41515 - Certificate IV in Project Management Practice to help hone your understanding of methods and techniques and assist in refining your leadership skills.

The 10 highest paying jobs you don't need a degree for

  1. Construction Manager.
  2. Ethical Hacker.
  3. Maintenance Manager.
  4. Pilot.
  5. Real Estate Agent.
  6. Farm Manager.
  7. Sales Manager.
  8. Fitness Manager.
  9. Electrician.
  10. Senior Care Worker.

1. Construction Manager. 

According to PayScale, the most experienced construction managers can earn upwards of $190,000 per annum.

In addition to project management, construction managers often work directly with customers so strong interpersonal skills and a knack for developing rapport are necessary to work well with staff and clients.

Upskilled's BSB51918 - Diploma of Leadership and Management endeavours to teach you what you need to know about leading and managing others in a professional scope. 

You can gain formal skills in mentorship, communication and team leadership, and refine your skills in operational or technical workplace environments.

2. Ethical Hacker.

To catch a hacker, you must become a hacker yourself. With an average annual salary in the realm of $130,000, ethical hackers are responsible for "white-hat hacking", which refers to third-party security research. 

Ethical hackers are commonly hired by various companies and even government bodies to test cybersecurity vulnerabilities across the digital spectrum.

There are various reasons why organisations hire ethical hackers, however, the most common purpose is to identify weak points, provide valuable insights and to design an online structure that creates a better, stronger and more resilient network.

By studying the ICT60215 - Advanced Diploma of Network Security through Upskilled, you will learn to plan, design, manage, and monitor an enterprise ICT network, either as an independent ICT specialist or as part of a ICT network security team. 

3. Maintenance Manager.

A maintenance manager's job responsibilities encompass everything from ensuring that an organisation or facility's equipment is operated and maintained according to manufacturer specifications to guaranteeing work performed meets safety requirements.

Those who build and excel in their role as a maintenance manager have the capacity to earn an average of $110,000 a year and further career pathways can lead to jobs in maintenance supervising, contracts management and operations management.

As well as possessing solid technical knowledge, it is highly desirable for maintenance managers to have good communication skills, since the role requires you to effectively direct staff, interact with vendors and report to other staff. 

Maintenance managers also need to keep a cool head under pressure, handle stress well, demonstrate good attention to detail and have the ability to follow specific, technical specifications and instructions. 

Upskilled's nationally-recognised BSB61015 - Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Management can help to enhance your key skills and knowledge as a leader or manager; while giving you expert insights into effective leadership. 

4. Pilot.

woman pilot smiling

Even without pursuing a university degree, the sky's the limit for those who have their heads in the clouds.

Commercial airline pilots can, on average, earn in the vicinity of $100,000 annually and potential earnings have the capacity to skyrocket beyond $245,000.

In addition to logging at least 200 hours of practical flying experience before you can obtain a Commercial Pilot's Licence, pilots must display good physical fitness and health to keep up with the demands of the job.

Looking after your mental health is also vital to success as a pilot, as the responsibility of keeping hundreds of lives safe thousands of metres above the ground is psychologically demanding.

Studying a CHC43315 - Certificate IV in Mental Health through Upskilled comprises subjects such as CHCCOM002 - Use communication to build relationships and CHCCCS019 - Recognise and respond to crisis situations, which may prove to be helpful knowledge to have during a career as a pilot.

5. Real Estate Agent.

In addition to passing a state licencing exam, skills that can affect a real estate agent's earning capacity (which can be up to $95,000 per annum on average) go beyond theory and study.

Property and people management as well as the capacity to build genuine rapport and trust with buyers and sellers can go a long way in finding success as a real estate agent.

Also, not every deal is cut and dry and often real estate agents may have to work through lengthy discussions and negotiations to ensure all parties are satisfied with the outcome of both sale and purchase.

Upskilled's BSB42415 - Certificate IV in Marketing and Communication may help you to articulate, present and debate ideas and add to your confidence in leading effective workplace relationships.

6. Farm Manager.

Farm managers have the potential to generate an annual salary in excess of $90,000 and are responsible for operating the production of crops or livestock farms, as well as setting operating goals and business plans. 
Finding success pursuing a career in farm management often requires managing farmers and farm hands, making strong leadership skills highly beneficial.

To support a farm manager's administrative duties, having a grasp on basic computer skills can greatly assist them in budget-keeping, scheduling, payroll, and records relating to spending and production.

A BSB50215 - Diploma of Business or BSB50415 - Diploma of Business Administration studied through Upskilled can help you develop skills in planning, communication and organisation that will set you apart from the rest of the herd.

7. Sales Manager.

Working in both retail and non-retail settings, sales managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations surrounding the management of sales associates and sales activities.

With sales managers making an average of $90,000 a year in Australia, success relies heavily on their capacity to create a good working environment, possess effective leadership and managerial qualities and the ability to balance customer satisfaction with the growth of company profits.

Requiring good written and oral communication skills as well as knack for building interpersonal relationships, pursuing a career in sales management may benefit from undertaking a course from Upskilled like BSB42415 - Certificate IV in Marketing and Communication.

8. Fitness Manager.

gym concept

Generally found overseeing the daily operations of facilities such as gyms or rehabilitation centres, fitness managers have the capacity to earn on average $86,000 per year.

Although fitness managers usually work independently, communication and liaison with colleagues and executive management, and the ability to establish interpersonal relationships is also highly regarded within this profession. 

Some fitness manager positions also require working directly with financial information, ensuring revenue and expenses align with business expectations and goals.

In addition to the physical demands of the job, setting and achieving milestones for service and customer satisfaction in this position is what truly drives success.

As with other management driven careers, Upskilled's nationally recognised BSB61015 - Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Management may help to enhance your key skills and build your knowledge as a leader or manager.

9. Electrician.

With the capacity to generate an average salary of $84,000 a year, a career as an electrician offers plenty of scope for job flexibility and room to grow; whether that's establishing your own business or pursuing a pathway to roles such as electrical supervisor or a position in project management.

In Australia, you must complete an apprenticeship, which takes four years to complete to become an electrician. However, you earn and learn at the same time.

As a qualified electrician, you have the opportunity to expand your skills and specialise in many different fields and you can choose to work on domestic jobs, for commercial businesses or in the industrial sector.

To enhance your project management skills and build on business acumen, a BSB50215 - Diploma of Business or BSB50415 - Diploma of Business Administration studied through Upskilled can help to round out technical skills and contribute to your confidence in starting your own venture down the track.

10. Senior Care Worker.

With Australia's ageing population on the rise, the demand for senior care workers is growing rapidly

According to Treasury's 2015 Intergenerational Report, the number of Australians aged 65 years and over is forecast to more than double over the next 40 years, increasing from around 3.6 million in 2014-15 to 8.9 million in 2054-55.

Senior care workers have scope to generate an average yearly income of $83,000 and are responsible for overseeing and monitoring care workers, care assistants and home carers. 

While you are generally required to complete a qualification or undertake a traineeship, a CHC52015 - Diploma of Community Services studied through Upskilled may help to further support other studies.

So just remember - even if pursuing a four year university degree doesn't tickle your fancy, there are many other pathways you can take on your journey to achieve career goals and ambitions.

To discuss how an Upskilled course may help round out your further learning and even improve future job prospects, get in touch with a member of their team today.
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