The Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree

When you think of high-paying jobs, it’s easy to immediately associate every lucrative career path with the requirement to earn a degree of some sort. However, there are many desirable jobs that don’t require any major educational credentials other than the completion of basic courses and certifications. In fact, some of these qualifications can be earned in a matter of weeks or months, which is absolutely wonderful when you compare that to the dreadful reality of having to study and work for 4 or 8 years towards a degree before you can even collect your first pay cheque.

While you might not be able to get the highest-paying job on earth, there are many positions and industries that regularly pay out desirable salaries to apprentices and employees who only possess skill-based qualifications. The fastest way to get a high-paying job without a degree is to earn a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) through a training course database like Findcourses.

If you’re ready to significantly increase your annual income without sacrificing years of your life to education, here are the top 10 highest-paying jobs that don’t require a degree:

1. Electrician

There are plenty of NVQ courses that can help you get an entry-level electrician job, such as the NVQ Level 3 Electrical qualification, or the Gold Card Approved Electrician qualification. While novice electricians only earn about £19,000 to £22,000 annually, after you’ve gained experience in the field you could make as much as £30,000 or more without a degree. The NVQ course can be completed in just 8 weeks, after which you’d need 1-3 years of experience in your portfolio to obtain the higher-paying Gold Card/AM2 status.

2. Plumber

Likewise, there are NVQ courses that can help you become a plumber relatively quickly, including the Professional Plumbing Skills qualification and NVQ Level 2 Plumbing Assessments qualification. While the average annual salary for a company-employed plumber sits at around £30,000, self-employed plumbers can charge as much as £90/hour, which equates to about £1,000/week or £52,000 annually. However, keep in mind that Level 2 certification is only available to plumbers with 5 years of experience, so you’ll be starting as an apprentice. Still, during that time you’ll be earning a decent income as you work towards becoming a master plumber or starting your own plumbing business.

3. Carpenter

There are a number of NVQ courses that will equip you with the skills and qualifications needed to get hired for an apprentice-level carpenter position. You could start with a City & Guilds Carpentry Course to obtain the basic skills and knowledge needed. Once you’ve been working as a carpenter for a few years, you can take the NVQ Level 2 Carpentry Course to become eligible for higher-paying carpentry jobs. As a newly employed carpenter, your annual salary will start at around £20,000, but experienced carpenters make about £40,000 and self-employed carpenters can make even more.

4. Construction Site Supervision & Management

Did you know that you can become a construction site supervisor or manager with no formal degree? That’s right, with an NVQ course you can obtain the qualification needed to obtain higher-paying jobs in the construction industry. While you may need some experience to be eligible for courses like the Level 6 Diploma in Construction Site Management or the Level 3 & 4 NVQ Diploma in Construction Site Supervision, it’s certainly a degree-less path towards a high-paying career. The average salary for a site manager is around £47,000, with more experienced supervisors earning an impressive base pay of about £62,000/year and experienced supervisors earning as much as £105,000/year or more.

5. Forklift Operator

There are several NVQ courses that can prepare you to become a professional forklift operator, including courses designed for both novice and experienced operators. While this isn’t the highest-paying job on this list, with a bit of experience you could be earning roughly £20/hour just for sitting in a seat and operating a piece of machinery that’s relatively easy to use. Forklift operators are in high demand in the UK due to the continued growth of global eCommerce, and the training courses for this occupation don’t take very long to complete.

6. Business Administration

While you might think you’d need a degree in business administration to become a specialist in this field, there are actually numerous NVQ courses that will provide basic BA certification. For example, there’s the Administration and Office Management Professional course, or the Level 2 Certificate in Business and Administration Knowledge. There’s also a Business Administrator Level 3 course for more experienced managers or supervisors who are trying to advance their career. The average annual salary for business administrators in the UK sits at around £52,000.

7. Accountant or Bookkeeper

Did you know you could become an accountant or bookkeeper without a degree? That might seem far-fetched, but there are in fact companies that will hire you to do their bookkeeping after you’ve completed a basic NVQ accounting course. You can earn a Foundation Certificate in Accounting or a Foundation Award in Accounting Software to prove your capabilities as an eligible apprentice or employee. The average salary for a bookkeeper in the UK is around £25,000, but you can also offer your services on a freelance basis and earn £20-£50 per hour or more.

8. Recruitment Consultant and Other HR Jobs

There are several Human Resources jobs that you can get with a basic NVQ certification, including positions in the recruitment, performance management, learning & development, and employee relations departments. Examples of applicable NVQ courses for human resources jobs include the Introduction to Recruitment and Selection course as well as the Recruitment Interviewing course. Novice recruitment consultants earn an annual salary of around £22,000 to £28,000 while experienced consultants can earn as much as £40,000 or more.

9. Health & Safety Specialist

NVQ courses can provide certification in occupational health & safety specialisations such as hazard & risk assessment, first aid, food safety & hygiene, fire safety, and workplace safety management. While there are many jobs to be had in these industries, to give you an example of the salary potential, Health and Safety Managers often earn around £35,000-£40,000 per year.

10. Plasterer

While becoming a plasterer might not seem like the most prestigious career aspiration to have, you could earn an annual salary of £26,000 to £31,000 for performing a relatively easy and predictable job. Examples of NVQ courses that can help you get a job as a plasterer include the Essential Plastering Course and Advanced 4-Week NVQ Level 2 Plastering Course.

You Can Continue to Advance Your Career While You Work One of the Above Jobs

Regardless of which of the jobs you choose from above, you’ll still have the opportunity to advance your career in your spare time through online courses and degree programs. Thus, committing to one of the NVQ-based occupations listed above doesn’t set a permanent cap on your earning potential, it just gives you a nice stepping stone to increase your income while you work towards a higher-level degree or founding a business of your own. Ultimately, it’s up to you to compare these occupations to your current job and decide whether it’s worth your time and funds to upgrade your career for a better salary.

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