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The 10 highest-paying careers you can go into without a degree

While university qualifications are often regarded as a prerequisite for a well-paying career, university education is out of the question for many South Africans. And a university qualification in itself is also no longer a guarantee that you will find a job.
The 10 highest-paying careers you can go into without a degree
To help students make informed decisions about their studies and their careers, we at Oxbridge Academy have compiled a list of the most financially rewarding career paths you can enter into without a degree. For many of these careers, the education and training provided by public and private colleges in the TVET sector will suffice.

This list was compiled using data from Payscale, Career Junction Index, and Salaryexplorer. The salary estimates given are taken from actual job openings currently advertised throughout South Africa (though it should be noted that the numbers might not necessarily reflect average salary expectations).

So here is the list of top 10 lucrative careers for which you don't need a degree:

10. Land surveyor: R10,000 - R35,000 per month

Land surveyors are technicians who measure and map environments using specialist equipment, particularly in the construction industry.

While assistant or junior land surveyors do not initially earn an exorbitant amount, with 7 or more years' experience in a construction environment, along with a relevant National Diploma, you can earn anything from R25,000 to R35,000 per month.

9. Millwright: R20,000 - R35,000 per month

Millwrights are the technicians responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing industrial machinery and equipment.

With experience in a production environment, a National Diploma and Trade Test certification in this field, you can step into the millwright profession with a substantial starting salary.

8. Electrical technician: R15,000 - R38,000 per month

Electrical technicians are different from home electricians as they are generally responsible for the installation, testing, and maintenance of complex commercial and industrial electrical systems.

An experienced and qualified technician can earn anything between R20,000 and R38,000 per month. Studying toward a National Qualification in Electrical Engineering via distance learning will give you the opportunity to start working as an assistant to a technician while you complete your technical qualification and go on to get your Trade Test certification.

7. Rigger: R10,000 - R40,000 per month

Riggers work in shipping yards or at construction sites with heavy-lifting machinery such as cranes and derricks.

A rigger requires a National Diploma and Trade Test certification to find work, and can - with the necessary experience - build a well-paying career in this profession.

6. Executive assistant: R10,000 - R40,000 per month

Secretaries are no longer low-rung office employees. Secretaries, PAs, and other executive assistants now play central roles in their organisations, and they earn accordingly.

With relevant experience, a secretarial qualification, and essential secretarial skills, you can earn up to R40 000 per month as an executive assistant to a CEO.

5. HR manager: R20,000 - R40,000 per month

The HR profession is one that general office employees can easily transition into - by obtaining relevant HR training and developing the required skills.

While an HR representative might not initially earn that much more than an average office employee, HR managers are some of the best paid white-collar professionals that are not necessarily required to have university degrees.

4. Instrument technician: R25,000 - R40,000 per month

Instrument technicians work with the measuring and controlling devices found in industrial and manufacturing processes. To qualify for this type of work, you need a National Diploma and Trade Test certification.

Instrument technicians often step into high-paying entry-level positions, yet earnings generally peak at R40,000 per month after 5 to 10 years' experience.

3. Web developer: R20,000 - R50,000 per month

Web development is one of the best professions to go into in the ICT sector in South Africa. This is because competent developers are in high demand, and web development is a field that can easily branch into a career in computer engineering or software development.

Relevant skills and experience are the cornerstones of this profession, while accredited qualifications or professional certifications are necessary to verify your skill set.

2. Software developer: R15,000 - R60,000 per month

Though there are many firms that require BSc degrees for high-end software development jobs, the ICT sector in South Africa is so dynamic and rapidly growing that skilled employees are in exceptionally high demand. Most companies, however, still require candidates to have at least a relevant computer programming qualification or other suitable professional certification.

Senior software developers can earn up to R60,000 per month, with project managers in this field earning even more.

1. Sales manager: R10,000 - R75,000 per month

Sales is a difficult profession to quantify, as the salaries of sales representatives fluctuate greatly according to industry, role, place of employment, and commission structures. Nonetheless, sales is one of the fields that offers the highest earning potential, whether you hold a degree or not.

With enough experience in a sales or managerial position, and with relevant managerial training, sales managers can earn anything from R40,000 to R75,000 a month in South Africa (and even more if you become a national sales manager).

What does this all mean?

The 10 highest-paying careers you can go into without a degree
Looking at South Africa's salary data, it is not necessarily the doctors, actuaries, or engineers with seven-year degrees that earn the most. It is, in fact, business owners, CEOs, executive directors, and sales directors that make the most money. This is a veritable testament to the fact that those who earn the most in South Africa are the ones who work hard, work their way up, and focus on continuous personal and professional development.

There is no law that states that a university degree is a prerequisite to success.

Educational institutions such as Oxbridge Academy focus on providing technical and vocational education and training that is meant to help students access high-paying skill-centred careers, and also enable working professionals to expand their skill-sets in order to advance their careers without having to enrol for lengthy and expensive university programmes.

To find out how you can start your career without a university degree, you can read more about Oxbridge Academy's national qualifications and international qualifications.

17 Sep 2015 13:53


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