However, Australians working in well-paid jobs have revealed the lucrative career paths you can take without having a university degree - and one is certain to surprise you.

Why you can get a high paying job without a degree

There’s a good reason why the idea that a degree equals a high paying job is so ingrained, especially in some cultures, as reported by Monarch. For a very long time (think centuries!), there were only a few ways to become wealthy. Either you were born in a rich family, you had a stroke of luck and became a successful businessperson, or you went to university to become a doctor, lawyer or engineer. What that meant was that the only way for a person to have some certainty about moving up in life was for them to get an education and choose from a limited number of jobs.

That’s changed a lot in the last couple of generations, especially in the past 30 years or so. Firstly, technology has changed the way we do basically everything. There are new jobs that never existed in your parents’ or grandparents’ day, but they’re here to stay. The global economy has opened up, and labour markets have become a lot more connected. This means there’s more demand and competition for some skills, and less for others. This whole process started after WW2, but really kicked off in the ‘70s and ‘80s when big countries (including Australia) got rid of some of the laws insulating their national economies.

Long story short: the range of secure and well-paying job opportunities is much bigger these days.

Skills more important than time spent in a classroom

There are very, very few jobs where you legally have to have a degree to do the job. What that means is that it’s up to employers what they require in order to hire someone. While some use a degree as a simple way of ruling out some candidates, many take the time to assess applicants’ actual skills and relevant experience, including their proven results and demonstrated ability to do the job. Some also use complex surveys and tests to test people’s potential for the job, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Practice time is also important. Degrees generally take three or four years, depending on the program. Work experience, internships, certificates, diplomas and other entry pathways take a lot less time. The difference in time can be spent practicing and honing your skills over and over in the workplace, giving you a competitive advantage.

No such thing as ‘unskilled’ jobs

Ever hear jobs described as ‘unskilled’ versus ‘skilled’? That division – ‘simple labour’ versus ‘brains’ – is a traditional way of dividing jobs in to categories, and justifying a difference in pay. But lots of (very smart) people believe there’s no such thing as a truly unskilled job. Even jobs that don’t require vast libraries of technical knowledge can take a lot of skill, safety risk, intelligence, precision etc. Think of it this way: you couldn’t take the CEO of a big company, who’s on say 20 times the salary of her lowest paid employee, put her in a front line role like a factory floor or customer service, and expect her to perform 20 times as well as other employees in that job.

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

Here are top 10 highest paying jobs that you don't need a degree, as listed by Payscale:

1. Construction manager ($150,000 per year)

2. 'Ethical' cybersecurity hackers ($130,000 per year)

3. Maintenance manager ($110,000 per year)

4. Commercial pilot ($100,000 per year)

5. Real estate agent ($95,000 per year)

6. Farm manager ($90,000 per year)

7. Sales manager ($90,000 per year)

8. Gym manager ($86,000 per year)

9. Electrician ($84,000 per year)

10. Senior aged care worker ($83,000 per year)

The Top-Paying Jobs That DON'T Require a University Degree in Australia

More Information on Australia's top 10 highest paying jobs

10. Senior aged care worker ($83,000 per year)

With the aging population of Australia, this industry is only set to increase and that will bring pay bumps with it. To get qualified for this role you will have to obtain a Certificate 3 in Individual Support or go to TAFE to get a diploma of Nursing. If you want to work your way up through management roles it is important to get oh hand experience. For those still in school, volunteer work is a great way to get work experience beforehand.

The role itself is all about taking care of the disabled and elderly as they can no longer. Manager roles will also include duties such as managing and supervising the staff of the facility.

9. Electrician ($84,000 per year)

Obtaining the qualifications to become a sparky is very straight forward and can be started as soon as you leave school. To become an Electrician you will need to get an apprenticeship for approximately 4 years before you are fully trained. You will most likely start off on minimum wage but after that four years is up you can start reeling in the big bucks.

The general role of an Electrician is to inspect, install and maintain electrical systems and components. Depending on what type of field you want to specialise in, you could be working on vehicles and machinery all the way up to commercial buildings and houses. Electrician is a prime industry to get into considering the shortage of skilled individuals within Australia.

8. Gym manager ($86,000 per year)

To work in the fitness sector your qualifications will start with obtaining a certificate in the relevant field. From there you will have to actually gain work experience through vocational placements to show that you are both book and practice smart. Once you have done your placements you will then have to register as a fitness professional within Australia and then apply to become an instructor. To move up to the manager role you will to need gain years of experience into how the operations of the business work.

Gym Managers are in charge of running the joint and from such are in charge of managing staff, training new staff and administrative duties. Think of it as the instructor for the instructors and making sure that everything at the facility that you work at runs smoothly. Customer service and complaints may also fall under this role.

7. Sales manager ($90,000 per year)

As we previously stated, there is a lot of money in sales and being a Sales Manager will net you even more income. To obtain the qualifications in order to get this role you can undergo a diploma in business or management. Additionally on hand experience is very important as you will need to know how the inner operations of the procedures for the industry run.

Sales Managers are responsible for the entire sales team within a business. As the leader you will be in charge of training your team, analysing the statistics as well as coming up with strategies to improve upon, measure results and constant review of practices and procedures for improvement. This industry is also growing in Australia with an estimated income increase of 5 percent over the next 5 years.

6. Farm manager ($90,000 per year)

You don’t need any formal qualifications a part from solid experience to get yourself a role as a Farm Manager. If you’ve worked for several years on a farm already, chances are you are qualified enough to take over the manager role. Skills relevant to farm management, animal husbandry and crop production are highly necessary but you obtain these skills through experience or from a relevant TAFE course. Diplomas of Agriculture are also beneficial in these roles.

The role description is pretty self-explanatory from the title of the role. You will be in charge of overseeing all of the operational things that take place on a farm. This includes operating and repairing machinery, tending to crops, administrative tasks and managing the staff.

5. Real estate agent ($95,000 per year)

There’s a lot of money in sales and the bigger the items you sell the more money you make. That couldn’t be more true for when you are selling properties that are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your role is to take over the campaign of trying to sell a property and meeting and liaising with the owners and potential buyers. Real Estate Agents generally make the big part of their salaries through commission sales of the homes that you sell.

To get yourself into a role like this you will have to work closely with an already licensed Real Estate Agent while also completing the relevant certificate. A lot of this role is also picked up on the field so making notes and paying attention to your superior can be very helpful.

The Top-Paying Jobs That DON'T Require a University Degree in Australia

4. Commercial pilot ($100,000 per year)

Many pilots do have degrees in Aircraft Operations but there are other routes that you can take to achieve this role. There are many airlines that offer cadetship programs where you will go through the company itself to obtain your qualifications rather than an institute. Additionally you can also undertake private training where you are required to obtain 200 hours’ worth of experience. These programs and training can also be done through the Australia Air Force.

Most people understand what the role of a pilot is but you will be responsible for operating the aircraft from point A to point B.

3. Maintenance manager ($110,000 per year)

The qualifications to secure this type of role vary between employers. In a general sense if you have a relevant trade and years’ worth of experience on the job, you should be fine in moving up. This role is definitely one of those scenarios where you need to be working in the role for many years to fully understand it as well as having the relevant connections to progress your career.

Your role would involve managing the maintenance, upkeep and repair of machines, equipment and buildings. Again the role will differ between employers but generally you will be responsible for safety requirements and overseeing staff.

2. 'Ethical' cybersecurity hackers ($130,000 per year)

Australia has an incredibly high demand for individuals who specialise in the cyber security field. While there are many degrees that are cyber security focussed you can also get into the field with a certificate in ethical hacking. The course that you undertake will expose you to the world of hacking and how to spot any potential security breaches that you may come across.

To catch a hacker you must become a hacker yourself. You will be familiar with common hacking techniques and tools in order to properly secure a business and to be called in, in the case of a potential breach. The role of an ethical hacker is similar to penetration testers but they also conduct broader duties such as finding the weaknesses and fixing them.

1. Construction manager ($150,000 per year)

Construction managers are in high demand due to certain qualifications that they need. To get into a role like this you can obtain a trade within construction and then build experience from there. Once you had reached a certain point of experience and expertise you can then complete a Certificate and Diploma in Building and Construction at your local TAFE. While you don’t necessarily need a degree to obtain this high paying role, you can also reach this role if you have a degree in Civil Engineering or Building Science.

The role itself consists of planning and directing building projects. Your role would be to plan, organise, control and direct the crew on what needs to be done.

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