10 high-paying UK jobs you don’t need a university degree for - from air traffic controller to firefighter
There are plenty of jobs in the UK which offer high salaries without requiring a university degree
and live on Freeview channel 276
With the highly-anticipated release of A-level results today, there’s plenty of talk of which universities students are planning on going to. However, some people tend to forget that university doesn’t suit everyone - and that there are plenty of other paths to follow once you finish school.
According to the Office for National Statistics, a significant number of graduates in the UK earn less than people who entered the job market directly, which means that for those who don’t want to pursue careers which require a degree, spending three to four years in higher education can be a waste of both time and money.
To showcase this, NationalWorld has taken a look at some of the options for those who don’t want to attend university, tracking down jobs which favour experience or training over education and qualifications. So without further ado, here are the careers which offer the highest salaries - without requiring a university degree.
In the UK, trainee firefighters start with a base salary of £25,884, and once qualified, this rises to £34,501. Then, according to the pay scale set by the National Joint Council for Local Authority Fire and Rescue Services, wages increase all the way to £65,984 for those who become area managers.
Firefighters also receive a good range of benefits, such as a pension scheme, childcare support, interest-free loans, and flexible working arrangements. To become a firefighter, you need to pass aptitude tests and physical exams, as testing fitness and quick-thinking abilities is a big part of the selection process.
Salaries for police officers are increasing from 1 September 2023, so if you’re interested in pursuing a career in policing, now is a good time! Under the new pay scale, constables start on £28,551, and then can move up through the ranks to £46,044.
Sergeants then earn between £49,077 and £51,498, and from September, chief inspectors outside London can earn up to £68,082 - while those working in London have their salaries weighted up to £70,458.
Air Traffic Controller
You don’t need a degree to become an air traffic controller, but a lot of training is required as you have to use highly sophisticated radar and radio communication equipment to communicate advice, information, and instructions to pilots.
When you start training, you’ll only earn a salary of £18,000, according to the government’s National Careers Service. However, fully-qualified air traffic controllers earn around £40,000, depending on location, and those with substantial experience - who are tasked with overseeing the busiest units - have the potential of earning £100,000.
What you earn as an entrepreneur of course varies significantly and depends entirely on how much your product or service sells. But for creative and driven individuals, it’s something to consider - as the potential for success is huge.
Experienced estate agents typically earn an annual salary of £40,000. However, if you are in a role which offers commission, you can earn a lot more if you perform well and sell or rent highly-priced properties.
There are plenty of ways to get into this industry, including apprenticeships, work experience, or specific qualifications which don’t require as much time or money as a degree.
According to the government’s National Careers Service, train drivers at the beginning of their careers earn £24,000, and this rises to up to £65,000 once you become more experienced. In London, you can earn slightly more - around £69,000 - but this is ofset by higher living costs.
Recruitment website Reed estimates that on average, train drivers in the UK earn an annual salary of £48,500. You’ll also get free or reduced travel as a benefit.
On a similar note to train drivers, those who work for the London Underground can earn a good wage too. You’ll have to be based in the capital, or on the outskirts, but qualified tube drivers can earn a salary which ranges from £55,000 to £65,000.
The job of a project manager is to essentially make sure a project is successful, with responsibilities including planning, budgeting, overseeing, and documenting. You can work in a variety of different fields, depending on what you’re interested in.
Websites such as Indeed and Glassdoor estimate that the average project manager salary ranges between £45,000 and £55,000 a year, depending on where you’re based.
The pay range for personal trainers is pretty large, as it depends on where you live, what clients you can find, how much experience you have, and how well you market yourself. However, while some personal trainers earn as little as £15,000, others can get up to £60,000, according to Future Fit.
Computer Games Tester
Finally, something which would be a dream job for keen gamers! Computer games testsers are required to play computer games to check they work efficiently - and find and report any bugs.
You’ll start on a salary of around £24,000, but those with experience can earn up to £50,000. You can find out more about how to become a computer games tester here.