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25 Aug 2015

You don’t need a degree to get a job.

It seems you don’t need a university degree to get a great career – tradies and truckies are topping the list of Australia’s best paying jobs.
The trades currently getting top dollar include truck drivers (up to $80,000 a year), auto-electricians and electrical tradesmen (up to $100,000), and construction workers (up to $113,000).
While professionals currently account for 22% of the work force and the highest paid jobs (dominated by the medical professions), many non-professional occupations also rate highly, with drillers and miners often commanding an income of more than $2000 per week.

Electrical draftspersons and crane, hoist and lift operators also earn well above normal wages.

While having a degree under your belt certainly doesn’t hurt, it shows you don’t need academic qualifications to earn a top salary.


National training association Group Training Australia says students are often pushed towards university studies as the preferred career path into professional jobs, and that there needs to be more focus on giving trades greater priority as a genuine choice for all school leavers.


The association says there is a need to introduce students to the trades, and help them develop workplace skills as early as primary school by embedding work studies into the school curriculum.


CEO Jim Barron says by partnering with schools, employers and communities, group training organisations are in a unique position to provide students with greater access to vocational learning and pathways through structured work exposure, exploration and applied learning opportunities.

He discusses the challenges in several interviews:

ABC Radio : www.grouptraining.com.au/_literature_188268/Radio_060715_FABC_MidNthCoast_Statewide_Drive


2GB Radio:


For more information on this topic, go to www.grouptraining.com.au/announcements/equipping-students-for-work-and-the-trades

Below are some of the top highest paying jobs in Australia for which you don’t need a degree.
The 2014 statistics, from the website Career FAQs (www.careerfaqs.com.au/news/news-and-views/10-high-paying-jobs-you-wont-need-a-degree-for), show the jobs that can have you sitting pretty on salaries well above the average Aussie income of $56,300.

1. Air transport professionals

Potential salary range: $36k-$120k


Navigating the skies as a commercial pilot or air transport professional might not require a degree, but does take serious commitment and skill.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority strictly regulates the industry and requires that you pass a series of examinations and clock at least 200 hours of flying experience before you can obtain your Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL).

To fly as a pilot in command of a multi-crew aircraft, you’ll need an Air Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL), which is even more arduous and requires 1500 flying hours.

  1. Structural steel construction worker 

    Potential salary range:$48,000 – $110,000

Like most jobs that involve working on a construction site, you’ll need to have good hand-eye coordination, enjoy practical and physical work and be a team player.

There’s a surprising amount of variety in this area of construction, too. You could work as a dogger to safely attach slings and direct crane loads; specialise as a scaffolder who erects and dismantles scaffolding; or become a rigger – the person responsible for assembling and installing rigging gear.
Useful course: Certificate IV in Building and Construction 

3. Crane, hoist and lift operators 

Potential salary range: $42,000 -$140,000

Crane and lift operators are perhaps the most well-paid labourers in construction – a mean feat considering construction is the fifth highest earning industry in Australia.

Due to the high risks involved in the role, you’ll need to be comfortable working at heights and have exceptional coordination and mechanical aptitude.

To become qualified, you’ll need to obtain a Perform High Risk Work Licence and complete a crane operator traineeship.

4. Mining professionals 

Potential salary range: $56,000 – $419,000

Working in the mining industry isn’t for the faint hearted. You’ll need to be physically strong, able to tolerate extreme environments and have an aptitude for mechanical equipment operation.

But the upsides are plentiful. The most notable of which is the sizeable pay cheque enjoyed by miners, with the median salary sitting at $186,673 per annum.

While the engineering and geology related positions will require a degree, there are a range of jobs that simply demand experience and practicals skills gained on the job.

5. OH&S professionals 

Potential salary range: $67,000 – $180,000


There’s a growing demand for OH&S professionals that far outstrips the pool of potential employees. It’s a simple ‘supply and demand’ equation that has OH&S practitioners earning a median of $133,854.

To work in OH&S, it’s important to have a VET qualification under your belt to prove that you understand the complicated legal and ethical guidelines set out by the government.

Useful course: Certificate III in Work Health and Safety

6. Gas, petroleum and oil power plant operators

Potential salary range: $52,000 -$125,000

The gas, petroleum and power industry is the highest earning sector in Australia, where the median salary is a whopping $218,426 per annum.

For plant operators in the industry, the average annual salary sits at around $92,000.

It’s a role that doesn’t require a degree, but does demand mechanical aptitude, strong mathematical skills and an ability to cope with the physical demands of the job.

7. ICT professionals 

Potential salary range: $45,000 – $140,000
Like a lot of technical careers, working in ICT is more about your ability to learn on the job and creatively troubleshoot, rather than what university you went to or how many degrees you have.

The highest salaries in the industry generally go to systems engineers, architects, project managers and consultants – roles that only come with a lot of experience and multiple industry certifications.

Useful course: Advanced Diploma of Information Technology (Project Management) 

8. Managers

Potential salary range: $49,000 – $120,000

According to the Australian Jobs 2013 report, management is where the big bucks are. This is generally the case across most industries, the highest earning of which include education, research and development, corporate services, finance and human resources.

So if you’re already working in these sectors, equip yourself with managerial skills to improve your career trajectory.

Useful course: Diploma of Business

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