Great Careers Without a Degree in 2018

Going to university isn’t something that suits everyone. Maybe you don’t know what you would study, don’t like the idea of accumulating debt or simply don’t like the idea of the university experience. There are lots of options out there for great careers without a degree and here are some to inspire you.


Being a journalist is a great job that doesn’t require a degree to get started. Sure, there are lots of journalists out there that have a degree behind them but there are just as many who don’t. Average pay is in the region of £30,000 a year and all you really need is the ability to write a good story. Times columnist Caitlin Moran is an example – no formal education, let alone a degree but started aged 16 writing for competitions and has gone from there.

HR managers

There are different routes to being an HR manager but most of them don’t require a degree. Some will look for qualifications such as from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) while many managers have worked through the ranks, starting in jobs through apprenticeships or entry level positions and moving up. Average pay for these jobs is around £38,000 a year.

Air traffic controllers

For such an important job, you would think that you would need a degree but this isn’t the case. Instead, you can start at the very bottom and take the industry training course through the National Air Traffic Services. It takes 5 months intensive or 11 months if you want to specialise and starter salaries during this time are around £12,000 but the average for a qualified controller is over £40,000 a year.

Offshore oil platform worker

If you love physical work that is demanding and intensive, then working on an oil platform offshore might be perfect and no degree is required.  Jobs include work such as rig operations, drilling operations and equipment maintenance and most of the training is done by the employer while on the job. It’s a tough job but if you are up for it, average salaries around nearly £50,000 a year.

Commodities traders

If you have a good maths brain, even if you don’t have a maths qualification, then working as a commodities trader could be on the cards for you. Many of these jobs are taken straight out of school and the ability to talk the talk is more important than formal qualifications. You do need to be approved by the FCA to get a role and there are courses available from the CISI. Average salaries are around £53,000.

Military security

For those who have served and don’t have any formal qualifications, one of the better-paid jobs to use those skills and talents is in military security. Unfortunately, there is a lot of demand for this kind of work in today’s world and companies look for ex-military personnel to fill their ranks. Work can involve security at festivals and large events as well as looking after high-profile clients such as football teams. Average pay is around £35,000.