8 Great Careers You Don’t Need A Degree For
When I first arrived in Singapore five years ago, I was taken aback at how high the expectation was to achieve degree level education.
I would meet with many candidates that had worked hard to gain a diploma, yet were still driving towards the ultimate goal of securing a degree, as they believed without one, it meant they wouldn't amount to much.
An interesting statistic in London shows that 29% of graduates are earning less than those who skipped university and went straight into work. With more and more millennial's globally opting to head straight to work vs staying in full time education, I wanted to highlight some fantastic career opportunities available to those that are keen to enter the workforce, without a degree.
No degree, no problem!
If you’re obsessed with all things digital, then a job in the booming tech industry might just be the one for you. While a degree might be something that looks good on paper, in reality, it’s an industry that moves so quickly that many things you learn at uni will become irrelevant, or even obsolete, once our favourite tech companies have released their latest updates - so new tactics are required. A real, practical knowledge of how digital works is way more important in this field than a degree.
Now comes the bad news – you will likely have to start your career in a series of internships that could well be unpaid to start with, which might mean your career might feel like it's taking longer to get off the ground than others. But, once you’ve shown your worth, working your way up the ladder could see your earning potential end up being higher than most.
While a good command of the English language is a necessity, a formal degree isn't. Just look at many of the famous writers of our time, who started their careers in journalism for various magazines. An ability to write and an eye for a good story is a must, but it’s possible to break into the industry without that all-important piece of paper. Unfortunately, a career as a writer doesn’t pay well in the early years and you’ll often find yourself doing work for free or very low pay, but according to glassdoor, the average journalist salary is around $5,000 per month, and can go much higher if you’re promoted to editor.
What, you thought I wasn't going to take the opportunity to plug my own industry?! The recruitment industry is brimming with people that come from all different walks of life. Some are Graduates, but others are ex-industry professionals. Take our most successful Private Banking Consultant, he used to be a Private Banker himself! Pretty impressive right? Then there are others like me, that don't have a degree (I finished full time education at 15), but have a passion for meeting people, running my own business, mentoring and coaching others - as well a big drive to make money! If you're interested in a career in recruitment, please do reach out to me, I would love to discuss the opportunities with you.
If you’ve got a knack for writing and are bursting with creativity, but don’t fancy the long unsociable hours that can come with being a journalist, then marketing might just be the one for you. Internships and apprenticeships in junior roles are a great place to start and will help you work out what sector you want to specialise in – do you see yourself as more of a writer, or a researcher? This way, you’ll figure out what field of expertise you’re likely to thrive in.
If you’ve always wanted to make those hand gestures that point out where a plane’s exits are, then this could be your calling – and luckily, it comes with no requirement for a degree. It is a lot harder than just pointing at plane doors obviously, and you’ll have to go through rigorous training and exams to earn your spot, so it will require some school qualifications. You’ll complete a specific course with your chosen airline, which usually involves an intense training process, complete with online assessments and lessons in a classroom. Cabin crew have a good starting salary – and the chance to travel all over the world, of course.
Firefighters And Police
While you’ll likely need a lot of guts to tackle these career fields, you won’t need a degree - but these jobs in particular do require you to go through a lot of specific training. Their assessments are based around whether you have the right characteristics to become a public servant, testing you on your ability to learn facts and procedures quickly, whilst also ensuring you are able to remain calm in the face of potentially dangerous situations.
For more creative industries, experience is often favoured over qualifications – the only way you’re going to learn is by doing, right? Again, fashion is one of those careers that’s oh-so fabulous once you’ve made it, but you have to be willing to put in the work and make your way up from the very bottom – which often means doing jobs for free. In this industry, it’s all about building that portfolio – eventually, you’ll have good connections and a strong representation of your hard work.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually need a business or maths degree to become an accountant – but you will need to undergo some other exams in order to qualify in the long run. Start your career as an accounts assistant, with a good mentor at the top, you can train up to an accountant role, then carry out your training while you're working. Again, like any career, you'll have to put in the grunt work, but with salaries for a financial director paying up to and exceeding $18,000 per month, remind us why we're not all accountants again?