Lists of high paying jobs without a degree

Updated March 23, 2017

Although there is certainly a correlation between a degree and high income, a university education isn't the only road to wealth. Numerous high-paying jobs can be held by people with less education than a three-year degree or even with no higher education. What's more, people entering these careers can get started on professional-level earnings years earlier than their contemporaries who are seeking degrees.


A career in sales may not require a degree or even a strong set of GCSEs. A sales professional needs to have excellent communication skills, a compelling personality, empathy and heaps of self-control. Hourly or bonus-based sales positions are available, but the real money is in commission-only sales. For positions with hourly pay and commission, the starting salary is between £15,000 and £20,000 plus commission, according to the National Careers Service, but commission-only pay can increase this markedly.

Web designer

Although most companies that hire staff web designers require them to hold a degree, there's still room in the market for freelancers whose resume consists of experience rather than education. The key to making yourself marketable as a web designer is to develop a portfolio of active websites for potential clients to observe and be impressed by. In most cases, you would be doing one-shot website gigs for new clients every few weeks or months. The average salary for this work was £30,000 in 2014, according to the National Careers Service, but can increase to £37,500 with experience.


Training for a trade such as electrician, plumber or air-conditioning repair person typically takes one to four years after school. However, in most cases you are paid as an assistant during your training. Once finished, a tradesperson will command more than £13 an hour in most cases while working for an employer. On her own, a tradesperson may be able to clear six figures annually.


The easiest way to overcome employer prejudice against people with little formal education is to hire yourself. Owning your own business can net you millions of dollars each year. On the flip side, you can lose just as much overnight. The key to being an entrepreneur is to develop your product idea first, then go out on a limb and quit your day job. If you're smart, good and lucky you can make a lot of money on your own.

bibliography-icon icon for annotation tool Cite this Article

About the Author

Beverlee Brick began writing professionally in 2009, contributing to various websites. Prior to this, she wrote curriculum and business papers in four different languages. As a martial arts and group fitness instructor, she has taught exercise classes in North America, Europe and Asia. She holds master's degrees in French literature and education.