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Work

Jobs paying more than $100k in 2021 that don't require a degree

Cameron Carpenter

Looking for a well-paid job but don't want to take out a massive student loan and spend three years at university?

There are some roles in Australia that can pay upwards of $100k and require no formal education.

But that doesn't mean studying won't be necessary. Many of these roles require extensive on-the-job training and certifications. It'll be well worth it, though; you'll be getting paid to learn and maybe even out-earn those with a degree.

So if your current job isn't paying you enough, or you're fresh out of high school and about to embark on your career, consider one of these high-paying jobs that don't require a degree.

Traffic controllers — also known as 'lollipop ladies'

Can earn between $60k and $100k per year depending on the job site‌‌‌‌

We've all seen the stories about some lollipop ladies earning $100k+ here in Australia, but are they really true?

It all depends on what state you're working in, how much overtime you do, and whether it's a union job.

According to data from Seek, the most common salary for a traffic controller in New South Wales and Victoria is between $80k and $100k per year. That drops down to between $45k and $55k in ACT and Queensland.

To become one, you'll need to take a state-approved traffic control training course that generally takes a day to complete.

Truck drivers

Interstate drivers can earn around $110k per year

Love driving and ever wish you could listen to podcasts for 12+ hours per day? Consider a career as a truck driver!

It's not for everyone given the extended periods of solitude, but there's no shortage of work right across Australia.

Truck drivers earning the big money often work the interstate route, which requires long stints away from home. According to Seek data, the average salary for interstate drivers is $110k per year.‌‌‌‌

Becoming a truckie starts with getting your heavy vehicle license through a truck driver training school. You can also get a start through a traineeship program with a transport company.

Mining sector

Fly-in fly-out (FIFO) roles earn $100k+ per year

You can make a fortune as a fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) worker in Australia's mining sector, and not only as a miner.

The sector needs cleaners, truck drivers, labourers, and even cooks for remote mining camps, and all the roles pay a hefty premium.

So what's the catch? Well, you'll be working thousands of miles away from the nearest city, often for weeks at a time, and in temperatures soaring past 40 degrees. ‌‌But while you work away from home, all your meals and accommodation are covered by your employer, cutting down your entire cost of living.

To get a job as a FIFO worker, search for opportunities on any job site and register with a mining employment agency.

Sales manager

Can earn $100k+ per year‌‌

Being able to generate sales is one of the most valuable skills anyone can have.

The opportunities are endless across various industries: software, real estate, media, vehicles, agriculture, and machinery. So if you have the gift of the gab, love people, and are willing to work hard, there is no limit to what you can earn.

Data from Seek shows that sales managers earn $110k per year on average. To become one, start out in a sales consultant role and work your way up to sales manager.

Air traffic controller

ATO data shows air traffic controllers earn an average of $141,795 per year

It's the job that could get you earning a six-figure salary from the get-go and without a degree or any experience.

But while this might sound simple, those wanting to become air traffic controllers have to pass a test — and only about three percent get through.

The test assesses your logical and numerical reasoning, pattern recognition, processing speed, and ability to visualise in three dimensions.

If you make it through the strict recruitment tests, you'll get paid to train, and on successful completion, begin a career as an air traffic controller.

Details about the next trainee intake are made available through the Air Services Australia website.

Tradies – carpenters, plumbers, and electricians

Self-employed carpenters, plumbers, and electricians earn between $102k and $110k per year, according to data from Service Seek

Carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. In Australia, it pays to work as a tradie!

Apprentices start on low pay — but at least you're getting paid to learn. And once the apprenticeship is over, the pay soars, especially for those who go on to start their businesses.‌‌

One of the best places to work in the trades in Western Australia, with workers on mining sites earning up to four times more than those in other states.

To become a tradie, complete your white card safety certification and apply through a group training organisation such as MasterBuilders to start your apprenticeship.

Military and defence

Can climb up the ranks to earn $100k+ per year‌‌

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) offers the opportunity to train for more than 200 roles across a wide variety of trades, professions, and military-specific positions in either the navy, army, or airforce.

All of the roles offer benefits that are hard to match in the civilian world, including subsidised accommodation, plus free medical and dental care.

You'll start on a low training wage, but the pay grows as you move up the ranks and complete more specialist training and leadership courses, soaring past $100k for senior positions.

No student loan is needed either; the ADF will pay for all your training and can even subsidise a university degree.

And if you decide to leave – all the skills and qualifications you earn can be transferred to a civilian role. Not a bad deal!

Did I miss anything? What do you think are the best-paying jobs in Australia without a degree? Join the discussion in the comments below.