It’s still an ongoing public dialogue about whether anything that graduates learned in universities actually helps them perform their jobs when they get hired. At some point, this discussion has led to questions about the value of a degree itself. Do university degrees match the skills required by employers to perform a job in a workplace? Is a degree still a requirement to get good quality jobs? What are the great Australian jobs that don’t require a university degree?

The data projected in the Skills Level Projection research by the Department of ESSFB showed that a university degree will continue to hold a significant value for future jobs, but so will vocational qualifications. The study showed that there are around 257,000 jobs expected to be added by 2023 that require Certificate II or III level of qualifications. Such vocational level reflects increasing employment in disability services, childcare and aged care industries.

Indeed, the international jobs website, gathered data from various job advertisements from 2018 to come up with a list of highest-paying Australian jobs that don’t need a degree. The research analysed salary offers that are more than the average Australian annual salary of $82,000 for roles that are open to non-graduates.

As it appears, construction managers top the list, earning a whopping $155,463 a year. That is about 90% above the national average salary.

“This data proves that choosing not to study at university after school does not automatically mean settling for a lower salary later in your career. Although most of the roles on our list do require some form of training, they are Australian jobs that don’t need a degree,” says Ricky Fritsch, Australia Managing Director at Indeed.

Fritsch added, “Our research should reassure parents and teenagers as they head into exam season at the end of the year that there are numerous routes into study and employment, and that high salaries are by no means exclusively the domain of those heading off to university next year.”

The table below lists down the top 10 best-paid jobs in 2018 that don’t require a degree.

Rank Job Title Average Salary
1 Construction Manager $155,463
2 Ethical Hacker $132,456
3 Pilot $105,222
4 Real Estate Agent $97,862
5 Software Engineer $91,214
6 HR Manager $90,902
7 Maintenance Manager $88,911
8 Environmental Health and Safety Officer $88,838
9 Sales Manager $88,828
10 Fitness Manager $86,372

Source: Indeed

According to the, other high-paying jobs that do not require tertiary qualifications include air traffic controllers ($143,571), miners ($116,056), train drivers ($114,125), crane operators ($91,649) and tanker drivers ($91,082).

In the coming years, high school leavers are given more alternative options when it comes to deciding on which career path to take. According to the data compiled by, many jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree are projected to grow in the next three years.

Here’s the list of the 8 fastest-growing Australian jobs that don’t need a university degree.

1. Aged and Disabled Care Workers
Qualification: Certificate III in Individual Support (Aged Care)
Average Aged Care Salary: $40,600
Extra Aged Care Workers Needed: 77,400
Job Description: These roles are required to provide general support, household and emotional assistance. These type of carers need to be able to show care and companionship for their patients. They often practice preventive medicine measures like preventative dental care to protect the elderly and disabled population against oral diseases. These positions can be emotionally, physically and mentally demanding.

2. Child Carers
Qualification: Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
Average Aged Care Salary: $38,700
Extra Aged Care Workers Needed: 25,800
Job Description: Soft skills and emotional intelligence are the most crucial aspect of making sure that the children in your care are properly attended to. The primary responsibility of this job is to ensure the mental, social and emotional development of the children. A full-time Child Carer has an annual salary of approximately $41,000.

3. Sales Assistant
Qualification: Certificate III in Customer Engagement
Average Aged Care Salary: $40,500
Extra Aged Care Workers Needed: 24,900
Job Description: General sales assistant will remain in demand as the economy develops. This role is ideal for someone who is looking for flexible work or entry-level positions without having a degree.

4. Administration Officers
Qualification: Certificate IV in Business
Average Aged Care Salary: $50,500
Extra Aged Care Workers Needed: 22,200
Job Description: These roles require the officers to be organised, able to work independently and have good management skills. People skills are also an essential qualification for general clerks because they may have to represent the company and answer customer enquiries. Administration officers are needed in various industries, from corporate offices to power plant industries.

5. Education Support Workers
Qualification: Certificate III in Education Support
Average Aged Care Salary: $41,500
Extra Aged Care Workers Needed: 21,900
Job Description: Education support workers assist teachers in the daily running of the classroom and provide support for students who require further attention. This role is ideal for someone who is looking at flexible work or for someone who wants to gain practical work experience in teaching.

6. Kitchen Hands
Qualification: Certificate III in Commercial Cookery
Average Aged Care Salary: $41,800
Extra Aged Care Workers Needed: 13,400
Job Description: This position assists kitchen staffs with food preparation and cleaning of dining and preparatory equipment. There will be venues that will support them with job training once they start with the role.

7. Nursing Support Workers
Qualification: Certificate III in Health Support Services
Average Aged Care Salary: $45,000
Extra Aged Care Workers Needed: 25,700
Job Description: The main task of nursing support and personal care workers is to ensure patients are comfortable, supported and properly looked after. These roles can range from working in a dental hygienist or radiation therapists practice as an assistant, to providing work in general nursing ward situations. The median salary depends on the number of work hours tendered.

8. Community Support Workers
Qualification: Diploma of Community Services
Average Aged Care Salary: $51,400
Extra Aged Care Workers Needed: 11,600
Job Description: A community support worker basically operates across various projects and specialities to ensure that welfare programs are properly running and implemented. The ability to research, evaluate and assess is the most highly in-demand qualities employers are looking for when hiring these roles. Additional required skills may include the ability to be versatile in construction trades and web development.

The figures presented could also be of help for high school leavers for weighing up the cost of prioritising having a university degree over obtaining vocational skills in order to get a job.

Attending a university doesn’t come cheap and having a degree doesn’t necessarily guarantee a good quality job. As Firtsch has put it, “While having a degree typically increases your earning potential over time, the cost of gaining one is substantial. And when you factor in that a significant number of graduates enter the workplace in non-graduate roles outside their field of study, having to work up the ladder and earn their spurs before they can get into higher-paid traditional graduate jobs, many school-leavers will be asking themselves whether the cost of doing a degree adds up.”

According to, a bachelor degree will cost from $20,000 upwards. Debt repayments for HECS, the federal government loan scheme to help students to pay for their degrees, will from 2019 kick in at an income level of $42,000 rather than the current $55,874.

Future of Work for Australian Graduates
TAFE Courses

(updated 2021)

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