Here’s How Much Money You can Earn Without A University Degree

University used to be mandatory to reach the life you want to live, have opportunities, receive a good salary and move up through a company.

Now, things have changed.

University has become a drawn-out and expensive ordeal, often focusing more on theory than hands-on teaching. Spending at least four years at university used to mean a guaranteed career, but with so many people going to university, the value of a degree has become diluted, leaving them underemployed with huge student loans. It’s no wonder people have begun looking for better routes.

Meanwhile, there are careers and education options that may be less obvious but still offer the flexibility, opportunity, income and mobility a university degree used to guarantee.

All careers offer something different like work/life balance, promotion potential, geographic flexibility, time flexibility and more. However, the one question many people want to know if they choose not to go to university is: how much money can I earn without a university degree?

Take a look at some of these highly in-demand careers, none of which require a university degree, and see what your earning potential is:


AU$49,904 - AU$80,804

Being a chef is a wonderful blend of creativity, physical activity and a profession that is highly lucrative for chefs with good personal networks who prove themselves in the kitchen. This is the type of career where you can prove yourself daily.

People will always be eating and, with fewer people cooking at home, the demand for chefs should continue to grow. Whether you want to be a chef in your hometown or travel the world, just you and your knife set, you’ll find work anywhere people are eating so you are never limited to one place.

If you dream of owning your own cafe, bar or restaurant, becoming a chef can give you the experience and skills necessary to order ingredients properly, build a menu, manage a budget, hire and train staff and much more. This is how many celebrity chefs got their start, from Emeril Lagasse to Gordon Ramsay to Wolfgang Puck and many more.

Hotel Manager

AU$45,265 - AU$90,504

Someone has to keep all the 5-star resorts running smoothly! That’s where a hotel manager comes in, making decisions about staff, events, decor, training, marketing and much more.  

Just like being a chef, working as a hotel manager means worldwide opportunity. Whether you work for a boutique hotel or a company like Sofitel, earning potential is high and jobs are available in cities large or small. Hotels depend upon skilled hotel managers to make every guest’s stay enjoyable and comfortable.

If you enjoy hosting your friends, making sure people have a great time and working in an environment with a constant flow of fresh faces and new experiences each day, a hospitality job may be the perfect career fit for you.

Small Business Owner

AU$47,623 - AU$159,167

Small business owners and entrepreneurs strike out on their own, take risks, employ people and create value for their customers. As many as 4.7 million Australians work for small business owners, making their job as an entrepreneur very important.

If you enjoy working for yourself, taking risks that can pay off big time, creating opportunities for others and working really hard, becoming a small business owner may be your ideal path. Small business owners need to know a lot of information and have many skills as they’re usually in charge of handling everything from accounting to hiring to budgeting to marketing and much more. The job requires constant learning to stay ahead of your competitors and the market.

The risk and long hours can pay off, however, with serious earning potential well into the six figures and higher. Entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Ariana Huffington are just a few examples of entrepreneurs who worked hard and won big and there are many others who, though they’re not billionaires, are in full control of their livelihood, career and income and make very comfortable salaries.

Event Manager

AU$47,624 - AU$83,220

Remember the last festival or huge event you attended? There was a team of people in charge of every detail and decision that made it a huge success, from the catering to the venue to the marketing and more.

Events are used by brands to promote products and services or by individuals to celebrate weddings, birthdays and other milestones and you can find opportunities with companies and individuals alike. Being an event manager means ensuring the whole event goes well, from the initial planning to coordinating with vendors and venues through to the actual event. Some event managers may work on one or two big events a year or many smaller events. Whether they’re leading a music festival, a corporate conference or a wedding, they’re the ones in charge of many aspects and lead a team to pull off an unforgettable occasion while creatively solving problems and remaining organized.

Event managers, especially since future generations are keen to spend money on experiences and events instead of things, will surely remain in demand. Events happen all over the world and event managers can expect plenty of travel to scout out venues, meet teams and work with their clients.

How do I get one of these jobs?

Every one of these jobs, though none require a degree, will have different paths and ways of achieving them. Like most jobs, having a solid network, working hard, making good impressions, taking risks and being the best at what you do will make you more likely to succeed.

Those who want to grow and progress in their career to earn more money and have more say about their job will likely need some certifications, training and education, though not the type of education that will take years and years to complete like university.

One way to get the training and certifications you need is through an accredited Registered Training Organization, an institution that passes rigorous standards and offers instruction from industry experts, sometimes offering on-the-job training.

University is no longer the only way to live the life you dream about and if you’re ready to learn, grow and succeed, there is a world of opportunity out there awaiting you.

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