High-flying jobs that don’t need a degree

Exams may not be the key to a high salary
Exams may not be the key to a high salary

Flunking your A-Levels could be the best thing to happen to your finances. Kids spend their childhood being told that in order to get a good job, they need to work hard at school and go to university. However, a new study has revealed that it's perfectly possible to take another route and make a fortune.

See also: 47% of students 'consider themselves university customers'

See also: High earners most likely to be men with university education, study finds

University students clearly have the upper hand when it comes to jobs like teaching, going into medicine or joining a law firm. However, in order to get to that point they will have spent the previous five years sitting endless exams, studying like mad, and running up an average student debt of £32,220.

Those who leave school after their GCSEs have a number of alternatives, which may end up paying far more than something like teaching. In fact, figures from the Office for National Statistics show that nearly a third (29%) of graduates earn less than those who entered work via an apprenticeship rather than a degree.

Jobs site Indeed has highlighted five well-paid non-graduate roles.

1. Construction manager, average salary £53,118
2. Maintenance manager, average salary £38,675
3. Fitness manager, average salary £34,374
4. Executive assistant, average salary £33,150
5. Pilot, average salary £32,691

Mariano Mamertino, EMEA economist at Indeed, argues: ''This data proves that choosing not to go onto university does not automatically mean a lower salary. Although all the roles in our list do require some form of training, they don't require a degree. Our figures suggest there is still a 'graduate premium', with graduates frequently earning more than those without a degree. But while having a degree typically increases your earning potential, the cost of gaining one is substantial. As a result many school-leavers will be asking themselves whether the sums of doing a degree add up."

Would it work for your family?

In fact, these figures are just the start of it. Clearly there are plenty of pilots making well over £100,000 a year. Likewise, any one of these managers who takes the risk, and starts a business of their own in their specialist area, can easily take home three-times as much cash.

There are any number of tycoons from Richard Branson to Theo Paphitis who have made immense fortunes without the benefit of any formal qualifications. They demonstrate that while education is part of the jigsaw while you are young, it is only one of many things that dictates your earning potential.

With the right attitude, approach to risk, ambition and drive, there's no reason at all why education should come into it at all.

It means that rather than young people simply passing their A-Levels and considering what to study at university, they should be having a far more comprehensive think about their future - the kinds of jobs they may want to do, whether they need a degree to get that job, and whether they are the kind of person who needs a degree to get on.

But what do you think? Do these roles appeal? Is it easy for kids to make serious cash without a degree? Or will a university education always seem like the least risky solution - regardless of what it costs? Let us know in the comments.