Filipinos place a great deal of importance on education. I’m even willing to bet that a good percentage of the remittances that we process goes towards the tuition fees for quite a few of the country’s most prestigious universities.
So, what’s the deal with higher education in the Philippines? A lot of families will scrimp and save so that their kids can attend a good school, simply because a diploma from one is still one of the most reliable ways to land a good job here. Quite a few parents also hope that their children’s chances of successfully migrating abroad will increase if they’re armed with the right degree.
One of the best things about Australia, however, is that it’s actually possible to score a job with decent pay even if you didn’t go to college. The following gigs, for instance, are all in demand, pay rather well, and largely require experience and practical skills gained on the job as opposed to a diploma:
1. Air Transport Professionals.
Yep, you don’t need to go to college to be able to fly a plane.
Being a transport professional does require serious dedication and studying, however. Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority strictly requires all aspiring Commercial Pilot License (CPL) holders to pass a series of examinations and to rack up at least 200 hours of flying time. The road to being an air transport pilot is even more grueling; you would need to study and take exams for subjects like meteorology, aerodynamics, and air law, in addition to accumulating at least 1,500 flying hours.
The rewards are pretty commensurate with the challenges, though. Those who manage to pursue a career in this field can expect to earn up to AU$56,000-AU$285,000 per year.
2. Construction Managers.
Unlike in the Philippines, where construction workers are largely overworked and underpaid due to their lack of higher education, construction managers in Australia are highly respected and adequately compensated.
Seeing a construction project through from start to finish requires a diverse cachet of skills, but if you’ve got pretty good leadership skills, project management capabilities, and a working knowledge of construction practices, you can expect to net as much as AU$123,504 per annum – even if you didn’t study engineering or architecture back in college.
3. Crane, Hoist, and Lift Operators.
The construction industry is the third highest earning industry in Australia, so those assigned to some of the most dangerous jobs in the field can expect to earn some pretty big bucks.
Operating cranes and lifts is quite risky, so the job comes with an average annual salary of AU$104,023 for employees and AU$124,682 for management.
How do you qualify? First, you would need to complete a crane operator traineeship and obtain a License to Perform High Risk Work. Knowing your way around mechanical vehicles, being exceptionally coordinated with your movements, and not being fazed by dizzying heights helps too.
Entrepreneurship can be one of the most terrifying career paths to embark on precisely because there is no road map. You can go to the best business school out there and still end up making zilch, while college dropouts stand to make monumental fortunes with the right combination of talent, courage, and luck.
If there ever was a field where hands-on experience beats textbook learning any day, this would be it. The skill set you would need to succeed as an entrepreneur or as a startup founder might vary depending on the industry you find yourself in, but effective communication skills, a vast network, and a good head for figures would always be a plus.
5. Gas, Petroleum, and Oil Power Plant Operators.
Okay, so the biggest winners in this industry are still the highly-educated engineers and geoscientists, but plant operators without college degrees still stand to make a killing, around AU$75,000-AU$120,000 annually, to be precise.
In lieu of a diploma, mechanical skills, sharp mathematical abilities, and the physical strength to withstand the demands of the job are all that’s needed to get your foot in this door.
6. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Professionals.
Given how dynamic the ICT industry is, it’s no surprise that the ability to keep learning and to think on your feet trumps any number of degrees here.
The diversity of careers in this industry (there is a demand for managerial positions like chief information officer or chief technological officer as well as for business analysts and security architects), along with the potential salary range of AU$40,000- AU$350,000 every year, also makes this field so appealing.
Factor in how quickly new technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things are emerging, and an ICT gig suddenly presents a hell of a lot of job security.
By now, you may have noticed that the highest salary bracket in just about every industry is generally reserved for the uppermost echelons of management. Lower level managers might expect to make around AU$50,000 a year, but depending on which industry you’re in, you can probably collect an annual paycheck of more than AU$300,000 the higher up the ladder you go.
But guess what? The best managers aren’t always the ones with the shiniest degrees, but those with excellent leadership skills and astonishing industry expertise.
And how do they usually acquire those? Through years and years of experience.
8. Mining Professionals.
The Australian mining industry might be at a standstill, but that certainly hasn’t affected its ability to generate huge paydays for its employees, specifically within the range of around AU$56,000 to AU$300,000.
Engineers and geologists working in this field obviously still need to have a degree, but that’s not the case for the mechanics, laborers, and drivers who have the practical skills and experience to compensate.
Work in the mining industry requires a strong stomach, however. The hours can be long and erratic, and the shifting work sites might require you to temporarily resettle elsewhere. Then, there are the physical demands of the job as well: muscle strength is obviously a necessity, along with the ability to bear extreme temperatures.
Even rarer than successful entrepreneurs are individuals who make a name for themselves based on pure, often artistic talent, but boy is this a great gig if you can get it.
As with entrepreneurs, annual takings vary wildly, but becoming an award-winning pop star, for example, could earn you a whopping AU$170 million in just one year.
Whew. Time to warm up those vocal chords then.
10. Work, Health, and Safety (WHS) Professionals.
Right, remember how industries like construction, mining, and gas/oil/petroleum are steadily growing? That basically equates to a higher demand for employees, which in turn, translates into more warm bodies to make the workplace more secure for.
Enter the increasing demand for this niche skill set, so much so that WHS managers have reported raking in approximately AU$110,000 to AU$200,000 each year.
Yet, despite its specialist-sounding title, this job doesn’t require a college degree, but rather, a VET qualification as proof of your thorough understanding of the government’s ethical and legal guidelines for the workplace in question.
Of course, this isn’t to say that getting these jobs (or any form of legal employment for that matter) Down Under would be easy. To get the temporary skills shortage (TSS) visa that you would need to be considered to begin with, you’d still need at least two (2) years’ worth of experience in a particular skilled occupation. You would also need a certification that your English language skills are up to scratch.
Still, the fact that someone without a degree in higher education can make something of themselves in Australia is encouraging. Admittance to a top-ranked university might be a privilege for the select few, but the capacity for hard work and commitment is something that each of us has, regardless of our socio-economic standing.