It often happens that someone with a technical qualification from a college ends up earning more than someone with a general academic degree from a university. This is because there is a specific set of technical skills in high demand in South Africa that will allow you to earn a lucrative salary if you have the right certification, experience, and training.

Here is a list of the top 10 highest-paying careers you can go into without a university degree*:

10. Land surveyor: up to R35 000 per month

Assistant or junior land surveyors do not initially earn that much, but with sufficient experience in construction and a National Diploma, a person in this role can earn anything from R25 000 to R35 000 per month.

9. Millwright: up to R35 000 per month

With experience in a production environment, and a National Diploma and Trade Test certification in this field, you can earn a substantial salary as a millwright.

Find out more about studying a Millwright Course here: Millwright Courses.

8. Electrical technician: up to R38 000 per month

An experienced and qualified electrical technician can earn a very good salary. Enrolling for a National Qualification in Electrical Engineering via distance learning will give you the opportunity to start gaining part-time work experience while you complete your qualification before you go on to earn your Trade Test certification.

7. Rigger: up to R40 000 per month

A rigger requires a relevant National Diploma and Trade Test certification to find work. Once you start working and gaining experience in this profession, however, you will be able to build a well-paying career.

6. Executive assistant: up to R40 000 per month

With a secretarial qualification under the belt, some relevant experience, and the essential skills, you can earn up to R40 000 per month as an executive assistant to a CEO.

5. HR manager: up to R40 000 per month

As an HR representative, you might not initially earn that much more than any other employee, but become an HR manager, and you will be one of the best-paid white-collar professionals that are not necessarily required to have a university degree.

4. Instrument technician: up to R40 000 per month

Instrument technicians often step into high-paying entry-level positions. And after 5 to 10 years’ experience, the salary could amount to as much as R40 000 per month.

3. Web developer: up to R50 000 per month

While a qualification never hurts, web developers rely mostly on proven skills and experience. That said, an accredited qualification or professional certification can be useful to verify your skills to an employer or client. Either way, you could earn up to around R50 000 per month in this position.

2. Software developer: up to R60 000 per month

Some companies require you to have a degree for high-end software development, but professionals in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector are in such high demand that skilled employees generally do not struggle to secure well-paying jobs. With a relevant computer programming qualification, you can easily do well for yourself — with senior software developers earning up to R60 000 per month.

1. Sales manager: R10 000 – R75 000 per month

With plenty of experience and good managerial training, a sales manager can earn up to R75 000 a month in South Africa.

*This list uses data from Career Junction Index, Payscale, and Salaryexplorer. The salary estimates were taken from actual jobs advertised in South Africa. It should be noted, however, that these numbers might not necessarily reflect average salaries in these professions.

Those who earn even more

Highest-paying careers - those who earn even more

The people who earn the most in South Africa are not on this list. And they aren’t doctors or engineers with 8-year university degrees, either.

The people who earn the most are business owners, CEOs, Executive Directors, and Sales Directors. They take in hundreds of thousands each month.

What is important to know about these people is that most of them got to where they are by working hard, working smart, and working their way up. No degree can be used as a substitute for this!

So remember: you don’t need a university degree to make a good living. You just need the right skills, the will to work hard, die-hard dedication, and a big dream.

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