In South Africa a university education is unfortunately unaffordable for many, hence the FeesMustFall movement that started in 2015 and gained momentum in 2016.According to this Parent24 article, just the first year of study for an average BCom Accounting student could cost up to R112 080 – which is a lot of money – especially when you consider that 47% of currently employed South Africans the new proposed minimum wage.


This means that many parents simply cannot afford to send their children to university even with a bursary, since there is just no money. Often they would need them to enter the workforce immediately to help put food on the table.It’s an unfortunate and harsh reality.But a university education is not the only tertiary education available.


Thanks to the folks over at Adzuna – a job aggregator site that lists all the SA jobs online and in one place, making it easier for job seekers to find the right role – we found these six high earning jobs that you can do without a university degree:

Developers, especially Java, C#, iOS, Android, and PHP:

Demand for good developers is high and salaries are good. And you don’t need a degree. In fact, while a diploma will come in handy, you can learn online or teach yourself. Salaries for experienced and talented developers hit R1,2M per year.

Digital marketing positions:

With a certificate from a digital training college, a good head on your shoulders and the right personality, you could get your foot in the door at a digital marketing company. With experience you could earn up to R720,000 per annum.

Flight attendant:

You could be earning the big bucks if you work for top airlines like Emirates (although this requires relocation to the Middle East), since the money earned is in dollars and not taxed, but if you’re looking to stay in SA, you can still earn up to R420 000 a year. To become a flight attendant, you can do a short course at places like Damelin.



If you work in the right restaurant (busy and expensive) and you’re prepared to do in-house training and work 60 to 70 hours per week, you could bring in around R30 000 – R40 000 per month in salary plus tips.

Real estate agent:

According to Realty Professionals, you could make anything from R100 000 – R500 000 per annum. To become a qualified estate agent you would need to start as an “intern agent” at any real estate agency under the supervision of a qualified agent or principal for a full 12 months during which time you are required to keep a logbook. Once your 12 months have been completed you will be allowed to complete the NQF 4 course which you can do online.

These “softer” jobs are great, but do not forget that you could make a lucrative career in one of the trades like construction, plumbing or as an electrician. According to, you start out as an apprentice after you’ve studied your trade and then work your way up. There’s also a shortage of plumbers abroad and you could make up to R30 000 – R60 000 per month in countries like England and Australia.

There are many opportunities for a career that doesn’t need a university degree. All you have to do is do the right research and find something you won’t regret choosing when you wake up in the morning.