Last month, Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung expressed his belief that Singapore could one day have a Prime Minister who does not have a degree. While Singaporeans are well-aware that a degree is not a one-way ticket to success, the conviction that there are multiple pathways to a fulfilling career without a degree is perhaps not as strong.
But if we take a moment to look around us, we can see that there are indeed many well-paying and exciting careers that don’t require a degree for entering and excelling in. Here are 7 of our favourites.
# 1 Financial Adviser
Personal finance is a field that a large part of the population deem to be complex and difficult. In fact, financial advisers sometimes perpetuate this perception themselves. The pitch is that with so many insurance and investment products available, financial advisers are needed to help individuals make sense of it all.
Ironically, you do not need a degree in order to enter this ‘complex and difficult’ field. You do need to be 21 and above and have either GCE ‘A’ Level certificate with three H2 passes and two H1 passes; or an International Bacclaureate (IB) diploma; or a polytechnic diploma; or equivalent academic qualifications; and then pass modules 5 to 9A from the CMFAS Exam.
The generous entry requirements should by no means be seen as diminishing the immense value a good financial adviser provides, but it is undeniably a double-edged sword.
On one hand, it opens the doors for those who wish to pursue a career as a financial adviser. On the other hand, it also means that it might be hard for good agents to differentiate themselves from the competition who have just enough knowledge to pass the CMFAS papers and regurgitate sales routines they learnt.
# 2 Singapore Airlines Pilot/Cabin Crew
This is not to say that entry into the prestigious ranks of a Singapore Airlines pilot or cabin crew is easy – because it is not. You will need to undergo months of rigorous training and evaluation, and candidates dropping out is not uncommon. But if you’re willing to give it a shot, then the sky’s the limit!
# 3 Executive Chef
Singapore’s food and beverage scene is tough work, but offers good prospects for advancement and career progression. More senior positions in a restaurant or hotel kitchen like sous chefs, head chefs and executive chefs can command salaries of up to $5,000 to $10,000.
The skills that you pick up working in a
warzone kitchen are also not easily replaced, and can be invaluable if you decide to start your own food and beverage stall.
# 4 Commercial Diver
News reports of diving mishaps are bleak reminders of the dangers that commercial divers in Singapore face on a daily basis. But for those who love the sea and enjoy diving, then there really isn’t any job that compares to being a commercial diver.
According to news reports, experienced divers can earn about $10,000 a month, and there are also opportunities to travel overseas for diving assignments. These can be quite lucrative, with jobs in the Middle East going for around US$1,000 a day.
# 5 Automotive Mechanic
Singaporeans regularly bemoan the high cost of cars and of maintenance that their motor vehicles require. But as long as Singaporeans continue to drive, skilled mechanics will always be in demand.
There is a shortage of Singaporean mechanics, who turns out can enjoy a rewarding career with good progression. After starting out as a rookie mechanic, they can become a senior mechanic and then a manager, earning around $5,000 a month.
# 6 Property Agent
A degree is not necessary to take the CEA certification to be a licensed real estate agent in Singapore. This might be tempting for those who are drawn to the commissions that property agents earn from each successful deal. But prospective candidates should speak to those who are already in this line to understand more about the business and what it takes to succeed in it.
A property agent today needs a multitude of skills, including being a great communicator, an effective digital marketer, and even being a good photographer and copy writer. Learning never stops.
# 7 Prime Minister
One of the highest paid ministers in the world, Singapore’s Prime Minister earns more than $2 million a year.
As Education Minister Ong Ye Kung observed, there is nothing to stop a non-degree holder from becoming the Prime Minister of Singapore. Theoretically, you just need to elected by the people in your constituency, and then garner the consensus and command the respect of the majority of parliament.
That’s possible on paper, but there is only one vacancy that only opens every 5 years, if the incumbent does not wish to continue. Perhaps you’ll be better off looking at the other jobs on this list.
Acquiring In-Demand Skills
As you can see, there are plenty of careers in Singapore that you can pursue, even without a degree. Having the skills that are in-demand by the job market is increasingly important.
As more companies update their hiring policies to give them access to a wider talent pool, the multitude of paths to success in Singapore will only continue to expand.
DollarsAndSense.sg aims to provide interesting, bite-sized financial articles that are relevant to all Singaporeans. Subscribe to our free e-newsletter to receive exclusive content not available anywhere else. Also follow us on Instagram to get your dose of finance knowledge visually.