The Highest Paid Jobs You Can Only Get With A Degree

Since university application numbers have risen and having a degree is becoming more common, people have started to question just how valuable it is. The argument goes, if everybody has a degree these days it doesn’t really put you at an advantage. Employers are also worried about the fact that graduates don’t have any real job experience. That’s why a lot of people believe that it’s better to go straight into work and progress during the years you’d normally spend at university, ultimately ending up in the same place as a graduate with the benefit of 3 years wages behind you and none of the debt that your university-going peers have to deal with. It’s a logical argument and in some cases, it’s true.

However, there are a lot of positions that you simply can’t get unless you’ve got a relevant degree. A lot of those jobs are also incredibly well-paid and you wouldn’t be able to get there without going to university. As a general rule, getting a degree is worth it if you absolutely need that degree to get the job you want. If you don’t necessarily need a degree, you could consider going straight into work but it’s still better to get that qualification a lot of the time. If you’re still not convinced by the value of a degree, check out this list of the highest paying jobs that you need a university degree for.

Petroleum Engineers

For now, we’re still using petroleum products to provide a huge chunk of the power that we use. As reserves become more and more scarce, the job of a petroleum engineer is becoming more important. They help to identify oil reserves and develop cheaper and safer ways to extract it from the earth. There are a few different roles you might take as a petroleum engineer; reservoir engineers analyze the landscape and decide on the best way to extract the oil; drilling engineers design and oversee the drilling equipment itself and production engineers manage the operation as a whole, making sure that it’s safe and cost effective. Your average salary as a petroleum engineer is likely to be between $102,000 and $176,000. The only thing to remember is that we are moving away from oil as a fuel source so in the next few decades, the amount of work may start to dry up. Having said that, you can still move into a new role in green energy when that happens.


Being a pilot is one of the most exciting jobs you can have. Travelling around the world and visiting a new country every single day, and getting paid for it at the same time sounds like a pretty sweet deal. If you think so, you’ll have to do aviation courses to get qualified. As a pilot, your work schedule will be fairly irregular and you’ll be spending a lot of time away from home so if you’ve got a family, it might not be the best fit for you. But all of those sacrifices are made worth it because you’ll be getting paid around $130,000 a year.

Aerospace Engineer

If you don’t fancy flying the planes but you’d like to help build and maintain them instead, why not consider a career in aerospace engineering? Aerospace engineers deal with all sorts of products, not just planes. You could help build satellites, military aircraft or even rockets. Every single component takes a huge amount of work so you’ll be a part of a large team of engineers all working on one aircraft. You can also specialize in repairs and maintenance as well, making sure that aircraft is safe to fly again. The average salary for an aerospace engineer ranges from $64,000 to $100,000 depending on which area you work on. The more complex areas like spacecraft will naturally pay more but you’ll need a lot more experience before you can get there.


The economy is a volatile and often unpredictable beast and if it crashes, it can leave a lot of people in serious trouble. Trying to maintain the economy and avoid any financial disasters is a tough job and you need people that can attempt to predict how it will respond to certain factors, that’s where economists come in. Economists are employed by all sorts of agencies including governments, banks, nonprofits and all sorts of other businesses. You’ve got a good choice of industries to work in and you’ll bring in somewhere between $51,000 and $97,000 depending which area you work in.

You can only land these jobs if you’ve got a degree so it’s worth considering before you write them off completely.

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