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The jobs with six-figure salaries that don’t require a university degree

Jobs that don’t require a university degree are typically paying six-figure salaries, new tax office data shows.

They are not the nation’s top-paying jobs – after many years of studying and practising medicine, brain surgeons earn an average salary of $553,569.

That is more than Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on $549,250.

Plastic surgeons, meanwhile, are on typical salaries of $475,081, making more than lifesaving heart surgeons on $464,243 and judges on $423,945.

But it’s still possible to earn an above-average salary with only a vocational qualification without the need to spend years at university.

New Australian Taxation Office data for 2019-20 showed railway station managers had average taxable incomes of $109,123.

This was significantly higher than the average tax salary of $63,882, covering both full and part-time workers.

Jobs that don’t require a university degree are typically paying six-figure salaries, new tax office data shows. New Australian Taxation Office data for 2019-20 showed railway station managers had average taxable incomes of $109,123 (pictured is Strathfield train station in Sydney)

The federal government’s Your Career website describes railway station management as ‘stressful’ and noted future demand for the job was in decline, especially with more professionals able to work from home.

Australia’s best paid jobs

NEUROSURGEON (BRAIN DOCTOR): $553,569 

OPTHALMOLOGIST (EYE DOCTOR): $520,966

PLASTIC SURGEON: $475,081 

CARDIOLOGIST (HEART SURGEON): $464,243 

JUDGE: $423,945 

DIAGNOSTIC RADIOLOGIST: $417,050 

The Victorian government’s Rail Academy site advised those wanting to become train station managers to prepare to put in 40 to 44 hours a week, including at night, weekends and public holidays.

Railway jobs in general are well-paid with signal operators getting $117,308 while train drivers make $118,873.

In another transport-related job, air traffic controllers had average salaries of $150,132, with this occupation requiring a Diploma of Aviation.

Helicopter pilots had average pay of $123,481, requiring attendance at a flight school to obtain a licence.

They were far from the only jobs that don’t require a degree but still make more than a university lecturer on an average salary of $110,857 or a barrister on $138,904.

Dredge operators working on marine construction projects had average salaries of $139,522.

Paper mill operators were paid $102,176 while crane operators on construction sites made $104,692.

Coal miners have average salaries of $124,550, compared with $150,442 for power plant operators running the coal-fired electricity generator.

Bank managers had average taxable salaries of $144,595, with this occupation requiring a Certificate IV in Financial Services.

Railway jobs are well-paid with signal operators getting $117,308 while train drivers (Queensland Rail operator, pictured) make $118,873

Railway jobs are well-paid with signal operators getting $117,308 while train drivers (Queensland Rail operator, pictured) make $118,873

They make even more than dentists, on $131,773. 

But with the big banks closing branches, as customers do more transactions online, there are fewer long-term career paths for bank managers.

Nonetheless, the SEEK jobs website on Tuesday had 657 vacancies for bank managers. 

Other managers also earn six-figure salaries, with construction site managers on $117,043, which is comparable with school principals on $130,142 and advertising managers on $110,044.

Police inspectors are typically paid $120,310. 

Those who fancy themselves as TV presenters or announcers can command an average taxable salary of $136,410 but the media industry is intensely competitive, with employment dependent on ratings and advertising revenue.

Police inspectors are typically paid $120,310 (pictured are recent police graduates at Goulburn in southern NSW)

Police inspectors are typically paid $120,310 (pictured are recent police graduates at Goulburn in southern NSW)

In another transport-related job, air traffic controllers had average salaries of $150,132, with this occupation requiring a Diploma of Aviation (pictured are Qantas planes at Sydney airport)

In another transport-related job, air traffic controllers had average salaries of $150,132, with this occupation requiring a Diploma of Aviation (pictured are Qantas planes at Sydney airport)

Journalists usually need to have a communications degree from a university but on-air personalities have been employed after obtaining a diploma.

Australia’s best paid bureaucrats

National Broadband Network Co chief executive Stephen Rue: $2,647,974

Snowy Hydro chief executive Paul Broad: $2,249,978

Australia Post’s former acting CEO Rodney Boys: $1,871,932

Australian Rail Track Corporation CEO Mark Campbell: $1,186,727

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe: $1,076,029

Chief of the Defence Force Angus Campbell: $1,034,315

Defence Secretary Greg Moriarty: $963,428

Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary Glyn Davis: $944,829*

Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy: $922,022

Home Affairs Secretary Mike Pezzullo: $912,422

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Secretary Kathryn Campbell*: $874,288

Department of Energy, Science, Energy and Resources Secretary David Fredericks: $817,762

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese: $549,250

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles: $433,063

Treasurer Jim Chalmers: $396,094

Foreign Minister Penny Wong: $369,688

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher: $364,406

Sources: Remuneration Tribunal, annual reports

* Based on terms of their predecessor

Television journalists had average taxable salaries of $107,918, with this role covering reporters in front of the camera and producers behind the scenes.

They often interview economists, who have average salaries of $147,358, but they need to have a degree in economics.

Those with analytical skills can also become accountants with managers of a practice having average salaries of $109,724.

Those in this field usually have a Bachelor of Accounting from university, followed by either an accreditation as a CPA – Certified Practising Accountant – or a Chartered Accountant.

Individual tax returns every year and quarterly business activity statements are the most common tasks for accountants but others in this field can specialise in insolvency, where they work out what a distressed company owes creditors. 

In a related field auditors, who examine the financial records of companies, command average taxable incomes of $142,922.

Most people in this field have a university degree but to practise, they need to be a Certified Internal Auditor. 

Those who are very good at mathematics can become an actuary, where they evaluate risk and calculate insurance premiums.

This specialty requires a university degree, but the average pay is $194,613. 

The big money, however, is in finance broking with investment brokers having average taxable pay of $269,064 in a role where they help clients obtain finance.

Those in this role can obtain a Certificate IV in finance and mortgage broking. 

Futures traders had an even higher average salary of $290,942 while stock brokers had even higher pay of $306,518.

Financial investment managers made more again, with average pay of $331,812.

They made even more than mining engineers on $185,568. 

In the field of medicine, the suburban general practitioner typically made $175,731 a year. 

But those who become specialists make considerably more, with neurosurgeons, who do brain operations, making $553,569.

This was the only profession where the average salary was more than Mr Albanese’s $549,250 remuneration running the nation.

Other managers also earn six-figure salaries, with construction site managers (pictured is a building site worker in Sydney) on $117,043, which is comparable with school principals on $130,142 and advertising managers on $110,044

Other managers also earn six-figure salaries, with construction site managers (pictured is a building site worker in Sydney) on $117,043, which is comparable with school principals on $130,142 and advertising managers on $110,044

But opthalmologists, or eye doctors, were up there on $520,966. 

Ear nose and throat surgeons, formally known as otorhinolaryngologists, typically earned $502,800.

Plastic surgeons weren’t far behind on $475,081.

They made more than heart surgeons, also known as cardiologists, who typically earned $464,243 while orthopaedic surgeons, operating on the back, were paid $436,407.

Anaesthetists in the operating theatre had average salaries of $388,814.

Cancer doctors, known as oncologists, made $321,360.

Gastroenterologists who specialise in intestinal problems were typically paid $401,912.

Urologists, who specialise in men’s reproductive health, made $442,091 compared with gynaecologists on $363,453.

Paediatricians on average earned $240,800 as doctors specialising in the health of children, compared with $252,691 for psychiatrists.

Bank managers had average taxable salaries of $144,595, with this occupation requiring a Certificate IV in Financial Services (pictured is a Commonwealth Bank branch in Sydney)

Bank managers had average taxable salaries of $144,595, with this occupation requiring a Certificate IV in Financial Services (pictured is a Commonwealth Bank branch in Sydney)

Jobs with average, six-figure pay

TRAIN STATION MANAGER: Average taxable salary of $109,123

TRAIN DRIVER: Average taxable salary of $118,873 

BANK MANAGER: Average taxable salary of $144,595 

TELEVISION PRESENTER: Average taxable salary of $136,410 

TELEVISION JOURNALIST: Average taxable salary of $107,918 

ACCOUNTANT MANAGER: Average taxable salary of $109,724

AUDITOR: Average taxable salary of $142,922

FINANCIAL BROKER (INVESTMENTS): Average taxable salary of $269,064

FINANCIAL BROKER (FUTURES TRADER): Average taxable salary of $290,942

FINANCIAL BROKER (STOCK BROKER): Average taxable salary of $306,018

FINANCIAL INVESTMENT MANAGER: Average taxable salary of $331,812

ACTUARY: Average taxable salary of $194,613

ECONOMIST: Average taxable salary of $147,358 

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: Average taxable salary of $150,132

HELICOPTER PILOT: Average taxable salary of $123,481

TOWN PLANNER: Average taxable salary of $100,830

MINING ENGINEER: Average taxable salary of $185,568 

UNIVERSITY LECTURER: Average taxable salary of $110,857 

DENTIST: Average taxable salary of $131,773 

GENERAL PRACTITIONER: Average taxable salary of $175,731 

ANAESTHETIST: Average taxable salary of $388,814

CARDIOLOGIST:  Average taxable salary of $464,243

CLINICAL HAEMATOLOGIST: Average taxable salary of $285,212 

ONCOLOGIST: Average taxable salary of $321,360

GASTROENTEROLOGIST:  Average taxable salary of $401,912

PAEDIATRICIAN: Average taxable salary of $240,800 

NEUROSURGEON: Average taxable salary of $553,569 

ORTHOPAEDIC SURGEON: Average taxable salary of $436,407 

OTHORHINOLARYNGOLISTS (EAR, NOSE, THROAT SURGEON): Average taxable salary of $502,800 

PLASTIC SURGEON: Average taxable salary of $475,081 

UROLOGIST: Average taxable salary of $442,091 

GYNAECOLOGIST: Average taxable salary of $363,453

OPTHALMOLOGIST (EYE DOCTOR):  Average taxable salary of $520,966

DIAGNOSTIC RADIOLOGIST: Average taxable salary of $417,050

PSYCHIATRIST: Average taxable salary of $252,691 

BARRISTER: Average taxable salary of $138,904

JUDGE: Average taxable salary of $423,945 

DREDGE OPERATORS: Average taxable salary of $139,522 

RAILWAY SIGNAL OPERATOR: Average taxable salary of $117,308

PAPER MILL OPERATOR: Average taxable salary of $102,176  

CRANE OPERATOR: Average taxable salary of $104,692 

COAL MINER: Average taxable salary of $124,550

SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: Average taxable salary of $130,142 

IT CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER: Average taxable salary of $159,339

POLICE INSPECTOR: Average taxable salary of $120,310

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Average taxable salary of $155,425 

ADVERTISING MANAGER: Average taxable salary of $110,044

CONSTRUCTION MANAGER: Average taxable salary of $117,043 

POWER GENERATION PLANT OPERATOR: Average taxable salary of $150,442 

AERONAUTICAL ENGINEER: Average taxable salary of $114,599 

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