No Degrees Required: 10 Jobs You Can Do To Siam Student Loans & Still Earn Money

alternative careers after A levels

On 22 February 2019, thousands of students in Singapore will receive their A level results and start applying for university. But not all of these students will go on to obtain a university degree, whether or not by choice.

The good news is that there are lots of interesting careers that don’t require a degree. Screw the Singaporean dream anyway. Not everybody wants to spend their life behind a desk at Raffles Place. We show you how to make an alternative career and still earn enough money to get by.


How to become a property agent in Singapore

Not afraid to hustle like crazy? Then you might have a higher chance making your first million by thirty by becoming a property agent than by trying to crawl your way up the corporate ladder.

The road to becoming a property agent is simple. Simply approach a property agency and tell them you wish to join them as an agent. They will brief you on the Real Estate Salesperson Examination you’ll need to pass to become a licensed agent, and likely also conduct in-house training.

While property agents’ incomes varies wildly according to how hard they work (some only do it part-time or alongside a day job), top agents can rake in over a million a year. Agents typically earn 1% on the sale of private property, and 2% on HDB flats. So if you close a condominium sale of $1million, your potential take-home commission is $10,000.

You will, however, have to be able to accept fluctuating salaries and be able to stomach not making money in the first few months as you struggle to get your footing, so when you’re starting out you might want to generate some side income by tutoring or having a small home business.


How to become a licensed tour guide in Singapore

Showing tourists around can be a rewarding job, especially when you realise that freelance tour guides operating in Singapore can earn about $250 to $600 for 4 hours of work.

You’ll have to first take an approved tour guide course, usually lasting about 6 months, preparing you for the exams for the General Tourist Guide Licence awarded by the Singapore Tourism Board.

If you’d prefer to work as an employee with a steady paycheck rather than a freelancer, your best bet is to apply for a job as a tour guide with companies that conduct tours for foreign visitors to Singapore.

Speaking the language of the clients is also an advantage, and necessary in many companies. Thus, to work as a tour guide for a company serving Japanese tourists, you will probably need to be fluent in Japanese.


How to get an executive chef job

Do you watch Gordon Ramsay on TV and think you could do better? Then a career in the kitchen might be for you.

An executive chef does more than cook or instruct kitchen helpers. You might have to manage operations in the kitchen, plan menus and even help the eatery plan its budgets.

It is possible to get this job without any qualifications so long as you have relevant experience. But to get your foot in the door, a diploma in professional cooking or hospitality can help. Some organisations to consider include Shatec and At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy.


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How to become a make-up artist or beautician

Are you your friends’ go-to guru for beauty and skincare advice? Then a future as a make-up artist or beautician might float your boat.

Those with a creative flair might be better suited to work as a make-up artist, which will have you working on the faces of celebrities, models, brides and more. Beauticians, on the other hand, usually either work as employees at beauty parlour, spas or aesthetic clinics.

You can also make a decent living as a self-employed make-up artist. Freelance make-up artists charge about $180 to $400 for half a day’s work and one look, while a full day comprising two looks can rake in about $450 to $1,500.

While your portfolio is more important than your qualifications, you can take make-up and/or hairstyling courses at organisations like the School of Makeup, which offers a Certificate of Proficiency in Basic Make-up Artistry.

For aspiring beauticians, a certificate in beauty therapy from an organisation like Aesthetics International Academy can be helpful.


How to be a financial advisor

In Singapore, the term financial advisor is often used to denote insurance agents. That being said, there are financial planners that act more as investment advisors.

If you’re looking to become an insurance agent, your first step should be to approach an agency. They will talk you through the steps it takes to become a licensed agent, including passing the Singapore College of Insurance exams.

They’ll also provide in-house training and offer access to some resources such as telemarketing or roadshows, although you might have to pay for the privilege.

While the average insurance agent’s earnings depend greatly on the amount of effort they put in and their network, established agents who succeed and go on to lead teams often earn five figure monthly incomes.


How to audition to become a USS performer

Universal Studios Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa is recruiting performers from many disciplines including dancers, puppeteers, mascots, stilt walkers and more. This is the closest you can get to working at Disneyland in Singapore.


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You don’t need any formal qualifications, but you’ll obviously need to be skilled in whatever discipline you choose.

So, for instance, if you are auditioning to be a dancer, a classical or contemporary dance background is a must. If you’re applying to be a stilt walker, you should already be proficient in stilt walking.

If you managed to land a job as one of the high-risk stunt performer, the purported gross pay can be as high as $10,000 a month.


How to become a CAAS air traffic controller

Aviation buffs who don’t want to go the route of getting an engineering degree or becoming a pilot can consider a career as an air traffic controller. You’ll get to direct aircraft and enjoy the thrill of watching planes land.

There are no formal requirements, although a poly diploma definitely helps. All you have to do is apply for the job with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore on the [email protected] page in time for their next recruitment exercise. You will then have to go through an aptitude test, a voice test and panel interviews.

If selected, you will go through a 12-week air traffic control course and, depending on which stream you are placed in, undergo further training. All these courses will be paid for upon condition that you serve out a 2 year bond.


How to establish a career as a professional emcee

Sure, those emcees at corporate functions and roadshows can be annoying, but they’re also paid pretty well at anywhere from $100 to $1,000 an hour. The typical gig is about 3 to 5 hours long.

You don’t need any qualifications, but you do need to be able to connect well with audiences and speak well in your chosen language. Building a portfolio of past events that you have hosted at will also help you get new clients.

If you have never done this before, you’d probably benefit by joining an agency, even though they’ll take a cut of your fees.


How to become a decluttering consultant

Thanks to the Marie Kondo phenomenon, decluttering consultant is now an actual job title. There are now a few businesses in Singapore that help people get organised, and they need to hire employees to do just that.

Though there are no necessary qualifications, you’d better have at least read Konmari’s books if you’re applying for this job. People pay up to $3,000 for reorganisation of their homes.

You can also do this as a freelancer for as much as $50 an hour, although you’d need to find a way to create a presence on the internet to attract clients.


Where to get training to become an automotive mechanic

Singaporean car owners rarely DIY, instead turning to mechanics for anything from simple procedures such as oil changes to advanced ones like engine overhauls. You can expect to earn about $2,000 to $3,000 when starting out as a mechanic.

Several organisations offer automobile or car maintenance vocational courses, the most well known being ITE. You don’t actually need a certificate to work as a mechanic if you can find a shop that’s willing to train you. However, getting proper training can be very useful as you’ll understand better how a car works.

You’ll also need a Class 3 licence and possibly Class 4 one if you’ll be working on heavier vehicles. Motorcycle mechanics should obtain a Class 2B licence and later upgrade to Class 2A and Class 2.


What other cool jobs don’t require degrees? Share them in the comments!