Jobs in South Africa that don’t need a degree

 ·24 Jan 2024

Although many South Africans will soon be heading to university, not every job in the country needs a degree.

Many South Africans do not go to university for a variety of reasons, including lack of funds, not good enough grades or simply no interest in any careers that need a degree.

Nedbank said that plenty of jobs take matriculants as entry-level trainees.

“If you prove hard-working, willing to learn and passionate about the job, many employers are willing to help you expand your skills, earn any professional certificates and qualifications your industry offers, and secure regular promotions, Nedbank said.

“In many fields, after several years of on-the-job training and practical experience, you’ll have acquired the qualifications and industry knowledge to start a business of your own, if that’s your dream.”

Below are several industries where a degree is not essential in starting a job:

Beauty and Spa

For those with interests in personal care, beauty and style, there are numerous jobs they could end up in.

This includes:

  • Hairstylist or barber,

  • Nail technician,

  • Make-up artist,

  • Dietitian (support),

  • Tattoo artist,

  • Massage therapist,

  • Specialist practitioner in aromatherapy, reflexology, shiatsu, reiki or other spa treatments.

Although all these jobs require training and qualifications, the industry also needs personnel support to help with client care and maintenance on the premises.

These entry-level positions allow the person to work on their qualifications part-time, ideally with hands-on help from the employer.


Jobs in retail require exceptional people skills, and most retail jobs will also provide you with some form of sales training and a chance to upskill – potentially moving into management.

Jobs in retail also often have a commission structure, increasing income for performing well.

Real estate agent

Income in real estate is completely commission-based, meaning that sales skills are essential.

Although it is required to complete an NQF4 RE qualification and pass the Professional Designation Examination (PDE4) to obtain a real estate agent licence, several other entry-level positions, such as interns and candidates, are on offer.

Digital content creation

Becoming a digital content creator takes time, so becoming an influencer, blogger or YouTube star may take several years.

“If you already have a large social media following, consider finding brands that suit your audience to collaborate with. You may start out simply reviewing products, but if you become an enthusiastic, genuine fan of the brand, you could secure a role as a paid brand ambassador,” Nedbank said

“If you’re monetising a YouTube channel, remember that your income is dependent on ad revenue, and the number of advertisers wanting to buy space on your channel will depend on how many subscribers you have and how often they watch your channel.”


Becoming an entrepreneur straight after matric with limited resources is challenging.

Production and distribution need funding; being your boss takes long hours, hard work, discipline, planning and research.

As it takes a while to become profitable, there are questions about how one will support themselves until then.

“If you have an innovative idea that you’re passionate about, it’s worth pursuing. But you may need to find a day job to support yourself while you work on your passion as a side hustle. Once you’ve developed it into a sustainable business, you’ll be more secure going the solo entrepreneur route,” Nedbank said.

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