Can you do engineering jobs without a degree? Discover roles you can enter as a school leaver – in some cases without A-levels.
It’s a myth that you always need a degree to get into a rewarding and potentially well-paid engineering career. You can build your engineering work skills and experience with a technician role – this will get your juices flowing and help you with things like understanding technical drawings. You can take on extra qualifications like an HNC/HND, foundation degree or degree at your own pace. Check our list of engineering jobs you can do without making uni your first stop!
£15,000 – £35,000 a year (UK average)
CAD stands for computer-aided design. All kinds of engineering careers use CAD software to create 2D or 3D designs for buildings, products, product parts and machinery. You don’t need a degree to become a CAD technician, and it’s a great way to combine art and science.
Take on further training at your own pace and you can even use this job as a springboard to a full-blown software or design engineering career!
Civil Engineering Technician
£14,000 – £45,000 a year (UK average)
Civil engineers plan and manage mega building projects. Any skyscraper, shopping centre, airport or football/music stadium was planned out by civil engineers.
Your job as a civil engineering technician is to support the civil engineers on construction projects, soaking up knowledge and skills as you go. You don’t need a full degree to get into this role, either – a foundation degree or HNC/HND should be enough to see you on your way.
Electrical Engineering Technician
£20,000 – £38,000 a year (UK average)
How’s your colour vision? If you can tell your red from your green and engineering flicks your switch, you could have a bright future ahead of you as an electrical engineering technician.
Variety is everything in electrical engineering. You could power up by installing giant turbines, light your career path by putting street lighting networks in place, or lift off with lifts and escalators. It all depends on which area of work you choose.
You don’t need a degree to get started, but there’s nothing to stop you taking further training to become a qualified electrical engineer when you’re ready!
Engineering Maintenance Technician
£18,000 – £40,000 a year (UK average)
How confident are you at putting your old SIM card into a new phone? Do you know how to turn the heating up or down where you live? It’s not exactly engineering maintenance, but it’s a start because it shows you are not afraid of working with your hands to make equipment run properly.
There’s strong demand for engineering maintenance technicians who can install, maintain and repair machinery and equipment. It’s a good way to get into engineering without a degree, and your job could even take you overseas. You could work with anything from office equipment and computers to laboratory equipment and aircraft, depending on your employer.
Whatever your background is, this role could lead to a chain reaction of job opportunities and promotions resulting in a bright future. Engineer your own success!
Rail Engineering Technician
£18,000 – £35,000 (UK average)
Rail engineering technicians install and look after the mechanical and electrical systems on trains. Lighting? Computer systems? No problem – you’re a bright spark who can fix it all. You’ll get to handle power tools and even welding equipment, so you can add welder skills to your CV. You’ll follow the technical drawings of engineers and turn them from a piece of paper into reality.
You’ll mostly be working in a rail depot or engineering workshop, so this is a very hands-on side of engineering – and these are usually quite sociable places so you’ll get to meet and work with interesting people from all walks of life, too.
DID YOU KNOW? People at the very top of the railway – like the CEOs and heads of department – often started out on the railway in junior positions. If you like the idea of an engineering career, the railway is a fantastic place to get started because you will receive loads of training, personal development and support – and a salary, of course. All aboard!
Agricultural engineering technician
£20,000 – £38,000 a year (UK average)
From forests to golf courses, as an agricultural engineering technician you’ll find practical ways to fix engineering problems for machinery used in servicing the land. It’s not just tractors. This is a challenging and rewarding career where you could be trained to make all kinds of equipment sing, from turfcare machinery to bridge design or building tree top walkways.
Land based engineering will play a big part in developing alternative fuel to care for our environment, too. UK agriculture uses some of the most advanced technology out there. It’s vital to stay on top of challenges like more mouths to feed, extreme weather, climate change and limited natural resources. Land based engineering always thinks about what the future will hold – and comes up with new ways to protect and use our resources wisely through technology.
DID YOU KNOW? You can enter this career with an apprenticeship and do college courses in it too. Your skills will be useful all over the UK… in fact, wherever there is land!
£20,000 – £45,000 a year (UK average)
When crisp companies hold competitions asking you to design your own flavour, what flavour would YOU design to excite the taste buds and sell to as many people as possible?
This is just one example of the questions you’ll ask in your food technologist career. Food technologists and food scientists make tomorrow’s food safe and delicious today. You could be making sure food labels are giving honest nutrition information, or blending new ingredients to invent or tweak recipes. You could also look into better, safer, cooler, cheaper, safer packaging that keeps food fresh (even when it’s come from the other side of the world).
The world of food technology is endlessly fascinating to you, and you’ll believe there’s always a way to improve on the original.
Boost your engineering CV with vital life and work skills
All the jobs listed above will be easier when you develop your self-belief, teamwork, problem solving, organisation and communication skills. Aged 14 to 24? Boost your engineering CV for free with our Young Professional skills training. It has a video quiz to get you started!
So many options to explore
More ideas for degree-free engineering jobs to get your career off the ground include:
- Aerospace engineering technician
- Chemical engineering technician
- Electronics engineering technician
- Engineering construction technician
- Textile machinery technician
- NDT (Non-destructive testing technician)
- Mechanical engineering technician
- Measurement and control technician
- Marine engineering technician
Engineering careers touch on every part of our lives, from the phones in our pockets to the ways we listen to music, travel and what clothes we wear. The world of engineering is one of making, doing, learning, tweaking and changing our environment for the better – because we have to care for our planet as well as making it a great place for humans to live.
Young people with engineering skills are in HIGH demand. Your quest for a good future for yourself could lead to amazing changes for the rest of the world too. Don’t let not having an engineering degree hold you back.