The highest paying non-desk jobs

Everyone wants to make a lot of money but some of us are just not cut out for sitting behind a desk all day. If you are one of these people then you are in luck, some of the highest paying jobs are not spent sitting on a chair behind a computer screen. There are a lot of high paying jobs that are more physical or involve interacting and helping people. These include positions like farming jobs and medical jobs. In this article we will explore some fascinating careers that are always different and never spent behind a desk.


Below are five of the highest paying jobs that are not desk jobs.

Ship Engineers

If you like the open ocean and you have a very technical mind, then these kinds of engineering jobs might be perfect for you. As a ship engineer, you will have the job of overseeing the activities and tasks of the crew technicians on vessels such as military or commercial ships. You have to make sure that the ship’s mechanics, like the propeller shafts, communication and electronic equipment are in proper functioning order.


You have to be able to think on your feet and make very quick decisions as you will be very far from help and new equipment is very difficult to get to. You will need to make do with what you have and be able to think creatively to solve problems that will arise.

Training for Ship Engineers

According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority, you will need to do the following to qualify for these types of engineering jobs.


From school you will need a Grade 12/N3 with a compulsory standard or higher grade 60 percent pass rate, a grade 10 with an N1, N2 or N3 with mathematics and science with a compulsory standard or higher grade 60 percent pass. If you have a Grade 12/N3 without maths or science then you will have to do a six month bridging course for any educational institution that offers Maritime Studies. This will allow you to work on board a ship. Now you will have to qualify for a ship engineer.


To become a ship engineer you will need to enrol at either the Durban University of Technology or Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Maritime Studies or Mechanical Engineering. Then complete S1 and S2 certificates in Maritime Studies. You then have to complete a 12-month sea service training program and lastly, pass the SAMSA oral exam to qualify as an Engineer Officer. If you wish to become a Second Engineering Officer or a Chief Engineer, then further studies and service are required.

Farming Jobs

A farmer is the basis of any society as no society can function without food. People who work in agriculture jobs are the unsung heroes of the modern world. If you become a farmer then you will never have to see a desk ever again as these people are always out in the wilderness with their hands in the soil or managing livestock.


Anyone can become a farmer, all you have to do is plant some food and help it grow. To become a commercial farmer however one needs to have proper knowledge on agricultural production and large scale farming. You need to have knowledge of mechanization and be up to date with all the agricultural knowledge that you can get your hands on.

Training for Agriculture jobs

Technically, you don’t actually need any formal training to become a farmer. You just need the know-how and the capital. That being said, many people don’t have the opportunity to grow up on a farm and learn things first hand, so there are a few ways to get this kind of education.


Many secondary schools in South Africa offer agriculture as a formal subject. There are even specialized agricultural high schools where you can do many different subjects on farming.

Then you can go to a Technicon and complete a three-year national diploma in agriculture and related disciplines. This is normally two years of normal training and then a year of structured hands-on training at an approved employer. From here you can enrol for a Baccalaureus Technologiae and then go on to do Masters Technologiae degrees.


There are also many colleges that offer a Higher Certificate in Agriculture and specialized courses in farming for people that want to be livestock farmers for example.


Swop out your boring desk job for a seat in the cockpit and pursue one of the highest paying jobs in the market today. You will spend your days behind a plethora of technical electronic controls, high above the ground. If you want to go into pilot jobs then you will need to have the right mental attitude, specially if you want to become a commercial pilot. You can’t be over confident or brash as this can result in an accident thousands of meters in the air. Most companies will actually make you undergo a psychometric evaluation at the beginning of the flight course. Medically, you need to be very fit as the fitness requirements are very strict. Remember that you are piloting a piece of machinery that’s worth millions or Rands, so the flight companies will have to make sure you are up to the task.


Training for pilot jobs

At school, you will need good marks in maths and science on higher grade levels. Good marks in geography will also help and if you want to be an international pilot, then good English skills are a must.

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From here you will have to find a good flight school where you will undergo administration procedures, a medical exam and induction course. This will get you your Student Pilot License, which you will need to do your first solo flight on. You will need about 15 to 25 flying hours before your instructor will assess you and allow you to progress in the course.

Now you can complete the rest of the academic subjects and flying curricula and then take the Private Pilot Flight Test which is a minimum of 45 flying hours. Once you complete this, you will receive your PPL and be allowed to carry passengers in the aircraft but not for business purposes (only recreational flying).


To fly commercially, you have to qualify for a Commercial Pilot License. You will have to continue on the flight course with flight training and more study/testing. Once the commercial leg of the course is completed you can do your CPL which requires you to complete a minimum 200 hours total flying time. Also the Instrument Rating flight test needs to be completed, which will teach you how to pilot in bad weather conditions. Once all of this done, you will be expected to pilot a very complex aircraft, like a twin engine aircraft, until you have honed your flight skills. You are now able to be employed for pilot jobs.


Anaesthetists are people that administer different kinds of anaesthetics to patients who are undergoing a medical procedure. This is to make sure the patient doesn’t feel the pain during the surgical procedure. These medical jobs will normally involve you talking to clients to assess their medical history so they know exactly what kind of anaesthetic to use. You might be allergic to a specific kind of anaesthetic for example.


You will need medical, surgical and technical skills and be very good at communicating with people. You will need to know a lot about the human body and be able to resuscitate anyone that has been given too much anaesthetics. You will usually work as part of a team.

Training for Anaesthetist medical jobs

At school you will need to acquire a National Senior Certificate with university entry and good marks in Mathematics and Physical Science. Each learning institution will have its own minimum entry requirements. There are a lot of people trying to get into the medical field, so you will need to have very good marks and have done many social activities.


You will need to achieve a MBChB degree that is a six year course where you will perform Theoretical training for five years and an internship of one year. After this you will have to do a minimum of one years’ service at a public hospital.

From here you will need to specialize in an Anaesthesiology MMed or FCP degree. This is a further four years of study at either UCT, UFS, US, UKZN or Wits. Before you can do this course, you will need to practice as a registered medical doctor for two years and be registered with the Interim Medical and Dental Council (IMDC) of South Africa for 1 year.


Once all of the above is completed, you can become a specialist by registering with the IMDC as an anaesthetist.


One of the highest paying jobs, this career is ideally suited for those of you who love animals and are against working behind. Vets maintain and monitor the health and welfare of animals and treat sick or injured animal on a personal level or for a commercial farm. Veterinarians also deal with disease that can be transferred to people from animals, like mad cow disease for example.


As a vet, you need to be understanding and have a genuine concern for animals and their owners. Another obvious requirement is you shouldn’t have any allergic reactions to animals.

Training for Veterinarians

Becoming a vet is similar to studying for normal medical jobs, but you will learn about the anatomy of an animal instead of a person. You will learn this through many courses on biochemistry, anatomy, pathology and surgical practices for animals.


In terms of qualification, you will have to study a three year BSc, which is a bachelors in Veterinary Biology, then do a four year 4-Year BVSc degree. The South African government is however changing this last step to a six year BVSc degree from 2010.


So there you have it, if you are not one for desk work, then you can seriously consider going into one of the above fields as a career. The highest paying jobs don’t have to involve tedious desk work. Vocations like engineering jobs and medical jobs can give you an amazing, ever-changing, career path to follow. Register your CV on Job Mail, have a look at some of the jobs available and start applying for amazing non-desk jobs today!

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