Building a Successful Career Without Matric

Building a Successful Career Without Matric

Date Published: August 21, 2020

You don’t need matric to be successful.

Even though Matric is an important aspect in education, more than half the students who start school will not receive their Matric certificate. Read more about school dropout rates here.

With the education system of South Africa being inherently flawed, students are let down by the system itself. That’s why it is so important to know that even without a matric, individuals can build profitable careers. 

Starting Salaries:

Your level of education drastically affects your potential salary. Ranging from no schooling to a bachelor’s degree, here are the monthly salary estimates: 

  • No schooling: For individuals who were unable to finish school, the expected salary is R1 704 per month. 
  • Primary school not completed: Not much higher than no schooling, these individuals can expect R1867 per month.
  • Grade 7 Completed: If you have finished grade 7, your estimated monthly salary will be R1 946.
  • High school not completed: For individuals who were unable to finish high school, their expected salary is at R2 660. 
  • Matric Certificate: Having finished high school, the expected salary sits at R4 977.
  • Matric and additional certificate: If you completed matric and studied further for an additional certificate, estimated earnings sit at R8 326.
  • Matric and a Diploma: For individuals who have both, their expected monthly income is R13 378
  • Bachelor’s Degree: Having qualified for a bachelor’s degree, estimated earnings are at R21 527 per month.

My Broadband shows the difference in salary expectations above. More about this infographic here


Unemployment in South Africa is devastatingly high, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic. This also means that the less educated an individual is, the lower their chances are of finding work.

According to Dario AS, the coronavirus pandemic has caused unemployment to rise. Leaving a total of 7 million people jobless in South Africa. If the economy continues to plummet, South Africa could be faced with 50% unemployment across the population. Read more about this here.

Those who have been less likely to lose their jobs have been scarce skill workers. Scarce skills are an important part of finding employment. We will dive deeper into scarce skills below.

How to be successful without a matric certificate

Now it is all about doing your best to advance your career. There are still a few chances to take to find success without completing grade 12 when you’re expected to.

Advance your studies

Luckily for some, institutes like Matric College and The Skills Academy offer courses for students who were unable to finish Matric. These courses only require a grade 10 certificate.

Both colleges offer long-distance learning. You can work and study at the same time or just study from the comfort of your own home. 

To learn more about what Matric College click here.

For more information about what The Skills Academy has to offer, click here.

Learn a trade

For most trades, the only schooling you need is your grade 9 certificate. Often forgotten, trades are a great way to have a steady income. With trades you can also eventually start your own business. 

Trades include work as an electrician, plumber, and more. The great thing about doing a trade apprenticeship is that you earn while you work. These are also skills that people will always need. 

Read more on trade schools and trade careers here.

Learn a scarce skill

Scarce skills are always in demand. This includes accountants, bookkeepers, business management and more.

Luckily, some of these qualifications can be reached without a matric certificate. 
Have a look at a list of scarce skills here.

Get your matric later in life

Institutes like Matric College offer adults over 21 the chance to get their matric certificate. All you need for this is to have completed grade 9. Apply here!

It is important to know that no matter how old you are, you always have the chance to finish your matric. 

 Top Tips

Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when looking for a successful career without matric.

1. Start Working: By getting something in your CV, more doors will open for you. If employers can see you’ve had some experience, they are more likely to hire you.
2. Networking: Often getting a job is not just about what you know but rather who you know. Keep reminding people of your skillset and your will to commit to a job. Most jobs are found by word of mouth! Always promote yourself and your skillset.
3. Manage your expectations: Sometimes it’s important to take the job you’re offered. You might not like it, but once you have your foot in the working world it’s easier to progress. Many people have started at the very bottom of a company and grown to become CEO.
4. Work hard: If you show your employer that you are hardworking, they’re likely to give you more work. Working hard means that you get noticed. This may mean you’ll be suggested for a training program or a promotion.
5. Never give up: Building your career takes time and courage. It won’t always feel like it’s working. But if you look back after 20 years, you’ll see how far dedication got you. Be tenacious and everything else will fall into place. 

This article is an updated version of one published on the 1st of March 2017. See the original article here.

Author: Jan Badenhorst, CEO, Matric College