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20 jobs you can do without a college degree

It’s been a tough year for jobseekers making it difficult to stand out in a competitive job market. For those without a college education, that job hunt has been even harder with fewer jobs available and competition from skilled workers and recent graduates.

It seems though that employment opportunities are opening up. We recently researched the top jobs available for those US citizens without formal education and found over 2.4 million open vacancies. That means that nearly half of the advertized vacancies in the US were open to people without a college degree. 

Restrictions easing and things opening up again have caused a flood in suitable roles for non-graduates in the US job market. Here are just 20 of the roles currently available, how many vacancies we have, and how much you can expect to earn in one of these roles. 

 

#1 Cleaner, 781,400 vacancies

As the US continues opening up with bricks and mortar offices and retailers re-opening, there is a huge demand for skilled cleaners across the country. Cleaning is the top hiring ‘no college degree necessary’ role and has an average advertized salary of $35,228. There is potential for higher wages by specializing in areas such as hazardous waste or crime scene cleanup. 

If you’re interested in exploring more about the trade, the Federation of Master Cleaners has some useful resources. 

See more domestic help & cleaning jobs

#2 Truck Driver, 354,830 vacancies

Undoubtedly the re-opening of state borders and more mobility has led to a rise in available truck driving positions. 

Here in the US, most roles will expect a high school diploma. For long-haul drivers, you’ll need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) which tends to involve knowledge and a practical examination. You can find out where and how you can take your CDL on the CDL website. 

You can specialize too, by getting industry-specific endorsements such as a hazardous materials endorsement. 

Most truck drivers attend a professional truck driving school, at a cost, but the average earnings are good. Currently, the average advertized wage is $58,733. 

See more driving jobs

#3 Delivery Driver / Courier, 293,940 vacancies

The pandemic has stoked e-commerce roles so there is are huge number of delivery vacancies available. Unlike a truck or HGV driver, these roles require a simple driving license in most cases, or sometimes simply the ability to ride a bike!

The lack of additional skills is reflected in the average wage of $31,046. However, you do have the opportunity to work outside, meet new people, and stay fit and healthy! There’s potential to grow too. Some couriers join the Institute of Couriers for networking and career advancement.  

#4 Electrician, 213,477 vacancies

There are two main pathways to becoming an electrician. Either you can become an apprentice and learn on the job or you can attend a trade school. Whichever route you choose, state by state the number of hours you put in will differ. Once you’ve put in those hours, you sit a ‘journeyman electrician test’ which will mean you can work as a fully qualified electrician if you pass. 

The average salary for advertized roles is $55,640 and there is potential for higher wages should you decide to qualify as a master electrician, the highest level of the trade. The ballpark figure for a master electrician is up to $100k depending on the state. You can get an idea of what steps you’d need to take to become a master electrician at Electrical School

#5 Warehouse Worker, 146,169 vacancies

Another area directly impacted by the e-commerce boom is warehouse roles. Jobs include stock attendant, picker, stock replenisher, and stock assistant and all require a relatively high level of fitness as you will be on your feet throughout long shifts. 

The average advertized salary is $28,094 and doesn’t require any prior experience or qualifications. To climb the ladder, you may consider something like a forklift driving license to receive a higher wage and more responsibility. The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport is a great resource for learning more about supply chain careers.

See more logistics & warehouse jobs

#6 Server, 133,903 vacancies

As the hospitality industry reopens in most states there has been a surge in hospitality roles across the country. Although the average rate salary is $33,107 there’s also the potential for gratuity. 

Some places automatically include a gratuity in their bills but others allow the customer to decide. The average is upwards of 15% of the bill. 

See more hospitality & catering jobs

#7 Social Media Expert, 60,460 vacancies

It may come as a surprise but you don’t need any formal qualifications to work in social media marketing. If you know your TikTok from your Clubhouse this might be a great potential role for you. 

If you’ve got established personal channels these can act as a great resume for potential employers, especially if it’s in their sector. If you’ve got a successful food TikTok for example, why not look at food companies that are looking to grow their audience. 

Currently, we’re seeing an average advertized salary of $51,329 but there’s potential for demand, and therefore salaries, to increase as marketing gets more and more digital. 

You can get insights into roles and potential training via the American Marketing Association

#8 Sales Assistant, 54,718 vacancies

Sales is a varied area including face-to-face and remote roles. The one thing you’ll need is fantastic interpersonal and customer service skills.  

Advertized salaries are currently averaging $31,883 although a lot of roles include perks like a commission or even a company car. 

See more sales jobs

#9 Plumber / Pipefitter, 49,714 vacancies

If you’re great at DIY then perhaps you should consider a career in plumbing? You’ll need to have studied classes in algebra, geometry, physics, and thermodynamics, and computer-aided drafting (CAD) while in high school and have a clean driving license and no criminal or drug-offense records. 

You’ll most likely partake in an apprenticeship, lasting 4 to 5 years, while you complete a diploma or associate degree. 

You can find out more about sponsorship and apprenticeship opportunities via the American Society of Plumbing Engineers, and on qualification can expect an average wage of $48,630.

#10 Builder, 48,695 vacancies

Another trade that utilizes DIY skills and an aptitude for labor is a career in building. You could end up working on domestic or commercial properties or could choose to specialize in certain areas like demolition. 

At the moment we are seeing an average advertized wage of $41,057. State by state there are different ways of progression up the career level to master builder. You can find out more about the trade in industry magazine, Builder.com

See more trade & construction jobs

#11 Chef, 42,693 vacancies

If you love cooking and have the skills to match, could a career as a chef be your dream job? If you fancy yourself as the next Martha Stewart or Chef Ramsay you don’t need any formal qualifications or training, just hours working your way up in kitchens. 

Average advertized salaries sit at $54,631 and you would get gratuity in most places on top of that. Although you don’t need any formal qualifications some employers will be looking for pre-existing food hygiene certificates, or a willingness to complete them.

#12 Office Manager, 40,259 vacancies

Office Managers oversee the day-to-day running of their organization so you need to be well organized and able to manage and direct people. 

Day-to-day, you could be onboarding new staff, helping senior managers with administrative tasks, managing a team, and fulfilling all stock orders. 

There are currently over 40,000 roles available in the USA with an average advertized salary of $57,904, making this one of the highest-paid roles on the list. 

The American Society of Administrators is a great resource if you want to explore more. 

See more admin jobs

#13 Gardener, 36,429 vacancies

If you’ve got green fingers and a love of the outdoors perhaps you’ve considered gardening? You’ll need to be prepared to work in all weathers, which can be tricky in some of our northernmost states!

You don’t need any formal qualifications and can gain experience via entry-level roles or by volunteering for a community project in your local town. 

The average advertized salary for the 36 thousand jobs currently is $40,314 but you should expect some gratuity on top!

#14 Entry Level Digital Marketing Assistant, 31,116 vacancies

If you’ve established a successful blog or your own social media accounts your hands-on experience could be a great pathway into an entry-level marketing role. 

The average salaried entry-level position is advertized at $37,050 and once you’re in a role there would be the potential to climb the career ladder. Marketing Directors can earn between $70,000 to $100,000 and lots of roles will support you studying to improve your skills while working full time. 

The American Marketing Association is a fantastic resource for any aspiring marketers. 

See more PR, advertising & marketing jobs

#15 Events Assistant / Manager, 25,808 vacancies

Events is a huge industry that is recovering post-pandemic. The events industry covers everything from live music and sports events, personal events like marriages and baby showers, to corporate events like conferences and networking drinks. 

Some people enter this industry directly from college with a degree or diploma majoring in Events Management or Marketing. However, you can enter without qualifications. If you’re savvy and organized and comfortable working with lots of people you have the skills needed for this profession where average advertized salaries sit at $55,059.

It’s worth considering some voluntary events management roles with local charities or community groups to build up your resume. 

#16 Recruitment Assistant, 24,685 vacancies

As doors begin to reopen that means recruitment companies are going to be busy filling open positions. Recruitment is a combination of sales, marketing, and administration with plenty of customer service skills needed. 

You can expect to earn $45,494 as the average advertized wage and there are likely to be even more vacancies in the coming months.

See more HR & recruitment jobs

#17 Long Haul Truck Driver, 19,488 vacancies

The main difference between long-haul truckers and truck drivers (in at #2 in this list) is the size of the vehicle they drive and length of journeys. Long-haul truckers tend to drive tractor-trailers that carry big loads. Their cab will have a big area to stretch out in and it’s a place to sleep on particularly long journeys. Short-haul, you’re more likely to have a smaller vehicle that means you can whiz around in towns and cities. 

A long-haul truck driver has an average wage of $60,265 which is about $1,500 more than their short-haul equivalents. 

We recommend the CDL website for details of the qualifications you’ll need. 

#18 Executive Assistant, 16,887 vacancies

Executive Assistants keep the wheels in motion for high-powered CEOs and Directors. 

Day to day they’ll be organizing diaries, arranging and minuting meetings, booking travel, and dealing with inquiries and phone calls. 

In return, they can expect to earn an average of $55,531. Like Office Managers who feature at number 12 on this list, The American Society of Administrators is a great resource for any aspiring administrators. 

See more admin jobs

#19 Photographer, 13,804 vacancies

To be good at photography you’ll need a creative side and also to understand technical photography equipment and the photo editing software. 

A good place to start is by working out what type of photographer you want to be. For example events, family portraits, wildlife, corporate imagery, marketing imagery, or even pet portraits. Once you’ve decided it’s best to create a portfolio online showcasing work in this area. You’ll likely want to set up a website to host your main portfolio as well as having a photography Instagram account. 

It can be lucrative with an average advertized salary of $55,126 although it is a highly competitive industry, especially for fashion and editorial work!

#20 Bartender, 12,402 vacancies

It looks like bartender roles will be on the rise as more and more states allow hospitality to reopen and stay open following the vaccine roll-out. 

The average advertized of $36,208 but there will be tips! Bartenders who work in high-end cocktail bars and have a flair for putting on a show might expect to earn an extra dollar a drink, or 20% of the bill, whatever is higher. 

You can join the United States Bartenders’ Guild to network within the industry. 

💡 Read moreThe Best Time of Year to Look and Apply for Jobs in the US


Need to refresh your resume? Check out ValueMyResume for advice on brushing up your resume and to learn your market value.

*Advertized vacancy counts and average advertized salaries accurate as at April 2021