Finding any job can be quite daunting, especially if you are just entering the workforce or if you are shifting careers. An entry-level job would be the best place to begin and, thankfully, there are high-paying entry-level jobs without a degree that you can take advantage of.
High-paying entry-level jobs without a degree require different types of training and experience, so selecting one that will jumpstart your career is highly dependent on your skills, career goals, willingness to learn, and how much you are willing to be paid. In this article, you will discover the best entry-level jobs you can get with a GED or without a degree.
What Is an Entry-Level Job?
An entry-level job is a lower-ranking position that usually requires less responsibility and experience. Some may also require minimal training and education. Most entry-level positions offer on-the-job training either through external training or internal apprenticeship programs.
An entry-level job without a degree or one with only a GED can be found in almost every industry. However, you will still require some specialized skills, knowledge, or some form of training. Selecting the entry-level job that is best for you also depends on whether you are looking for part-time or full-time employment.
What Do Entry-Level Jobs Pay?
The average pay for an entry-level job is $32,592 per year, according to ZipRecruiter, with the average range being between $16,000 and $49,000. Where you fall on the spectrum is dependent on your level of education, that is, whether you have a degree, a high school diploma, a GED, or no formal education at all.
Understanding how much different entry-level jobs pay helps to know what to expect as you search for employment. However, even with the necessary four-year degree, training, or certifications, an entry-level job without a degree will still pay less compared to other jobs that require more experience and postsecondary education.
What Skills Do You Need to Land an Entry-Level Job?
These are professional skills that you must have in any work environment, including any entry-level job. Chances are you already possess some of these skills. They include written and verbal communication skills, active listening, dependability, teamwork, decision-making, adaptability, and leadership skills.
In recent years, it has become evident that mastering one skill is no longer enough in the workforce. Hybrid skills require a combination of skillsets that would not have been put together before. For example, as a software engineer, you will not only need technical skills like programming but also soft skills such as critical thinking and teamwork.
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The average bootcamp grad spent less than six months in career transition, from starting a bootcamp to finding their first job.
When applying for an entry-level job without a degree, these are the skills that you will find in the job description. These skills are specifically tailored for that job. They are both hard and soft skills. You can get these skills through formal training or they can be offered as on-the-job training.
What Education Do You Need to Get an Entry-Level Job?
You can get an entry-level job with all levels of education, including a high school diploma or its equivalent, the GED. For some professions, however, you may need some form of formal training either through an apprenticeship or on-the-job training.
It is important to note that if you have postsecondary education or a degree, your chances of receiving better pay will also increase. One way of doing this is enrolling in a top coding bootcamp, especially if you are interested in a tech-related profession.
Why College Is Not for Everyone
College can be a costly and time-consuming endeavor, especially if you go to a four-year college. For the most part, many people who do not have access to financial services do not have the privilege to attend. In fact, data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that the average tuition and fees across all institutions have increased significantly in the last decade.
Luckily, today’s high-school students have many options upon completing their high school diploma. Even if a college degree can help you jumpstart some careers, you can still get a job, especially an entry-level position, without one. If you have not qualified for government funding, you can avoid student loan debt by exploring more affordable alternatives that will just as well help you start and grow in your chosen profession.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Get an Entry-Level Job?
A coding bootcamp can absolutely help you get an entry-level job if you are hoping to have a professional career in tech. At a coding bootcamp, you will be able to acquire the necessary technical skills to jumpstart a career in a tech-related profession.
According to LinkedIn, most job listings, including entry-level jobs now require at least three years of relevant work experience. This means that for you to compete with others you have to bring something extra to the table. That extra thing can be skills and certifications which you can get at a coding bootcamp.
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How to Get an Entry-Level Job with a GED
Step 1: Select a Career Path
Find out what your passions, values, and career goals are. This will help you know what options you have out there and steer you in choosing the right career path for you. This will also help you understand which company culture you are willing to be a part of.
Step 2: Consider Getting a Certification
Find out what certifications you may need for the entry-level job you are hoping to get. You can actually enroll in a certification course online for free from various places such as Coursera. Either way, this is a wonderful alternative to a college degree, and certifications are a great way to give yourself the upper hand in any competitive job market.
Step 3: Update Your Resume and Cover Letter
If you only have your high school diploma or GED, you can upgrade your resume and cover letter by adding the soft skills mentioned above. Most employers look for more than technical skills, so adding these to your credentials may actually boost your chances of landing an entry-level job without a degree. You can also use a resume builder to give your resume and cover letter an extra boost.
Step 4: Apply for Internships
Internships are a great way to get an entry-level job. Most internships offer on-the-job training which will definitely boost your resume and give you access to better positions that have more responsibility and higher pay.
Step 5: Find a Mentor
A mentor is someone who guides you by offering advice. Professionally, they should be a good fit for you and exhibit the characteristics you are looking for in your career. Having the right mentor can be a great way to get recommendations and network for other opportunities in the future.
High-Paying Entry-Level Jobs Without a College Degree
|Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Manager||$96,390||8%*|
|Elevator and Escalator Installer and Repairer||$88,540||6%|
|Petroleum Pump System Operator||$78,840*||6%*|
|Occupational Health and Safety Specialist or Technician||$72,530||7%|
|Industrial Machinery Mechanic||$54,920||19%|
*Information can be found on the Bureau of Labor Statistics page for data on occupations not covered in detail.
Best Entry-Level Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree: A Closer Look
Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Manager
As their job titles suggest, these managers supervise the shipping, testing, receiving, and storing of goods. They also establish and implement warehouse safety protocols, as per company practices or organizational policies. In addition, they inspect transportation equipment. The entry-level education requirement for this job is a high school diploma or a GED.
You will also need to get a certification through formal training or complete an apprenticeship program. There are also some necessary technical skills, such as accounting and knowing how to use inventory management software, which will definitely give you an advantage. You will also have access to on-the-job training.
Commercial pilots transport passengers and cargo in aircraft. They mainly schedule flights, perform aerial surveying, charter flights, arrange maintenance for the aircraft as well as load luggage themselves.
The formal education requirements for this job include a high school diploma or a GED and a private pilot license. You will also need to complete flight training with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified institution. You will get formal training as you meet your required flight hours, which federal regulations specify.
Elevators and Escalator Installer and Repairer
These professionals install, maintain, and repair elevators, escalators, lifts, and other similar electronic equipment. They technically require a working knowledge of hydraulics, electricity, or mechanics.
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To start an entry-level job you will need a high school diploma or a GED. You will also go through a four-year apprenticeship program which is usually sponsored by the company hiring you. You can also join an apprenticeship program through a union or an industry-based association.
Petroleum Pump System Operator
This is a high-paying entry-level job that requires no college education. Professionals in this job operate petroleum refining or processing units by regulating the flow of oil in and out of pipelines. There are on-the-job training and apprenticeship opportunities. To progress in this career, you will need to be certified. Some states also require you to get an occupational license to practice.
Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
Activities of workers engaged in this sector include collecting data from various organizations and analyzing the data to ensure that safety protocols are being adhered to. They also design health and safety procedures specifically geared to avoiding workplace hazards.
Some employers require a degree in occupational health or a safety-related course. To compete with those that have degrees, you may need a certification from a vocational school on top of your high school diploma or GED.
The main work of police and detectives is to protect and serve. They protect lives and property. They include detectives and criminal investigators, FBI agents, fish and game wardens, as well as police and sheriff patrol officers.
Qualifications needed in this profession range from a high school diploma to a degree depending on which sector you want to join. You must graduate from a training academy before being employed, after which you will receive on-the-job training.
Stationary engineers manage engines, boilers, and other mechanical equipment such as heating, refrigerators, generators, and air conditioning in buildings. They make sure these utilities are well maintained.
You will need at least a high school diploma or a GED. However, you can join an apprenticeship program on top of the on-the-job training you will receive which is usually under the supervision of an experienced engineer.
Railroad workers ensure the safety of both freight and passenger trains. They include railyard engineers, conductors, yardmasters, locomotive engineers, and brake and signal operators. They work closely with rail inspectors and rail transportation inspectors.
Most rail companies will require a high school diploma or GED, but a certificate or postsecondary education will increase your chances of landing an entry-level position. You will also have the opportunity to receive up to 12 months of on-the-job training.
Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power systems, electrical equipment, surveillance systems, and electrical control systems in houses and buildings. They are the go-to people for anything that involves electrical systems and electric power.
The entry-level education requirements here would be a high school diploma or GED and a certification from a vocational school. You will have the opportunity to learn either on the job or through an apprenticeship program that can last up to five years. You can also join a technical school where upon completion you will receive a credit towards your apprenticeship.
Industrial Machinery Mechanic
Activities of workers engaged in machinery mechanics include managing and maintaining factory and industrial machinery and equipment. The basic entry-level education requirements are a high school diploma or a GED. You must also complete one year of on-the-job training for industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers.
Companies That Offer Entry-Level Jobs
- Aerotek: Aerotek is a recruitment and staffing agency, with offices in different cities, that offers entry-level positions in aviation and airport operations, construction, distribution and logistics, facilities, and maintenance as well as manufacturing and production.
- General Motors (GM): GM’s main focus is the designing, manufacturing, and reselling of cars and automobile parts. The General Motors Automotive Service Educational Program (GM-ASEP) training program prepares students for a career as automotive technicians.
- IBM: This Company sells IT services, enterprise systems, and software. They have branches in various major metros all over the world. This would be a great place to start a career in IT. IBM SkillsBuild offers training programs for students, job seekers, educators, and organizations.
- AECOM: This is an infrastructure firm that offers professional services in both the public and private sectors. They also offer entry-level positions which you can find in their job listings.
- Boeing: In brief, this is one of the largest aerospace companies that focuses on the manufacturing of jetliners, spacecraft, and security systems. They offer careers in business, cyber security, data science and analytics, engineering, IT, and manufacturing. They also have internships and an accelerated program for students.
Where to Find Entry-Level Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree
One of the best ways to get an entry-level job without a degree is by going directly to company websites. On these career pages, you can tailor your search based on your interests and the type of role you are looking for. Most companies also give the option of applying for roles directly through their websites so it’s easy to apply for any role you feel qualified for.
You can find entry-level jobs that don’t require a degree from job boards such as Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Monster, and NoDegree. These are well-known websites with thousands of jobs where you can tailor your job search to fit the criteria that you desire. You can go a step further and sign up for daily job alerts.
Social Networking Sites
This may seem like an unconventional way to get an entry-level job, but most companies have social media pages where they also post their job openings. In addition, different industries have created online communities on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn which not only regularly post job opportunities but are also a great way to network and acquire substantial knowledge about your chosen career.
Consider a Degree Later in Your Career
As you have learned in this article, you can get an entry-level job without a degree. However, if you plan to progress in your career, you should consider getting a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree. Once you do this you will be able to apply for better positions.
You can enroll for a degree either in person or pursue online degrees. Technology has made it easy to pursue a degree not only in the comfort of our homes but also at the pace with which we would like. You could start by enrolling in a free coding bootcamp and see where it goes from there.
Entry-Level Jobs Without a Degree FAQ
Yes, you can get an entry-level tech job without a degree if that is what you are interested in. However, if you would like to progress in this field, you could go for further studies by enrolling in a coding bootcamp, looking into online degree options, or going for a traditional bachelor’s degree.
An apprenticeship program is an on-the-job training program where you get to earn as you learn. They can either take a few months or last up to five years.
You can apply for an apprenticeship program either through a company’s website where you want to work or through the US government’s apprenticeship program. Before you apply, you should check the requirements for entry to see if you qualify.
The difference between an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree is basically the time it takes to complete the degree and the depth of study involved. An associate degree usually lasts two years, while a bachelor’s lasts four years on average and covers a greater variety of topics in greater depth.
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