Government jobs come with various benefits and perks, and they usually lead to a permanent role. If you’re seeking a government job, state and federal governments have many open positions. These can vary between management positions and entry-level jobs that don’t have many requirements to apply.
Although many jobs require a degree, there are just as many that don’t. If you don’t have a degree and you want to start your government career, take a look at this guide. Read below to learn all about government jobs without a degree, how much they pay, and how to get one.
What Is a Government Job?
Government jobs are roles under the government, and there are many different sectors. While employees get the honor to serve the public, they also gain financial and job security. Different kinds of jobs are available in many government branches. Some require a degree, while others only require training or work experience instead. Requirements vary depending on the state.
You can also decide what government industry you want to pursue. Local government jobs let you work for your city, county, or local community. State government jobs provide you with similar work as local governments, but you will also cover some federal sector concerns. Federal government jobs deal with work that impacts the entire nation/
How Much Does a Government Job Without a Degree Pay?
According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary of federal government workers is $74,680. However, this is a general number, and the pay of government jobs without a degree is wide-ranging. Such jobs include different specializations and responsibilities, so the salaries vary.
Many people think private companies pay better than government jobs, but this is not always the case. Some public sector jobs offer better salaries than private-sector positions. On top of that, government workers are under the Federal Wage System. This system entitles them to a raise at three-year intervals, unlike private job workers whose raises are less predictable.
What Skills Do You Need to Land a Government Job?
Open-Mindedness and Tolerance
These two traits will get you through working with diverse people who hold opinions and ideas that may go against yours. Having tolerance and an open mind is essential for smooth interaction with coworkers in a government setting
Negotiation and Organization Skills
In any role in the government, you will be dealing with different personalities. You may need to negotiate with different people in government departments as part of your role. This means that negotiation and organizational skills come in handy as you deal with teams across levels and functions
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Good Written and Oral Communication Skills
In any setting, good communication skills are essential. You need to have the ability to communicate things clearly, both in written and oral. In addition, effective communication skills will help all your tasks run smoothly.
Time Management Skills
Government jobs tend to have a high workload. Therefore, you will need time management skills to manage your workload and prioritize. Whatever government role you decide to pursue, prepare to juggle different tasks with varying degrees of priority.
Courtesy and Respect for Hierarchy
Once you get a government job, you will need to respect the government job hierarchy. Be aware of how you treat differences in job title, status, and professional background when dealing with colleagues. Being courteous will help bring a more peaceful workplace and help you gain respect.
What Education Do You Need to Get a Government Job?
Without a degree, you can get government jobs with General Educational Development (GED) or a high school diploma. A few government jobs have no formal education requirement, but they can be rare. It’s also helpful to have experience in finance or engineering through vocational schools.
Even though you have no degree, if you want a government job, you must pass the civil service exam. You can achieve this through self-study or with the help of others. Study guides for the test may also help.
Why College Is Not for Everyone
Many people have successful careers without attending college. A four-year college degree can be academically difficult, and so can the financial burden of attending college. In many cases, this effort is not worth it, and you can still find a great job without a college degree.
Not having a college education is not a dead end. You may get a vocational course or go to trade schools and acquire practical skills to help you get an equivalent training and certificate. High school equivalency programs can also help you advance your career and get a high-paying job with a GED.
How to Get a Government Job with a GED
Step 1: Make a list of your strengths and experiences
It can be helpful to consider your strengths and experiences first, as these will set you apart from other candidates. Then, consider what careers your skills will suit. Self-preparation can go a long way in helping you land a government job without a degree.
Step 2: Search for government jobs
Once you know what makes you a competitive candidate, start looking for open positions. Even if you’re not ready to apply yet, knowing what each position requires gives you an advantage. It can guide you to work on the skills you need. Make sure to read the requirements thoroughly, as some government jobs still require some college experience even if you are without a degree.
Step 3: Customize your resume and cover letter
In your cover letter, mention the specific position you want to apply for. In your resume, on the other hand, make sure to highlight your skills and strengths that will help you succeed in the job. Finally, do not forget to put your contact details, such as your email address.
Step 4: Take the civil service exam
Government jobs require a civil service exam, even for those without a degree requirement. The civil service exam is a competitive exam you need to pass to qualify for a government position. You’ll have to sign up for an open test date, then begin studying and preparing for the test. After passing the test, your name will be on the list of potential candidates for government jobs.
Step 5: Apply for open government positions
Once you’ve completed the test and finished customizing your resume, you should start applying for open positions. At this point, you should also sharpen your interview skills and even practice with mock interviews. You can also turn to a professional and ask them for help in preparing for your government job interview.
High-Paying Government Jobs Without a College Degree
|Subway and Streetcar Operator||$69,440||10%|
|Postal Service Worker||$51,150||-9%|
|Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerk||$42,410||-3%|
|Social and Human Service Assistant||$35,960||17%|
Best Government Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree: A Closer Look
Subway and Streetcar Operator
Their job involves operating subway or elevated suburban trains with no separate locomotives and streetcars. They transport and serve passengers, handle fares, and are familiar with emergency evacuation procedures.
This position only requires a high school diploma or GED and some on-the-job training. It’s a high-paying government job without a degree requirement, and it’s great for those willing to learn technical subway or streetcar operation skills.
Deputy sheriffs are appointed officials working under the sheriff-in-charge of maintaining and enforcing laws within their jurisdiction. Their tasks include but are not limited to patrolling areas, helping investigate crimes, and handling paperwork. They may also arrest law violators and respond to police calls.
Deputy sheriffs must have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. They must also complete a training program for their role upon getting hired. This job has decent employment growth and high pay, a great government job for those who wish to work in law enforcement.
Court reporters are responsible for creating certified transcripts of trials, hearings, and other legal proceedings. Most of them work in courts or legislatures. However, they may also travel to different locations, such as public events or meeting sites.
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Becoming a court reporter in a legal setting usually requires licensure or certification from a professional association. Once they get the job, they must also undergo on-the-job training, depending on the type of reporting they’ll cover. This government job without a degree offers high pay and an intriguing working environment.
Firefighters are rescuers trained to respond to emergencies and extinguish fires that threaten life, property, or the environment. They work in the fire department, one of the main emergency services of the government. At fire stations, firefighters’ shifts can last up to 24 hours.
Firefighters usually need a high school diploma or GED equivalent and training at a fire academy. It’s a high-paying government job with decent employment growth. People who are physically fit and can stay calm in high-pressure situations are the best candidates for this role.
Postal Service Worker
Postal service workers work for the United States Postal Service. Their duties include collecting letters and parcels, selling postal products, and operating postal equipment. Most postal service workers are clerks working indoors handling mail or mail carriers who deliver mail outdoors.
Becoming a postal service worker requires having a high school diploma or GED and passing a written exam for the role. Employment is declining, but there are plenty of openings each year. It is a well-paying government job without a degree requirement.
Correctional officers are in charge of enforcing policies and regulations in correctional facilities. They directly supervise and maintain the security of inmates, employees, and visitors by preventing disturbances and enforcing rules. They must also ensure that the facility is following state and federal laws.
The candidate for this role must be of the required age and have a high school diploma or GED. Often, candidates also go through a training academy to develop good physical stamina and work ethics. Physically and mentally fit people who wish to work in a high-paying government job without a degree best suit this job.
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerk
These types of government clerks often handle and check the accuracy of financial records. Some of them also handle tax and billing records. They work in offices and may also do site visits as needed. Although a four-year college degree in accounting is not required, applicants usually need successful completion of postsecondary education.
They must also have the ability to learn skills on the job. Those who work in this role have basic math and computer skills, including bookkeeping software knowledge. Despite slightly declining employment, this is a decent-paying government job with more than 170,000 openings yearly, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Financial clerks do administrative work for various organizations, including government agencies. Their duties involve keeping and updating records, calculating bills and charges, and carrying out financial transactions. They also offer customer assistance.
Aspiring financial entry clerks only need a high school diploma or GED equivalent. They learn the skills required through on-the-job training and experience. While employment for financial entry clerks is declining, it’s still a decent-paying government job with many job openings.
Administrative assistants are the backbone of offices in completing various administrative support tasks. They assist certain staff members or provide support to the whole office. Responsibilities typically involve answering phones, scheduling appointments, recording messages, and answering questions from visitors.
The educational requirement for an administrative assistant is a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition, an applicant must be comfortable using word processing and spreadsheet programs to qualify for an entry-level position. Despite having a low job outlook, administrative assistants enjoy an excellent annual salary.
Social and Human Service Assistant
Social and human service assistants perform roles in social work, such as rehabilitation, psychology, and others. Some work for non-profit organizations and state and local governments. Their clients include various types of people. They usually work full time, while some work night and weekend shifts.
Instead of on-the-job training, social and human service assistant roles only require a high school diploma. They don’t need to have a postsecondary non-degree award. Many individuals who aspire to become licensed social workers use the role as a stepping stone.
Where to Find Government Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree
Popular Job Search Engines
Popular websites like Glassdoor, Monster, and SimplyHired contain numerous listings for government jobs for job seekers. You can find jobs in the social services field as entry clerks, air traffic controllers, and many more. You may also narrow your search and put in other details such as location.
This is the largest job board in the country dedicated specifically to the public sector. On the Government Jobs website, there are thousands of government jobs such as library assistants, social services assistants, logistics managers, and air traffic controllers, plenty of which require no degree. The website also lets you save your applications and keep track of them.
Many federal agencies are searching for people to fill their positions. If you are interested in applying for a federal job, visit usajobs.gov. It is an official website of the US government that acts as a job search engine for anyone interested in federal jobs. Using USAJobs, you can search for federal jobs of your choice that don’t require degrees.
Consider a Government Degree Later in Your Career
Having a government job without a degree can just be your starting point. Once you have gained some job experience, a college degree can elevate your career. If working while studying is hard for you and you need flexibility in schedule, consider an online bootcamp program or online degree. You can then avoid travel time and study anywhere or at any time you want.
Government Jobs Without a Degree FAQ
Yes, you can apply for state government jobs without a degree. Many state government jobs don’t require degrees and only ask for a high school diploma or GED equivalent.
Instead of a degree, some employers prefer their candidates to have work experience or training for the role. The requirements vary from state to state, but there will always be government jobs without a degree requirement available for you.
If you do not have a degree, you must have at least a high school diploma or GED and a passing score in the Civil Service Exam to be eligible. Most government jobs without a degree require at least these. Jobs without any education requirements are extremely uncommon.
Law enforcement jobs such as police officers and deputy sheriffs, especially entry-level ones, usually don’t require college degrees. However, many people still get degrees before applying because it lets them stand out and bring more skills to the field. Still, you can apply and possibly get a position for these government jobs without a degree.
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