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These Government Jobs Don’t Require A Four-Year Degree

5 minute read

By Ryan Pratt

Government jobs are often placed on a pedestal by job seekers, and it’s easy to see why. Many of these positions offer lucrative pay, job stability, and top-notch benefits.

Better yet, many of these positions are not exclusive to university and college graduates. This means that high school graduates can apply without taking any additional certification or diploma courses. Here are some government jobs that do not require a four-year degree.

Data Entry Clerk

Data entry positions are common throughout the local, state, and federal levels of government. These jobs, which focus on compiling and sorting electronic documents, can be found wherever databases of information are stored. Therefore, these work skills can be just as applicable in the healthcare, transportation, or financial sector.

Regardless of the nature of the data at hand, attention to detail and familiarity with computers can help qualify you for these positions. Data entry clerks earn an annual average of $36,072 and require nothing more than a high school education to get started.

Shutterstock: ALPA PROD

Library Assistant

If you’re looking for something a little more dynamic than data entry, a library assistant might be the job for you. While both positions require a fair amount of organizing, library assistants deal with more tangible documents, such as books, slides, and microfilms.

A background in retail can help you prepare for many of the duties of a library assistant. Typical tasks include checking out borrowed items, collecting returns, and fielding questions from the public. Since many libraries are funded through public taxes, they are staffed by government employees. As such, the average salary of a library assistant is upwards of $25,000 per year.

Shutterstock: BearFotos

Mail Carrier

Working for the United States Postal Service is surely one of the best government jobs that doesn’t require post-secondary education. Whether you’re delivering mail on foot or stationed in a post office, mail carriers can earn upwards of $51,000 per year.

If you’re organized and outgoing, being a postal worker might be the ideal career for you. There’s no degree required, but be warned: these are highly competitive jobs. You will have to pass a written test in order to get hired, so study hard!


Correctional Officer

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the walls of a jail or detention center? Become a correctional officer and find out! Protecting the custody and security of inmates, while supporting their rehabilitation, can be very rewarding. Plus, the position can earn you anywhere from $43,000 at local jails to $57,000 at the federal level.

Given the stakes of this challenging career, it’s somewhat surprising that further schooling is not required. However, many new recruits come from military backgrounds, or have taken courses in criminal law. If you’re entering this field straight out of high school, make sure you’re in good physical shape and get ready for an intensive training program.

Shutterstock: Ann Kosolapova

Social Services Assistant

If you want to make a difference in your community – and don’t want to spend your days in a jail setting – you might consider becoming a social services assistant. In this position, you’ll aim to improve the lives of people who require food stamps, housing assistance, plus mental and physical care.

While supervisor roles in this field typically require a degree, assistant roles do not require additional education. An on-the-job training period is usually allocated to give new hires a feel for the work. Social service assistants earn an average salary of $35,000 and help their communities in the process!

Shutterstock: Ground Picture

Census Taker

At the behest of the U.S. Census Bureau, census takers visit the public in order to help them complete government questionnaires. Job applicants with door-to-door sales experience will be familiar with the grind of this position — although luckily, they don’t have to sell anything!

The purpose of this job is to collect civilian data, which is then analyzed to determine the needs of the population. This process is important, but the individual responsibility is pretty laid back. Perhaps that’s why high school graduates can score these jobs, making roughly $38,000 per year.

Shutterstock: Ron Adar

Administrative Assistant

The job title may seem vague, but administrative assistants are instrumental to the functioning of various governmental settings. Typically, these roles are required in courthouses, as well as public and military offices, where they complete a wide range of clerical duties.

An administrative assistant career might be ideal for those with any receptionist or office experience. The role has different levels of experience (entry-level, mid-level, and executive), which means there’s ample room to grow into your field. The nationwide average salary stands at $43,800.


Court Reporter

Courthouses are ideal settings for government jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, as these next two examples prove. Court reporters are the ones who transcribe court proceedings, providing their final reports to judges and lawyers.

Court reporters with diplomas and certifications can obtain added responsibilities, such as reviewing legal documents and overseeing court schedules. Some even deal directly with subpoenas and injunctions. To start, most court reporters can earn $30,000 per year.


Financial Clerk

Financial clerk is another career field that is frequently found at U.S. courthouses. True to its title, this job consists of administrative tasks that revolve around monetary exchanges. Duties often include issuing bills, collecting payments, and organizing invoices.

No additional diplomas are necessary to apply for this government job. A background in finance – even retail – can be helpful. Many financial clerks receive on-site training and take home a salary of $38,700.


Focus Your Credentials

None of these jobs require a four-year degree. Having said that, there’s no question that obtaining further education is still an advantage, especially for highly competitive positions. Four years of additional schooling might not be in your future, but short-term certifications and diploma courses can go a long way.

Each of these careers has corresponding educational programs that can greatly increase your chances of getting hired. Many of these options only take a year to complete and are available online, at your convenience. Remember: when it comes to your education and career, it’s always worthwhile to invest in yourself!


Ryan Pratt



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