Looking for an online job but don't have a four-year degree? That's okay! Many companies are shifting to a skills-based hiring approach and rethinking how to recruit for open positions. Especially for online jobs, they’re more concerned about your ability to achieve deliverables than they are about your resume’s ability to match their list of job requirements. They know that requiring a four-year degree in a job post filters out candidates who may have the right skills and temperament for the job.
While the market is competitive, you can find a good job online, even without a degree, as long as you have the right skills—which you can develop on your own.
The Degree Reset and shift toward skills-based hiring
Harvard Business School studied U.S. workforce trends and the increase in skills-based hiring, in the shift toward remote work following the COVID-19 pandemic. They found what they coined a Degree Reset, or “downcredentialling.” Downcredentialling removes degree requirements from a job posting and focuses on hard and soft skills, instead.
Companies like IBM, Accenture, and even the White House publicly announced they would remove educational requirements for certain jobs in order to meet their need for the right skills.
According to Statista research, as of 2021, 62.1% of people aged 25 and older don't have a four-year degree.
Government leaders in Maryland, for example, were unable to find skilled candidates for many state jobs, while the state had millions of unemployed people looking for work. Their solution in 2022 was to cut the four-year degree requirement for thousands of state government roles and open it up to what they call STARS (skilled through alternate routes).
Check out these awesome 15 online jobs that don't require a four-year degree:
- Virtual assistant
- Administrative support professional
- Graphic designer
- Project manager
- Digital marketer
- Social media manager
- Voice-over artist
- Technical support professional
- Survey freelancer
- Content creator
- Web designer
If you have a wide range of skills and enjoy working one-on-one with people, consider becoming a virtual assistant. Many CEOs, entrepreneurs, and other professionals need remote help, from responding to emails to posting on social media. Virtual assistant roles typically don’t require degrees, but you may need additional training depending on the type of virtual assistant you want to be.
Example of virtual assistant tasks:
- Email management
- Travel booking
- Updating and maintaining spreadsheets
- Creating presentations
- Managing social media
- Managing databases
Average pay: $18-$35 per hour
Explore virtual assistant jobs on Upwork.
Administrative support professional
Administrative support professionals are similar to virtual assistants. But instead of primarily supporting one person like the CEO or a public person, your services would be available to a wide range of employees. Administrative support professionals typically focus on human resources and office management but have many different skills. You may need additional training for tasks like bookkeeping or using company software.
Administrative support professional responsibilities may include:
- Spreadsheet management
- Respond to phone calls or emails
- Coordinating meetings
- Expense reporting
Average pay: $10-$20 per hour
Find administrative support jobs on Upwork.
While you can get a degree in graphic design, you don't necessarily need one if you have a great portfolio and the right skills. Graphic designers make visual art for companies and clients using software like Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. You could work from a company's brand style guidelines to create a logo or social media graphic. Teach yourself graphic design or take an online course to learn popular design software and techniques.
Companies hire graphic designers to work on:
- UX & UI
- Social media
- Marketing and sales collateral
- Website design
- Product packaging
- Creating or updating brand guidelines
Average pay: $40-$75 per hour
Find graphic design jobs on Upwork.
Many companies are looking for project managers as they move to remote or hybrid workforce models. As a project manager, you could work in various industries, leading teams to success as you make sure they meet their goals and objectives. Project management is an in-demand skill that doesn’t require a college degree to become an expert. You may need training or certificates in software like Asana, which you can take courses on, along with soft skills like leadership, communication, and time management.
Project managers typically focus on:
- Project planning. Project managers outline what the team needs to complete projects on time and under budget.
- Resource allocation. Project managers find the most effective and efficient way to allocate resources by assigning tasks to the right teams, and ensuring they have the necessary tools.
- Project oversight. As a project manager, it's your job to make sure that everyone on the team is on schedule and has what they need to succeed.
- Team motivation. Project managers check in with their team, providing help and boosting morale where needed.
- Deliverables. When the project is complete, the project manager turns in the deliverables and makes sure everything from invoicing to reallocating unused resources is handled efficiently.
Average pay: $19-$45 per hour
Find project management jobs on Upwork.
You can become a freelance digital marketer without a degree by teaching yourself essential skills and taking courses to earn certificates. Companies hire digital marketers to build brand awareness and gain leads (potential customers) through online channels like social media, website content, or email. These marketing campaigns can be paid or organic (unpaid), driving traffic and engagement.
Digital marketers can provide a variety of services to clients and companies, including:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Social media marketing
- Content creation
- Digital ads (social media, display, and other pay-per-click ads)
- Trend forecasting
- Affiliate and influencer marketing
- Marketing automation
Average pay: $15-$45 per hour
Find digital marketing jobs on Upwork.
Companies hire writers without degrees in a variety of different niches. Some writers focus on the creative side of brand and marketing content, while others prefer to work on technical writing. You could write short or long-form content. As a writer, your skills speak for themselves with your portfolio and client reviews if you freelance. As you gain experience, you can add certificates and new writing skills to your resume and profile to be more competitive.
Examples of types of writing jobs that don't require degrees:
- Technical writing
- Content writing
- Resume writing
- SEO writing
Average pay: $30-$40 per hour
Explore writing jobs on Upwork.
Do you speak and write in more than one language fluently? Translating is a great job that doesn't require a degree. Translators take written copy in one language and translate it into another, ensuring it's grammatically correct and maintains its original meaning. As a translator, you could also specialize in a particular type of translating, like marketing or technical content, that can be more difficult to maintain the original meaning and localize (making it culturally relevant).
In-demand languages for translation include:
Average pay: $15-$45 per hour
Find translation jobs on Upwork in the languages you're fluent in.
Transcriptionists transcribe audio, video, PDFs, and written notes into a word document. You don't need a degree to be a transcriptionist, but certain types of transcribing, like medical or legal, can require certifications. Transcribers must be able to accurately type information quickly and edit (if needed), among other skills.
Examples of transcribing jobs include:
- Court reporter
- Law enforcement transcriber
- Legal transcriber
- Medical transcriber
- Realtime captioner
Average pay: $17-$22 per hour
Find transcriber jobs on Upwork.
Social media manager
Businesses and individuals need help creating content, running ads, and responding to messages and comments on their social media accounts, all while working from home. You don't need a degree to be a talented social media manager. Many social media managers are self-taught and upskill with online courses and certifications.
Social media manager's responsibilities could include the following:
- Planning content calendars
- Creating content yourself or managing graphic designers and copywriters
- Scheduling posts
- Running social media ads
- Community management
- Responding to direct messages and comments
- Reporting on analytics
- Influencer marketing
Average pay: $14-$35 per hour
Find social media manager jobs on Upwork.
Bookkeeping falls under the umbrella of accounting but is a great work-from-home that doesn't require a degree. You can take courses and earn bookkeeping certificates to be more competitive. Bookkeeping requires skills like attention to detail and being comfortable working with numbers and spreadsheets. Companies hire bookkeepers to keep financial records up-to-date and organized.
Possible responsibilities as a bookkeeper:
- Oversee and cross-reference financial transactions
- Maintain ledgers
- Prepare financial statements
- Updating account balances
- Data entry
- Accounts payable
Average pay: $11-$25 per hour
Find bookkeeping jobs on Upwork.
Have you ever been told that you have a great speaking voice? Voice-over artists are voice actors that organizations hire to read scripts and narrate everything from commercials to presentations. Being a voice-over artist is a fun work-from-home job that you don't need a degree for, just your voice and the proper recording and editing equipment. You could provide voice-overs in a business setting or work on your characters and accents for more creative work.
Examples of projects you could work on as a voice-over artist:
- Corporate promotional videos
- Animated TV and movies
- Video games
- Health and wellness apps
Average Pay: $16-$23 per hour
Find voice-over artist jobs on Upwork.
Are you great at explaining concepts and enjoy working with students? Many students at all different levels are looking for online tutors to help with classes and exam preparation. You could help students from around the world work on subjects ranging from English to math. Tutoring is an online job that doesn't require a degree; you just need to be knowledgeable about a subject. You cake take online courses and earn certificates to stand out as a professional tutor.
Popular subjects students need tutors for
- Math (ranging from arithmetic to calculus)
- Science (e.g., chemistry, physics)
- Foreign languages (e.g., English, French, Spanish)
- Native languages and grammar
- Standardized test prep (e.g., SAT, ACT, ASVAB)
- Subject test prep (e.g., AP exams, GCSEs)
Average pay: $17-$24 per hour
Find online tutoring jobs on Upwork.
Technical support professional
Many companies hire remote technical support professionals without a degree; they’re more concerned about the person’s technology, troubleshooting, problem-solving, and customer service skills. As a technical support professional, you help employees or customers with their technical issues, whether computer software or physical product.
You may need to debug or upgrade software while working from home, either walking someone through the steps or gaining access to their computer and doing it for them. Because technical support is so popular, you can find many different IT courses and earn certificates online to work with specific programs and software.
Examples of technical support tasks:
- Installing and configuring software
- Resolving network issues
- Documenting employee and customer issues
- Troubleshooting technical problems
- Running diagnostics
- Monitoring computer systems and networks
- Setting up new user accounts
- Responding to service tickets
Average pay: $12-$30 per hour
Find technical support jobs on Upwork.
Businesses and organizations hire survey freelancers to create, design, and even analyze survey results. You can create surveys on sites like SurveyMonkey or Jotform for clients and help them understand the data. Organizations in many different industries use surveys to collect data to make informed decisions. A business may send out a post-purchase customer satisfaction survey or get feedback on new ideas from their most loyal customers.
Types of surveys you could create:
- Market research
- Customer satisfaction
- Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) surveys
- Post-event or training feedback
- Human resource and employee feedback
- Exit interviews
- Product feedback
- Brand awareness
- Lead generation
Average pay: $25 per hour
Find survey freelancer jobs on Upwork.
Brands are in constant need of fresh content. They turn to content creators to create and edit digital content, whether written like a blog or white paper or a graphic, image, or video that is engaging and keeps up with current trends. A degree isn’t typically a requirement to work from home as a content creator if you have the right skills and a good portfolio. As a content creator, you could strategize and plan out a content calendar or work on assigned pre-planned deliverables like an Instagram reel or blog post.
What you can create as a content creator:
- Social media graphics (e.g., Tiktoks, Instagram Reels)
- Youtube videos
- Product tutorial videos
- Website graphics and videos
Average pay: $30-$50 per hour
Find content creator jobs on Upwork.
Nearly every business needs a website, and they hire web designers to make sure it's visually appealing and user-friendly. A developer works on the website's back-end framework and coding, while a designer focuses on the front-end layout, visuals, and usability. You don't have to have a degree or be a coding expert to work as a web designer; just have an eye for good design and the right skills. You may need to take courses or teach yourself how to use specific web design software to be able to work on clients' websites.
Examples of popular website software that web designers may work in:
- Google Web Designer
Average pay: $15-$30 per hour
Find web design jobs on Upwork.
Tips to get started
Ever wondered if you can work from home with no degree? The answer is yes, as long as you develop the right skills. Many remote jobs don't require a college degree. Instead, clients and companies pay more attention to skills, portfolios, and overall experience for certain online jobs, especially if hiring independent talent.
Whether you're looking to freelance for clients or work as a full-time employee for a single company, you can find online jobs that fit your skill set and what you're interested in without needing a college degree.
These tips can help you get started:
- Create a portfolio of work. Clients and companies want to see the quality of your work and examples of what you've done in the past. Your portfolio should highlight your best work samples.
- Have referrals from previous clients. If a client is happy with your work, you can ask them to refer you to another colleague or business that could use your services.
- Share client reviews. Whether you're working on Upwork or getting clients through your own website, positive client reviews add trust and validation for new clients.
- Start small. Your first job is rarely the highest-paying and most exciting one. Be open-minded and seek jobs that provide the best experience to help grow your business and look good on your portfolio, rather than just the ones that pay the most (this can come later).
- Earn certificates. You can get specific certifications in the skills you want to offer employers and clients instead of a degree to help make your profile and resume stand out (especially if you don't have a lot of experience yet).
- Join professional organizations. Many online jobs have related professional organizations that can be valuable resources. You can join and take advantage of members-only classes, discussions, and other meetings.
Find work on Upwork
Companies hire freelancers on Upwork for their expertise and specialized skills, which can be a benefit to those without a degree. Determine your niche and become an expert at it, build your portfolio, gain positive client reviews, and upskill. You can find clients from small start-ups to the Fortune 500 on Upwork, looking for someone with your skillset to help with their next project. Explore the Talent MarketplaceTM, where clients post jobs daily that don't require a degree. Apply to jobs that require less experience (if you’re new) and start building your skills and portfolio.
Ranges of hourly rates are current at the time of publication but may change over time.
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