- An hourly wage of $20 is lower than the U.S. national average of $31.75, but it’s a good stepping stone for building a career.
- There are many no-degree job opportunities within this wage range, and some of them offer great progression opportunities.
- This list only includes jobs that pay between $20 and $24 per hour.
When it comes to jobs that pay $20 per hour, there’s a lot of value and potential that may go unnoticed at first glance.
For one, most of these jobs can be acquired without any formal degree and without the crippling student debt that usually comes with one.
And, most of these jobs offer very solid progression opportunities.
For example, you could start out working as a travel agent and eventually move up to a management position. Similarly, a real estate agent could eventually become a broker or property manager, and these positions already offer wages of $50+ per hour.
All in all, there are many great reasons to consider getting a job in the $20 per hour range, and that is why today we’ll be taking a look at some of the best options in this pay range available for job seekers without a college diploma.
These are jobs that will pay you $20 an hour without a degree:
- Tattoo artist
- Medical administrative assistant
- Travel agent
- Logging worker
- Voice actor
- Massage therapist
- Personal shopper
- Emergency dispatcher
- Health information technologist
- Licensed practical nurse (LPN)
- Digital content creator
- Truck driver
- Correctional officer
- Train conductor
- Funeral director
- Audio and video technician
- Real estate agent
- Event planner
- Sales representative
Median pay: $20.00 per hour
Job duties: Tattoo artists are professionals who create permanent designs on their clients’ skin using a needle and ink. Further, a tattoo artist is responsible for informing their clients on how to care for their tattoo, how to choose a design, and where to place the tattoo on their body.
Job requirements: Tattoo artists must be great communicators and have artistic abilities – they need to understand what the client wants and how to design tattoos that meet their clients’ expectations. They must also know how to work well under pressure and maintain a clean and sterile work environment. A degree is not needed to become a tattoo artist – however, you are expected to complete an apprenticeship under a licensed tattoo artist. Apprenticeships typically last for 1-3 years, during which time the apprentice will learn about sterilization procedures, how to mix inks, and how to safely operate tattoo equipment.
Medical administrative assistant
Median pay: $20.00 per hour
Job duties: A medical administrative assistant is the front office professional of a medical facility. This professional is usually responsible for greeting patients, scheduling appointments, verifying insurance, handling patient billing and payments, and maintaining medical records.
Job requirements: A formal degree in medicine is not needed to become a medical administrative assistant. However, a candidate for this job is usually expected to be familiar with common office software, customer service principles, and the fundamentals of modern medicine along with the terminology associated with it. In addition, most employers will expect their candidates to have a medical administrative assistant certification. For example, the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant from National Healthcareer Association is one of the certification programs we would recommend.
Median pay: $20.36 per hour
Job duties: A travel agent is responsible for helping their clients plan and book vacation packages. This professional provides guidance on where to stay, how to get around, and what attractions to visit. In addition, a travel agent may also be responsible for booking flights, rental cars, and making other travel arrangements for their clients.
Job requirements: A degree is not required to become a travel agent. However, good travel agents are excellent communicators and multitaskers – this job will demand that you be able to handle multiple requests at once and provide clear and concise information to your clients. In addition, most employers will prefer their candidates to have a travel agent certification – the Certified Travel Associate from The Travel Institute being the current gold standard credential.
Median pay: $20.36 per hour
Job duties: A logging worker is responsible for felling trees, cutting them into logs, and loading them onto trucks. In addition, logging workers are usually responsible for maintaining their equipment and clearing debris from their area of work.
Job requirements: There are no educational requirements for becoming a logging worker. Most employers in this field will provide on-site training that covers the basics of forestry and the machinery used. However, keep in mind that this line of job will acquire good physical shape and strength as it demands long hours of intense outdoor work.
Median pay: $20.56 per hour
Job duties: A voice actor is responsible for providing the voice for characters in film, television, video games, and other forms of media such as audiobooks or medical training videos. This professional needs to be able to capture the feeling and emotion of the text they are voicing while still making it sound natural.
Job requirements: A formal degree is not required to become a voice actor. However, many professional voice actors are trained in acting, singing, or public speaking. If you do not possess any of these skills, we would advise enrolling in a certification program for voice actors. VoiceOver LA Artist Certification Program or the Certified Voice Artist Program would be two such certification programs we would recommend.
Median pay: $20.97 per hour
Job duties: A massage therapist is responsible for providing therapeutic massages to their clients. This professional is usually trained in a variety of massage techniques such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and sports massage. In addition, a massage therapist may also be responsible for providing guidance on stretching and other exercises their clients can do to improve their flexibility.
Job requirements: Most massage therapists are required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition, most states also require massage therapists to be licensed and complete a formal training program. After completing their training and getting their license, many massage therapists also choose to get voluntary certifications. The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork is the current provider of the most widely recognized credential for massage therapists.
Median pay: $21.00 per hour
Job duties: A painter is responsible for creating paintings and other works of art. This professional may work in a variety of mediums such as oil paint, acrylic paint, watercolor, or pastels. These days, many painters and illustrators work strictly using digital tools such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.
Job requirements: Many professionals have started without any formal credentials and have succeeded. If you decide to start your painting career without a degree, try offering your services as a freelancer and start putting together a portfolio of your work. Keep working on your portfolio and try to make it look as varied and impressive as possible.
Median pay: $21.00 per hour
Job duties: A welder is responsible for joining pieces of metal together using heat and pressure. This professional may use a variety of methods such as arc welding, oxy-acetylene welding, or plasma cutting. In addition, welders are often responsible for maintaining their equipment and ensuring that their work area is clean and safe.
Job requirements: There are no formal education requirements to become a welder. Most employers in this field are ready to provide their workers with on-site training, even for people with no prior experience. However, there are a few welding certification programs available if you would like to get formal training before starting your career. For example, The American Welding Society offers several different welding certifications that are well-respected in the industry and can help you command a higher salary and more job opportunities.
Median pay: $21.00 per hour
Job duties: A personal shopper is someone who helps their clients buy and choose clothes, accessories, or even everyday items like groceries. This professional usually works in either a personal shopping firm or offers their service as a freelancer. If the personal shopper is specialized for working with fashion items, then they are usually also expected to be up-to-date with the latest trends and be able to suggest items that complement their client’s individual style.
Job requirements: There are no formal education requirements for this position, although a background in fashion or retail can be helpful. In addition, many personal shoppers have also completed personal shopping certification programs such as the Personal Shopper Certificate Course from IAP Career College.
Median pay: $21.00 per hour
Job duties: A doula is a professional who provides support to mothers during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. This support can take many forms, such as physical, emotional, or informational support. In addition, doulas are often responsible for helping mothers develop a birth plan and providing guidance on breastfeeding and newborn care. That said, a doula is not a medical professional. Instead, they can be thought of as the support system for the mother and her family.
Job requirements: While there are no formal requirements to become a doula, most professionals in this field have gone through specialized training and have a certification to their name. The most internationally acknowledged certificates for doulas are offered by DONA International and Doula Trainings International.
Median pay: $21.00 per hour
Job duties: Emergency dispatchers are responsible for receiving and routing emergency calls. This professional is the first point of contact for people who are experiencing a crisis, so a level-headed and calm personality type is a requirement in this job. In addition to answering calls, emergency dispatchers are also responsible for gathering information from callers, inputting this information into a computer system, and then dispatching the appropriate responders to the scene.
Job requirements: Emergency dispatcher positions require at least a high school diploma, although some employers may prefer applicants who have completed post-secondary education as well. In addition, all emergency dispatchers must complete on-the-job training which usually covers anything from crisis management and basics of medical care to computer systems training. Many professionals in this field also hold certifications from the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch.
Median pay: $21.00 per hour
Job duties: A blacksmith is a professional who works with metals to create objects such as tools, weapons, and artwork. In addition to crafting new items, blacksmiths are also responsible for repairing metal objects.
Job requirements: This job requires a high level of skill, physical prowess, and precision, as well as a good understanding of metallurgy and metalworking techniques. Most novice blacksmiths start their careers by completing an internship under a local blacksmith or by taking blacksmithing classes in a trade school.
Health information technologist
Median pay: $21.75 per hour
Job duties: A health information technologist is responsible for managing and organizing patient health information in a medical organization. This professional is responsible for ensuring that medical records are accurate and up-to-date, as well as coding diagnoses and procedures. In addition, health information technologists may also be responsible for managing the release of medical records to patients or authorized individuals.
Job requirements: A medical degree is not needed in order to become a health information technologist. That said, most employers will prefer a candidates who hold an associate’s degree or higher in health information technology, medical records, or a related field. Alternatively, if you do not hold a formal degree, seek out certification opportunities from the American Health Information Management Association to get started in this field.
Licensed practical nurse (LPN)
Median pay: $21.78 per hour
Job duties: A licensed practical nurse (LPN) is a medical professional who provides basic nursing care. Their duties include taking vital signs, assisting patients with activities of daily living, and providing basic bedside care. In some states, LPNs may also administer medication or start intravenous fluids.
Job requirements: While a medical degree is not a necessity for becoming an LPN, all workers in this field are required to undergo a formal training program. LPN training programs usually take around a year to complete in full and will provide the student with both classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience. After successfully completing an accredited LPN program, candidates must then pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses in order to become licensed in their state of practice.
Digital content creator
Median pay: $22.00 per hour
Job duties: A digital content creator is responsible for developing and producing content for digital platforms such as websites, blogs, and social media. This professional is responsible for researching topics, writing original content, and ensuring that all content is accurate and up-to-date. In addition, digital content creators often work with other professionals such as web designers and web developers to ensure that all content is properly formatted and optimized for search engines.
Job requirements: There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to the educational requirements for becoming a digital content creator. The requirement (or lack thereof) of a degree will mostly come down to whether the content creator works as a freelancer or in a more traditional company setting. While most employers will probably prefer a candidate with a degree in journalism, communications, or a related field, it is entirely possible to offer your services as a freelancer without a traditional degree. For this career path, focus on self-learning (the web is chock full of both paid and free resources on content creation) and building a portfolio of your work.
Median pay: $22.00 per hour
Job duties: A paramedic is a medical professional who provides pre-hospital care for patients with acute medical conditions. Their duties include assessing patients, providing basic life support, and administering medication. In addition, paramedics often work with other medical professionals such as ambulance drivers and emergency room physicians to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.
Job requirements: Requirements for working as a paramedic can differ according to the state in which you practice. However, in most cases, paramedics are required to have at least a high school diploma and must successfully complete an accredited training program. Upon completion of the training program, paramedics must then pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam in order to become certified.
Median pay: $22.66 per hour
Job duties: A truck driver is responsible for operating a commercial vehicle in order to transport goods from one location to another. Their duties include inspecting the condition of the vehicle, loading and unloading cargo, and keeping track of all paperwork associated with the shipment. In addition, truck drivers must often adhere to strict schedules in order to ensure that deliveries are made on time.
Job requirements: In order to become a truck driver, individuals must have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL). In most states, obtaining a CDL requires the completion of a training program. Once the training program is successfully completed, candidates must then pass a written exam and a skills test in order to obtain their CDL. Additionally, truck drivers might be subjected to periodic drug tests and must maintain a clean driving record.
Median pay: $22.81 per hour
Job duties: A correctional officer is responsible for supervising inmates in a jail or prison setting. Their duties include monitoring inmate behavior, conducting searches, and enforcing rules and regulations. In addition, correctional officers often work with other law enforcement professionals such as probation officers and police officers to ensure the safety of both inmates and the general public.
Job requirements: When it comes to educational requirements, a high school diploma is all you need to become a correctional officer. In terms of the hiring process, all candidates must undergo a background check (a squeaky-clean record is a strict requirement in this profession) and a drug test. Additionally, most states require correctional officers to complete a training academy prior to beginning their duties. Many correctional officers also hold official certifications from the American Correctional Association for demonstrating their proficiency and widening their career prospects.
Median pay: $23.00 per hour
Job duties: A train conductor is responsible for the operation of a passenger or freight train. Their duties include collecting tickets, checking for passenger safety, and making announcements over the train’s intercom system. In addition, train conductors often work with other railroad professionals such as engineers and brakemen to ensure that the train runs smoothly and on schedule.
Job requirements: Generally speaking, a high school diploma is the only educational requirement for becoming a train conductor. However, conductors are required to go through an extensive training program in order to learn the ins and outs of operating a train journey. The best way to get the necessary training and certifications is to apply directly through a selected railroad company. Reputable railroad companies commonly offer their applicants paid training and a guaranteed job among other perks. As an example of what you can expect, have a look at the application page for train conductors of Canadian Pacific.
Median pay: $23.18 per hour
Job duties: A mason is responsible for the construction and repair of brick, stone, and concrete structures such as walls, floors, and patios. Their duties include mixing mortar, laying bricks or stones, and using a variety of tools to cut and shape materials. In addition, masons often work with other construction professionals such as carpenters and electricians to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.
Job requirements: There are no formal educational requirements for becoming a mason. However, most masons have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. In terms of the hiring process, most masons get started by going through an apprenticeship program offered by a local masonry contractor. Once they have completed their apprenticeship, many workers in this field also choose to advance their education by completing courses offered by the National Concrete Masonry Association.
Median pay: $23.70 per hour
Job duties: A journalist is responsible for researching, writing, and editing stories for publication in newspapers, magazines, or online news sites. Their duties include conducting interviews, attending press conferences, and fact-checking information. In addition, journalists often work with other media professionals such as editors and photographers to ensure that their stories are accurate and visually appealing.
Job requirements: Formal requirements for becoming a journalist will largely depend on which career path one wants to take. For a freelance journalist, it is crucial to build a strong portfolio by writing quality articles and self-publishing them online. Eventually, this may lead to getting noticed by well-known publications. For a journalist working for a corporate organization, a bachelor’s degree in journalism or a related field is often required. That said, these days many organizations will also accept industry-acknowledged online certifications like the journalism certification from UCLA Extension.
Median pay: $23.81 per hour
Job duties: A carpenter is responsible for the construction and repair of wooden buildings, furniture, and other structures. Their duties include measuring and cutting lumber, assembling fixtures, and sanding down rough edges. In addition, carpenters often work with other construction professionals such as masons and electricians to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.
Job requirements: Although there are no formal educational requirements for becoming a carpenter, most carpenters have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. As with all similar crafting professions, the best way to get started is to find an apprenticeship with a reputable contractor. Once you have acquired the entry-level carpentry skills, you can either choose to start your own business or work at a carpentry firm. For improving their career prospects, many carpenters also choose to get certified – OSHA Safety Certificate being the current gold-standard of carpentry certificates.
Median pay: $24.00 per hour
Job duties: A funeral director is responsible for the organization and coordination of funerals. Their duties include making arrangements with the family of the deceased, selecting a casket or urn, arranging transportation, and writing obituaries. Funeral directors also work with other professionals like florists and cemetery workers to ensure that all aspects of the funeral are taken care of.
Job requirements: Most states acquire funeral directors to be licensed. To be eligible for a license, one needs to have completed an accredited mortuary science program and pass the state’s examination. Once the formal training is completed, some funeral directors also choose to become members of the National Funeral Directors Association. Although this membership is not a requirement in this profession, it can help funeral directors stay abreast of the latest industry trends and stand out from the competition.
Audio and video technician
Median pay: $24.04 per hour
Job duties: An audio and video technician is responsible for the set-up, operation, and tear-down of audio and visual equipment. Their duties include setting up microphones, speakers, and projectors, as well as adjusting sound and lighting levels. Audio and video technicians are typically employed by companies that are responsible for producing big events such as concerts, conferences, and product launches.
Job requirements: An audio and video technician is expected to know all the ins and outs of the equipment they are working with. Formal training is often not required for this role, but many employers in this field will want a guarantee of your proficiency with the audio-video equipment. For this, we recommend enrolling in industry-acknowledged certification programs. Extron AV Associate Certification and the Essentials of AV Technology from Avixa would be two certification programs we would recommend to beginners.
Real estate agent
Median pay: $24.63 per hour
Job duties: Real estate agents manage the sale and purchase of properties on behalf of their clients. Their duties include listing properties, negotiating prices, guiding potential buyers through property tours, and coordinating the paperwork involved in closing a deal. In addition to working with private individuals, real estate agents also often work with developers, landlords, and businesses.
Job requirements: A high school diploma is generally the only educational requirement for becoming a real estate broker. That said, real estate agents are required to have a license in order to practice. The requirements for a real estate license vary from state to state, but most states require agents to complete a few months of training and pass an exam. Once you have your license, you can either choose to work for a real estate agency or start your own business.
Median pay: $24.79 per hour
Job duties: Event planners are responsible for the coordination and execution of big events such as weddings, corporate functions, concerts, and birthday parties. Their duties include booking venues, hiring caterers and other vendors, managing budgets, and handling all the details that go into making an event successful.
Job requirements: There are no strict educational requirements for becoming an event planner. However, in order to succeed in this field, we suggest starting by gaining experience by offering your services for free friends, family, and the organization you currently work in. Once you have some experience under your belt, consider formal training via online courses and start offering your services locally. After you gain some relevant experience, you will also become an eligible candidate for the 3 most widely acknowledged certificates in the industry – Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP), and the Certified Government Meeting Professional (CGMP.)
Median pay: $28.00 per hour
Job duties: Sales representatives are responsible for generating leads and meeting sales quotas in an organization. Their duties include making cold calls, giving presentations, attending trade shows, and keeping up-to-date on the latest products and services in their company’s portfolio. In order to be successful in this role, sales representatives need to have a combination of great communication skills, an understanding of budgeting, sales strategies, and marketing principles.
Job requirements: Whether a sales representative needs a degree or not will largely depend on the industry they are working in. In most cases, a formal degree is not necessary, provided that the salesperson has a background in their industry of choice and can also demonstrate their proficiency in sales. To become proficient in sales, start by diving into resources like books, blog articles, and online courses. After you have a good understanding of the basics, you should also consider getting a sales certification from a reputable organization like the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) or the National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP).