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Blog/Guides/Here’s How to Get Hired for a Government Job Without a Degree

Here’s How to Get Hired for a Government Job Without a Degree

Article index


  • Why government jobs are so in demand
  • Why you may still be able to get hired without a college degree
  • How to find and apply to government jobs that don’t require a degree, with examples and details


There are several reasons federal jobs are in high demand. Many have competitive salaries and great benefits. If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, though, you may think you’re automatically disqualified from getting a steady government job. However, that’s not always the case.

In this article, we’ll give some insight into government jobs that you can get, even if you don’t have a degree. We’ll also look at what makes some of these jobs sought after, in addition to how you can compete with recent graduates and give yourself the best chance of getting hired.

Finding a Government Job Without a Degree

While certain government employees, like engineers and scientists, need specialized knowledge to get hired, not all government agencies require job applicants to have a degree. If you’ve been working for a while, you may already have the qualifications necessary to land a great position. With just a high school diploma (or GED) and no experience, you already have eligibility for entry-level jobs at grade two of the General Schedule (GS) pay scale.

The GS scale is the table by which government employees are paid. It consists of 15 pay grades (GS-1 through GS-15). Jobs higher on the scale pay more and require more knowledge and expertise. GS-2 employees start at just over $22,000 a year and can make just under $28,000 a year. If you have specialized experience (experience related to the job), you can qualify for higher pay grades right away.

Even though these jobs don’t require a degree, they’re still extremely competitive. Specialized work experience will help you stand out from other candidates. For example, it will be much easier to land a job as a government financial clerk if you have accounting experience from a former position. If you have a government job in mind, try to find ways to gain experience in that industry.

To help you find government jobs that don’t require a degree, consider the following:

  • Use Joblist or USAJOBS to find government job postings in your area of interest. Check each job’s requirements to make sure you don’t need a degree.
  • Create a strategy for attaining any experience you need for the job. For example, if you want to be a library assistant, you can volunteer at your local library.
  • Send your application for the job you want. Be sure to tailor your resume and cover letter for the job to which you’re applying.

7 Government Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree

Over the next few sections, we’ll go over a few government jobs that don’t require a degree to get hired. It’s important to note, though, that there might be other factors that could restrict you from attaining these positions. For example, a federal agency usually won’t hire you if you have a felony conviction on your record. To find details about federal jobs, you can visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website.

Mail Carrier

If you like working outside the office, this job could be for you. These government workers deliver mail and packages across the country. Mail carriers are employees of the United States Postal Service (USPS). They drive mail trucks from neighborhood to neighborhood and make deliveries to recipients’ mailboxes.

On average, mail carriers earn $51,310 a year. If you’re hired for this position, you’ll have to go through a brief period of on-the-job training (about two weeks) and you’ll have to pass a written exam that will test your ability to fill out forms, check addresses, and work quickly.

Correctional Officer

If you’re interested in criminal justice, you can try to become a correctional officer. Correctional officers file behavior reports, conduct contraband searches, and generally oversee individuals who have been arrested or are awaiting trial. They also help escort and transport inmates.


The median annual salary for a correctional officer is $45,180. When you’re hired for this position, you’ll have to attend about six weeks of training to learn about things like first aid, self defense, and crisis intervention tactics. After that, you’ll have additional on-the-job training. You’ll receive a paycheck and benefits during the entire training process.

Keep in mind that this job can be dangerous. Correctional officers have a high risk of getting hurt in confrontations with inmates.

Library Assistant

If you’re a bookworm, you might enjoy being a library assistant. These workers help library-goers find books and other materials. They also do administrative work, like answering calls, taking messages, and managing inventory.

These federal employees have a median hourly wage of $13.22. If you’re hired for this job, you’ll go through a period of on-the-job training. There are several types of libraries you might work in, such as a local public library, a school library, or even a specialty library.

One thing you should consider before starting this position is that getting promoted may require higher-level education. Library directors need to have a master’s degree in library science.

Social Service Assistant

If you like helping people, a career in civil service may be right for you. Social service assistants help social workers by performing administrative tasks for them. They keep track of things like client records and patient progression. They also help individuals and families get access to community services, government benefits, and rehabilitation resources.


Social services assistants make a median annual salary of $35,060. These employees must go through a short period of on-the-job training. Most of the time, this job will only require a high school diploma, but there are some areas that do require an associate degree.

While the hours for this job can be strenuous — including a full time commitment with occasional nights and weekends — it can be rewarding to know that you’re making a difference in people’s lives.

Postal Clerk

Like mail carriers, postal clerks work for the USPS. However, they don’t leave the post office. Instead of delivering mail, they sort it and get it ready to be delivered. They also interact with customers who come into the post office. They’ll weigh packages, sell stamps, and handle financial transactions for customers.

Postal clerks make a median annual salary of $52,060. If you’re hired in this position, you’ll have to pass a written exam and complete a short on-the-job training period. If you like the idea of working for the post office without having to drive to multiple locations, you might enjoy being a postal clerk.

Administrative Assistant

If you don’t mind paperwork, you can try your hand at administration. Administrative assistants handle a wide variety of office tasks. They’ll set and keep schedules, organize information, store files, and offer general support to supervisors and co-workers.


The median annual salary of an administrative assistant is $39,850. If you’re hired for this job, you’ll go through a short period of on-the-job training. While this job typically doesn’t require a degree, it may require you to brush up on your computer skills. Administrative assistants are expected to know how to use software like Microsoft Office and Excel.

There’s also plenty of room for job growth in administration. You may start in an entry-level position but find yourself soon moving up to a higher position, like an executive administrative assistant. Certain administration jobs — particularly in the medical or legal field — may require specialized training.

Court Reporter

Court reporters transcribe court cases and litigation. Some court reporters are also captioners, which means they provide captions for televised court proceedings and live events.

On average, court reporters make $60,130 a year. While court reporters don’t need a degree, this job does require a certificate from a tertiary or postsecondary institution. You can find a list of court reporter certifications on the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) website. Many states also require court reporters to pass a licensing exam and a typing speed test.

Find Government Jobs in Your Area on Joblist

While college is a great way to prepare for job opportunities, it isn’t for everyone. Just because you don’t have a degree, doesn’t mean you can’t land a government job with a nice benefits package.

Joblist has the resources to help job seekers. We’ll give you a list of curated job openings at companies actively seeking your particular skill set, no matter your level of education. Use our quiz page to let us know what types of jobs you’re looking for.

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