The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy.
Employment outlook for occupations that
don’t require a formal educational
Elka Torpey | November 2018
There are plenty of occupations you can enter without a high school diploma or more education. And according to
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be more than 6 million openings each year, on average, from
2016 to 2026 in occupations that typically don’t require a formal educational credential—such as a high school
diploma, a certificate, or a degree—for entry.
Although that’s a lot of openings, the median annual wage for occupations requiring no formal credential was
$23,480 in 2017. That wage is less than the $37,690 median for all occupations.
Read on to find out which of these occupations BLS expects to have the most openings, what they pay, and more.
U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
Projections by entry-level education
BLS analyzes the education typically needed for entry-level workers in the 819 occupations for which it projects
employment. Of those occupations, BLS designates 105 as typically requiring no formal educational credential.
The BLS education designations focus on what is standard for most people entering an occupation for the first
time. However, people who are already working in these occupations may have more education than is typically
required for entry.
For example, in 2016–17, 25 percent of food preparation workers ages 25 and older had no formal educational
credential; but about 38 percent of them had a high school diploma or its equivalent, and 37 percent had more
education than that. Despite data showing that more than half of the workers already in the occupation had a high
school diploma or more education, BLS found that people can enter this occupation without finishing high school.
As a result, BLS counts food preparation workers among occupations requiring no formal educational credential.
Overall, BLS projects employment in occupations that don’t require a formal educational credential to grow 6
percent from 2016