White-Collar Jobs for People Without a Degree

Jan 18, 2020

A college degree is not an automatic prerequisite for working in the white-collar world. There are many office jobs that do not require a college degree that individuals may be interested in pursuing.

White-Collar Career Options for People without a Degree

For individuals who were not able to obtain a college degree for whatever reason, they may be under the impression that they will have to work in the blue-collar world. However, there are a number of white-collar jobs across various fields--like finance and sales--that do not require a degree. We will look at five of these different jobs in greater detail below and discuss how individuals can enter the field.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Secretary/Administrative Assistant $38,880 -7% (decline)
Bookkeeper $40,240 (for all bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks) -4% (for all bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks)
Insurance Sales Agent $50,600 10%
Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representative $61,660 2%
Dental Assistant $38,660 11%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for White-Collar Jobs for People without a Degree

Secretary/Administrative Assistant

Secretaries and administrative assistants play a key role in helping companies, executives, and other professionals stay organized. Some of their duties may include scheduling meetings and appointments, answering phone calls and responding to emails, and filing important documents, which they do from a desk in an office space. Some secretaries may work in specific fields, like legal or medical, which may require some special courses or training, but in general having a high school diploma is the only prerequisite to becoming a secretary or administrative assistant.


As a bookkeeper, you typically keep track of an individual client's or company's accounts, including tracking all of their expenditures as well as their income. Generally, they create a report that they share with their client and they may also be responsible for managing payroll for employees. Bookkeepers work in offices and need a high school diploma, though some may be required to also have completed some coursework relating to accounting.

Insurance Sales Agent

An insurance sales agent tries to sell different types of insurance policies--from home owner's insurance to dental insurance--to existing and potential clients based on the client's needs. These professionals work out of offices, though almost 15% of them are self-employed. To become an insurance sales agent, having a high school diploma is required and you must obtain a license to sell insurance in the state in which you work.

Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Agent

Sales agents who work as representatives for wholesale and manufacturing companies sell the products and goods that the companies produce to other businesses and organizations. Sales agents must be extremely knowledgeable about the product that they are selling in order to be able to answer any questions potential buyers may have. On top of maintaining an existing client list, it is also usually necessary for sales agents to try to find new potential clients and convince them to purchase their products. When they are not on the road meeting clients, sales agents work from an office. To become a sales agent, you need at least a high school diploma and will receive on the job training.

Dental Assistant

Dental assistants work in the offices of dentists and orthodontists. They perform a number of different tasks, like scheduling future appointments, assisting the dentist during procedures, and taking x rays. Depending on the state in which you work, you may also be able to perform a few other duties typically reserved for dental hygienists. To become a dental assistant, the requirements vary by state, as some only require on-the-job training in addition to a high school diploma, while others require that you attend a certificate or diploma program.

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