Looking for the best jobs for an introvert without a degree?
We’ve spent the past month researching different career options ideally suited to those of us who didn’t go to college or university. Whether you want to work in peace from home, find solitary time in the outdoors, or find a high-paying low-stress job in an office, we’ve found something to suit even the most introverted person.
Introversion vs. Extroversion
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People in the real world are quick to label one another. It’s usually an attempt to make situations easier to understand and process. Specifically, there are a pair of labels that get assigned to people quickly: extrovert and introvert.
However, this categorization is not that black and white…
Two simple questions can help us classify ourselves: where do I draw energy from and where do I focus my attention?
If the answer is, “I draw energy and focus on ideas and images, through inner processes,” then chances are you are an introvert.
Have you ever felt like no one really gets you, though? Like they try to label you based on a stereotype, but they completely missed the mark and don’t understand you at all? That’s because in the world of introverts, no two introverts are exactly alike. There are “introspective extraverts and non-introspective introverts”. Myersbriggs.org says, “Everyone spends some time ‘extroverting’ and some time ‘introverting.’
Don’t confuse Introversion with shyness or reclusiveness. They are not related. Personally, I am a functionally extroverted introvert that often works well in large groups, on very public projects. But at the end of the day, I need to recharge by curling up with a good book, a movie, or social media, and spending time either by myself or with my immediate family only. In contrast, my introverted best friend, is completely drained by large groups and her focus is better when she works independently from her home, with very little outside stimuli.
In the introverted person’s world, finding the perfect working environment for your individual needs and preferences can be a challenge. Knowing where to look for unconventional wisdom that comes with understanding the wide range of introverts is key to finding success. This article will provide you with practical, easy to understand, information to help you identify the best fit for your situation.
Ideal Work for an Introvert
For real introverts like myself and my friend, understanding our personal limitations is important when finding the right fit for our work. I know that it will be the same for you, and chances are, if you are reading this article you have either experienced some form of failure in your work, or you are just taking the leap into the workforce and you need some direction.
According to 16personalities.com, introverts are far more sensitive to outer stimuli and they report that:
“Introverts are significantly more likely to report being sensitive to noise and bright colors, and they also strongly prefer simplicity and minimalism in their environment (especially if their Introversion is coupled with the Thinking trait). Likewise, they do not seek or require much external stimulation – while communicating with other people is the most obvious example of such stimulation, this concept also extends to things like hobbies, political attitudes and even eating or drinking habits. For instance, Introverts are more likely to dislike coffee and energy drinks.”
While extroverts pursue these stimuli, introverts retreat from it to escape the overload.
Learning to identify the stimuli that best suit your individual situation will help you choose from the examples provided in this article. Now’s a great time to evaluate yourself and write down the situations you thrive in and those you wither in, then use that list to refer to when reviewing the examples below.
Excellent Jobs for an Introvert Without a Degree
While some writers not only label, but pigeonhole introverts, which makes research on this topic excruciating to readers (really, who likes regurgitated data and information?), this article is an attempt to expand our thinking as introverts and challenge the status quo. The examples I list here are in no way exhaustive, but my hope is that the information begins to broaden your thought process and encourage you to think “outside the box.”
Medical Billing Specialist
If computer work is something you are good at and you are an organized thinker, processing detailed data easily, then working from home as a medical coding and billing specialist will be a smart choice for you as an introvert, who hasn’t completed your degree. While the position will entail a small amount of specialized training, the flexibility to work with your own rhythm and pace can be rewarding. It has been recorded that “medical coding specialist jobs have below-average stress levels and above-average flexibility”. Medical coding and billing functions are similar but distinct, in their own way. Coders review treatment rendered to patients and assign the official classifications for the treatment codes. Billers, on the other hand, take the coded services and process claims to submit to the insurance providers. These jobs can be done independently or combined. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “health information technicians – which includes medical billing and coding specialists” earn a range of income from $24,810 to $64,610.
Writer / Blogger / Editor / Freelancer / Translator
If words flow easily from your fingertips, becoming a professional writer in some capacity could be a strong possibility for you. In today’s internet age, often the best way to start writing is by producing your own personal blog. A successful blog, drawing a strong following of 1,000 or more readers, can make money through affiliate marketing and affiliate sales. Additionally, successful writers can earn money from freelance writing on social platforms like UpWork.com and Freelancer.com. Various opportunities exist on these sites for those who are good with their words and grammar. For instance, editor-for-hire, article writers, creative writers, ghost writers, and translators’ jobs are all available on these work-for-hire sites. Writing is a perfect position for a self-disciplined introvert, because it usually requires minimal engagement with outside people. Salaries for writers can be subjective; it is entirely dependent upon the project, the size, the time required, the popularity of the written product, etc. However, Indeed.com polled 3,977 writers and found that the average pay per hour ranged from $16.12 to $25.68.
Artist / Creator / Crafter
Obviously, becoming an artist is not a possibility for every introvert, as you’d need to have a creative tendency. But if you are creative and have that natural gift, working to create saleable merchandise could be a great opportunity for you. Depending on the medium, you can sell your products online or offline. Crafters often use sales both online at sites like eBay and Etsy, and offline at local craft fairs and craft stores. Digital and electronic products can be sold at places like Google Play Store and iTunes, as well as by creating a website that uses SEO (search engine optimization) to drive traffic to your online store for sales (for merchandize databases, spreadsheets, templates, curriculum, and eBooks). Even more subjective than a writer’s salary, is the artist’s salary. Determined entirely by the market supply and demand, the product itself, the craftsmanship and artisanry, the uniqueness, and the time required to create, an artist’s salary is determined by a myriad of factors. However, Salary.com reports that “the average artist salary in the United States is $54,311 as of June 27, 2019, but the range falls between $46,126 and $63,104.”
Photography can take on a variety of forms. For those introverts who can handle larger groups, family and event photography businesses are a very rewarding. For those who are better in less stimulating situations, landscape and still life photography can be turned into canvas and framed pieces and sold at events and on your own website. Digital media can be sold online through your own site or sold to image sites that buy and sell stock photos. Like the artist, a photographer’s salary is dependent upon multiple factors, such as skill, technique, equipment, uniqueness, clientele and client following. Indeed.com polled “6,097 employees, users, and past and present job advertisements,” finding that the average salary for a photographer in the US is $16.62 per hour. Knowing several photographers myself, I would say that as you are growing your business, you should consider adding products and services to your portfolio to supplement your income as you build your clientele following.
Traditional Workplace Employment
“Yesterday I went in for an interview for a data entry position. My interviewer starts off by saying, ‘This position entails you typing information into the computer. Occasional chit chat is fine, but we want you to mostly stay on task. We have a relaxed environment here so you can listen to music through your headphones while you work. Is this something you think you can do?’ I played it off cool and said, ‘I think so’ but in my head there were fireworks and all sorts of excitement going on. These people are going to pay me to sit and type on a computer and listen to music and not have to talk to anybody! This is what I do anyway on my days off!” (Reddit.com) If you are like this contributor, a person who loves to be on the computer with isolated stimuli, then data entry might be just what the doctor ordered. Glassdoor.com reports that of the 1,793 salaries reported for data entry clerks, with “very high confidence,” the average annual income is around $27,231. If this moderate income is livable for you, as a trade off for the ultimate introverted work culture, then I encourage you to jump in with both feet.
Made popular by the 20th Century Fox studio move, “Night at the Museum,” night security can be rewarding to the individual who prefers to move around a little, has an eye for detail, is aware of your own surroundings, and is fit to subdue suspects if necessary. Perfect for the person who wants an opportunity to think, study, or read a book, night security is a great opportunity for the individual who has a nocturnal circadian rhythm (in other words, you’re a night owl). Two types of positions are available, armed and unarmed. The determination is based on the level of security required and the individual employer. Ranging from $25,000, for the lowest level of security, to $78,000, for higher level of security, PayScale.com reports their salary estimates by geographical location. Be sure to check your area for more accurate data.
Paralegal / Researcher
For some, the thought of researching for a full day of work might seem excruciating, but for the introvert, the opportunity to work independently, dealing with absolute facts, and submitting written reports can be a dream come true. While there are law firms that have the paralegal deal with the clientele as a screening process, many extroverted introverts are still very successful in this type of role. $49,500 is “the medial national annual salary for paralegals,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Animal Care/Service Worker / Pet Sitter
Some people are just better with animals than humans. I am happy to report that several of these people are dear friends of mine. If, like my friends, your heart has an open spot for every type of animal you meet, then this is the profession for you. Fortunately, pet owners feel the same way, so they are willing to spend their disposable income for the love, care, and nurture of their four-legged, two-winged, or cold-blooded family member. Requiring limited human interaction, animal care and service is another exceptional possibility if your heart goes out to fur-babies; of course, this job title can also apply to zookeeper type positions. The median for this type of position is $23,950, per the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
My first “real” job was at a library. I took the job because, as a high school student, I wanted to earn money with the least amount of work during my summer break. My job in a small, suburban, city library, allowed me to deal with small influx of patrons, and read books after my daily tasks were complete. It was awesome! If you are a book worm, you can start as a circulation clerk and slowly add certifications and skill sets to advance to the head librarian and media specialist (libraries today have more mediums than simply printed books). Salary.com shows that demographics play a role in the salary potential but can range between $57,645 and $79,272 in my area (depending on the certifications, educations, and skill sets).
Often thought of as a menial position, for an introvert who likes keeping order and has an eye for detail, performing regular janitorial duties, or functioning as a dedicated groundskeeper, is peaceful and satisfying. In all fairness, these positional functions are integral in productive work environments. Behind the scene, these people keep the workplace running smoothly… though few notice or acknowledge the effort. Still, these positions make as much as other professions (ranging from $20,920 to $32,280 according to US News Money) and are truly respectable. With a healthy respect for these unsung heroes, I often seek them out when I see them in the community working and thank them for the hard work and dedication.
Parks & Recreation / State Park Conservationist
Depending on the environment where you live, many states have opportunities to work outdoors in either parks and recreation or conservation. If your introversion has a healthy inclination toward outdoor exercise and fresh air, there may not be a better position for you. These positions can range in function from policing trash to maintaining regular inspection of facilities and locations within the park. I have one friend that works as a baby sea turtle conservationist. Her responsibility includes traveling up and down coastlines looking for nests, identifying new nests, recording the GPS location, and then regularly monitoring the nest to ensure the hatchlings are safe from predators and risks. For my friend, this is a dream job. She gets to enjoy the ocean, the trade winds, and work to preserve her beloved sea turtles. Jobs in this category pay differently depending on the scope of the work, the funding source, and the length of service. Pay can range from $39,458 to $45,633, according to Payscale.com.
Like the animal care/service worker we discussed previously, some introverts are simple happy with a wrench in their hand and a project in front of them. Finding satisfaction from making a gear turn properly, an engine run optimally, and the smell of oil and grease, introverts with a mechanical inclination are rewarded monetarily for doing something they love doing. The range of jobs available is wide open. Do you enjoy small engines, like lawn mowers? How about the mechanical workings of an industrial site? Or hot rod modification? The sky really is the limit here. Depending on the specialty of the work, the market in your area, and the certifications and years of experience, a mechanic can make from $28,000 to $61,000, based on a survey of 2,657 salaries recorded by Glassdoor.com.
Non-Traditional Workplace Employment
Telecommuter / Remote Worker
Taken from a real job posting at Glassdoor.com, this type of pie in the sky opportunity does exist for the tech savvy introvert:
“From your own home, you’ll be their human connection to Apple: friendly, thoughtful, and real. You’ll answer questions about our products and services, enriching customers’ lives by helping them access the wonder they’ve come to expect from Apple. And every time you save someone’s day, you’ll be amazed by what it does for yours. You’ll need a quiet, distraction-free workspace with a door you can shut, an ergonomic chair, a desk for the iMac (and headset) we’ll provide, and your own network connection. Working from home isn’t for everyone, but if you’re confident, disciplined, and self-motivated, home can be a place where work and life don’t clash — they collaborate. What Employees Say: “Work from home is a pretty sweet gig; love the discounts; They give you everything you need including an iMac.” — Current Apple at Home Advisor
According to Glassdoor.com, this position pays an average income of $37,000. As the job market becomes more and more global and digitally based, these jobs will be more readily available. Glassdoor.com has an article highlighting 14 companies that promote remote work environments. The article can be found here.
OTR (over-the-road) Truck Driver
A friend from my high school years became a truck driver because she could get paid to drive and travel (her favorite thing). Knowing her story and her work environment, I can say that for someone who enjoys the ultimate road trip, this job may be just the ticket. The longer the delivery route, the more pay you can earn. If you want to talk to someone, just turn on the CB radio and engage, if you aren’t up to chit chat, turn off the radio with the twist of a knob. Take your bedroom with you, see the country firsthand, and only must deal with the occasional receiving personnel when you drop off or pick up your loads. For some this is the best of both worlds. Driving as a company employee doesn’t pay quite as much, only about $56,000, but the company pays all the expenses (www.truckdriverssalary.com). Owner operators make more, in the range of $185,000, but the maintenance of the rig, the registrations and licenses, as well as tolls and road expenses are all handled by the driver.
Professional Video Game Competitor
Really, isn’t the introvert and a video game addict, almost synonymous today? And yet, the real fanatic can actual create an income generating hobby out of this clique. According to Esportsearnings.com, the “top player of 2017 earned $2,436,772.40 (and remember this is without a degree). Keep in mind that we can’t all be the top earner, and the way these people make money from the competition is also diverse. The earnings are a combination of prize money, regular salaries, sponsorships, and streaming. In addition to being a money-making player, there are opportunities in hosting/broadcasting, coaching, journalist, sales and marketing, and so on. I feel like the person that would truly be interesting in this career path, knows more about this topic than I do, so we’ll leave it to the experts to break down the data. The goal here is to know that sometimes being labelled isn’t all that bad when you have the talent to go along with it.
Because globalization and digital access is expanding faster than ever before, there are companies that will allow you to teach English online without a degree. Companies like Cambly, PalFish, SkimaTalk, Lingoda, and Open English all offer tutor positions without a degree. Some companies pay by the minute, others by the hour, and still others allow you to set your own rate (you pay the company a percentage of the fee). The pay is moderate but really, can you think of a better situation… work one-on-one with students from the comfort of your home and get paid to do it, all without the expense of a degree? Cha-ching! You can even control the amount of time you want to teach and so determine how much you make.
So, it seems so cloak and dagger, right? But they are out there, in more numbers than you might think. Since the object is to stay obscure and collect information and data, for the person who likes a little mystery and suspense, this can be a challenging reward kind of work. Salaries average $53,854, per Glassdoor.com, but depending on your business skills, there is always ways to add to your bottom line, through ala carte service types and contractor services. For those who want answers secretly, there tends to be motivation to pay a little extra for the answers.
Step Up Your Game! Challenge Yourself – Come Out of the Shell
You’ve seen the jobs samples listed above and chances are you identify with one or more of these examples, but I want to caution you from pigeonholing yourself into one category, thinking “this is the way I am and the way I will always be.” For an introvert, some things are inherent, such as the need to reenergize in a quiet environment. But every human being can develop and improve themselves, which includes introverts. Learning to embrace larger number of people and groups can open your opportunities, lead to improved positioning, and pay advancements.
I encourage you to stretch yourself by speaking to one stranger more today than you normally would. Go through a register line at the supermarket instead of using the self-checkout machine. Engage in conversation with a small group of people around you. Volunteer to be a part of team project when you normally would not. Allow yourself to be stimulated to a greater degree while you are working, volunteering, or socializing – no matter how small and celebrate each achievement. All forward movement means increase. So, push yourself a little each day.
With every step forward, you will begin to strengthen your tolerance level and open new doors in business for yourself. If you work from home, you will be able to network with outside partners for increased work, productivity, and profit. If you work in a traditional role, your willingness to challenge yourself will be noticed by your supervisors and management. This will lead to promotion and merit increases. Finally, if you work in a non-traditional position, your productivity and work product will increase, leading to better pay and satisfaction.
The Wrap Up
Regardless of your personal level of introversion, there is a suitable solution waiting for you. Finding the perfect situation will take a willingness to be honest with yourself, some self-evaluation, and a dedication to devote the time required to find the perfect fit. During this journey, don’t sell yourself short by labeling yourself and limiting your growth opportunities. Allow yourself to reach for more than you think is possible and discover the joy of work…
“Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”.