12 Green Jobs That Don’t Require A Degree or Experience
With green solutions becoming the new normal, demand for jobs related to sustainability are on the rise. In fact, some of the fastest-growing occupations in the nation are those that support the transition to clean energy and environmentally friendly options. Some green job opportunities require a college degree or vocational training, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find employment that helps the planet without those prerequisites. Whatever your interests and skills may be, there are many green jobs that don’t require higher education or extensive prior experience.
No Degree? No Problem
Education after high school or after obtaining a GED is often encouraged in the modern education system. However, student loan debt and the time it takes to get a degree or complete training can impede the ability to start a career. Green jobs that don’t require a degree or certification open the door to those who don’t plan to go to college or want to start gaining experience while pursuing their degree. As you’ll see in the many green job opportunities below, entry-level and self-created avenues of employment can be just as lucrative and impactful as those that have education requirements.
Green Jobs That Don’t Require A Degree or Experience
1. Sustainable Restaurant & Food Service Industry Worker
Food and beverage service jobs are expected to increase 10% by 2029, making the eco-friendly restaurant and food industry a viable sector for career growth. Depending on the state, you can often start work in your teens as a line cook, dishwasher, or server. Adults can work as chefs, bartenders, and managers.
2. Farmer & Agricultural Worker
Organic, sustainable food options are in high demand. Farmers using organic and regenerative methods directly affect the environmental footprint of agriculture. The rise of home delivery services, farmers markets, and community supported agriculture (CSA) means food delivery drivers and market vendors can be involved in making food and agriculture more sustainable.
3. Green Construction Worker
Policy and consumer demand has led to a growing need for green homes and buildings. Jobs in sustainable construction won’t be dwindling anytime soon. If working with your hands and seeing the fruits of your labor at the end of each day interests you, you may consider an entry-level construction job. These include positions such as material handler, shop assistant, and helper, which give you on-the-job experience and training.
4. Park or Forest Worker
Working in city, state, and national parks puts you in a unique position to experience nature while protecting it. Park and trail maintenance makes outdoor spaces safe for the public, and green spaces in cities help mitigate the detriment of climate change for local communities. If your state or municipality doesn’t have entry-level paid parks jobs, look for volunteer opportunities to gain experience and expand your network.
5. Eco Hospitality Jobs
Much like the restaurant industry, there are often entry-level jobs in hospitality that let you gain experience on the job. Green hotels and eco-tourism experiences help to reduce the negative effects of the tourism industry. Everyone working in sustainable tourism makes a difference. Once you’ve gained experience working in housekeeping, maintenance, customer service, or guiding tours, there’s room for growth into management and supervisor jobs.
6. EV Sales & Service
Electric vehicles have surged in popularity in recent years. The Biden administration’s announced requirement that half of all vehicles sold by 2030 must be zero emissions is expected to result in unprecedented demand for electric vehicles. That means auto retailers and mechanics will need to be educated in electric vehicle features. Salespeople and customer service specialists can often get a job without experience. Educating yourself about zero-emission vehicles and electric vehicle innovations may give you an edge while seeking employment.
7. Sustainable Retail Jobs
Sustainable goods and products allow consumers to take their environmental impact into their own hands. Now that innovations have made green products widely available, there are more jobs related to sustainable retail. Brick-and-mortar stores specializing in sustainable products are a great place to start looking for a green retail job, but e-commerce has also opened up opportunities for virtual customer service, sales, and marketing jobs.
Firefighters are literally on the frontline of the climate crisis, battling increasing wildfires and other climate-related fires. Aside from the required high school diploma or GED, there may be other certificates required, but a college degree is not. Physical fitness is a must. If you want to get a leg up on starting your career as a firefighter, attending a fire academy can put you on the fast track.
9. Waste Management Jobs
Recycling, composting, and other green waste management methods are used by municipalities across the country. Waste-to-energy technology has made waste more valuable than ever, turning it into a commodity that can help fuel the sustainable energy transition. People working in waste management are likely to see more sustainable solutions be implemented in their area if they haven’t experienced a transition to green solutions already.
10. Eco Landscaping & Groundskeeping
With more green homes and buildings comes a need for sustainable landscaping and groundskeeping. Eco landscapers and groundskeepers use natural methods to create green spaces that are better for the environment and people. Apartment communities, landscaping services, and commercial buildings are examples of places to seek out landscaping and grounds maintenance jobs.
11. Green Energy Apprenticeships
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, solar and wind turbine service technicians are two of the fastest growing jobs in the US. Although these trades require vocational training, you may be able to get started without experience or training through an apprenticeship program to learn on the job.
As the world evolves to be more sustainable, new opportunities open up that may not fall into the category of existing jobs. That’s where ecopreneurs come in. Ecopreneurs are entrepreneurs who work or help others work more sustainably. Sustainability consultants, green marketing, clean technology, and eco-friendly products and services are just a few examples of areas where entrepreneurs can build a career in a more sustainable world.
Green Jobs for All
As you can see, there’s no shortage of green jobs for any skill or experience level. Whether you’re looking for an entry-level job while you pursue higher education or want to start your career now, there’s a place for you in the green job market.