Americans are falling out of love with jobs requiring bachelor's degrees and turning their attention toward flexible, college-free careers with six-figure salaries.
On Google, searches for "no degree jobs" reached an all-time high this year in the U.S., according to Google Trends data shared with CNBC Make It.
Close to 75% of jobs in the U.S. that pay more than $35,000 a year require a college degree, but just 38% of Americans have a bachelor's degree, says Lisa Gevelber, Google's chief marketing officer for the Americas.
That earnings gap is a "big problem" for understaffed companies and workers feeling the pinch of inflation, Gevelber adds.
Google's research shows that people are most excited about jobs that offer ample travel opportunities, flexible work schedules and a clear path to becoming your own boss.
Here are the top 3 most Googled jobs of 2023 in the U.S. as of November:
- Real estate agent
- Travel agent
Google determined the ranking based on the top "how to become…" queries people searched for in the U.S.
While all three of these roles require — or recommend — at least a high school diploma or GED, there are no formal education requirements beyond that.
Instead, to work as a notary or real estate agent, you'll need to obtain a certification or official license with the state you're working in. Depending on where you live, that process could take anywhere from 1-9 months, according to the National Notary Association and Indeed.
Most travel agents require at least a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Agents can also choose to acquire certifications with different transit associations, such as the Cruise Lines International Association or the International Air Transport Association, which enables them to book travel for clients on airlines and cruise lines.
Compensation is a major consideration for job seekers looking for no-degree jobs. Within Google searches for jobs without a degree, "high paying jobs without a degree" was a top search in 2023.
The average salaries for these roles vary: According to ZipRecruiter, the average pay for travel agents in the U.S. is $39,955, while real estate agents are pulling in an average $86,356 per year and notaries earn $129,717.
The top 10% of real estate agents and notaries, however, are earning well over $100,000 and $200,000, respectively.
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