How to Find a Job with Just a GED

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Okay, you can’t afford college right now, especially with tuition fees rising faster than gas prices at the pumps. But you need a job to move out of your parent’s house and buy a car. Trouble is, all you have is a GED (high school equivalency diploma) and every job posting you run across calls for a college degree or at least some college.

Should you face the fact that you’re shut out of the job market? Are you doomed to live with your parents till you’re 40? Will you have to settle for public transportation the rest of your life? 

Oh ye of little faith. There is hope for you yet, for there are a number of jobs that don’t require college. Some will require you to take some vocational classes, on-line technical instruction, or on-the-job training. Best of all, most of these entry-level careers have a strong outlook through the next several years, according to the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In most cases, what employers look for in filling these jobs are punctuality, appearance and attitude, since training is usually provided. Here’s what you can get with just a GED:

Occupational or Physical Therapist Aide. You’ll work under the supervision of therapists or even their assistants. You’ll prepare equipment and supplies used in treatment and perform clerical duties. This field will grow as the population ages.

Chefs, cooks, & food prep jobs. Don’t expect to land a job at Cordon Bleu, but you can certainly apply as a fast-food or short-order cook, or food prep worker. These eateries generally provide on-the-job training, and if you’re a hard worker, you can move into supervision and management. The turnaround is high in these jobs, so if you stick around, they generally promote from within. Head cook or executive chef positions will go to those who have completed a formal training program.

Cosmetologist. You’ll perform manicures, cut and style hair, or apply makeup. Meet a few minimum requirements and you could land one of these jobs. First, you’ll need to be licensed by the state in which you expect to work. To get a license, you’ll need to have graduated from a state-licensed barber or cosmetology school and be at least 16 years old. 

Travel Agent. Your computer skills will come in handy here. If you’re not familiar with travel terminals and the computers used by travel agencies, many vocational schools, adult education programs, and some junior colleges will have classes in these areas.  Online classes are also available.

If you can’t afford college and need a job right now, your GED can get you into these entry level  jobs. You just have to be persistent and remember the big three--punctuality, appearance and attitude. 



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