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Degree-Free Marketing Jobs

Discover the most in-demand and highest-paying marketing jobs that are least likely to require a college degree in 2023 and the best cities in the U.S. to find them.

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According to Harvard Business Review1 and Education Data,2 fewer high-school graduates are pursuing higher education—with college enrollments dropping 14.7% in 2022 compared to 2020.

This trend, combined with the ‘Great Resignation,’ has forced organizations to rethink their hiring practices in 2023, with many removing the college degree requirement altogether and/or prioritizing applicants’ experience, potential, and skills.3

And with inflation and student loan debt climbing, even those attending college are beginning to look for high-paying jobs that don’t necessarily require a college degree.

For job candidates without a degree, this means more opportunities and likely better pay than ever before. With the widespread availability of online learning resources, internships, and accessible educational platforms such as Udemy and Coursera, it is now easier than ever to build the skills and experience needed to land your dream job.

While some professions—like doctors, lawyers, and teachers—have strict education requirements to enter the workforce, some creative careers with high earning potential—like graphic design, animation, and technical writing, don’t necessarily require a college degree to secure a job or succeed in it. 

But what are the most in-demand marketing jobs least likely to require a degree in 2023? And where are the top cities in the U.S. to land a high-salary position?

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Not having a college degree should not limit your chances of securing a good job. This is not to say that degrees aren't worthwhile, but they shouldn't be a requirement for success if you are willing to put in the hard work and build skills and experience.

What do Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Lady Gaga have in common? Like many celebrities and entrepreneurs, they have wildly successful careers without a college degree. And according to Washington Examiner, as much as 68 percent of Americans ages 25 or older don't have any college education.4

Not having a college degree should not limit your chances of securing a good job. This is not to say that degrees aren't worthwhile, but they shouldn't be a requirement for success if you are willing to put in the hard work and build skills and experience.

This is understandable, considering the average cost of college in the United States is around $35,551 per year, including books, fees, and living expenses.3 And a U.S. News report shows that college tuition costs have been on an upward trend for the last 20 years and are only expected to continue to increase in the following years.5

However, while a significant factor, college tuition is not the only reason keeping young adults from getting a college degree. The burden of student debt and fear of losing time out of the workforce and getting behind also play a role.

But what are companies and recruiters looking for? And do you need a college degree to get a marketing job in 2023?

Looking at data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 6 and O*NET,7 an occupational information program developed under the U.S. Department of Labor sponsorship, we discovered that while most careers still require a bachelor's degree, many jobs in the marketing industry require no formal education credentials. 

Specifically, 21.7% of marketing jobs in the U.S. require no formal educational credentials and offer an average yearly salary of $29,420. Similarly, 38.5% of marketing jobs require only a high school diploma or equivalent, with an average salary of $38,290–more than double the annual earnings for a full-time minimum-wage worker in the U.S.8 And only 2.6% of marketing positions require some form of education but no degree, with an average salary of $37,960. This is great news for many young adults entering the workforce in 2023 and beyond.



Writing is the top career least likely to require a college degree in 2023, as this craft primarily relies on communicating effectively and creatively. With a notable average yearly salary of $69,510, we can only expect the demand for skilled copywriters to grow.


Animators bring images to life, causing the illusion of movement, and can work across several industries, making the career flexible while also in high demand. With several online courses available, most animator jobs require some college but not necessarily a degree as long as you have a strong portfolio. On the higher end of the ranking, animators can expect to make nearly $80,000 as their yearly salary after putting in about 3 years into their career.


As specialized artists, illustrators create visual representations of content, texts, or ideas. Similar to animators, this career doesn’t require a college degree as long as you have a strong portfolio. In the next decade, demand for this job is expected to rise by 6%, with an average yearly salary of nearly $50,000.

Public Relations Specialists

Public Relations specialists work across various industries and companies to create and maintain a positive image for the clients they represent. While you may see some requirements for a Bachelor’s degree, with tenacity and skilled relationship-building, there is plenty of opportunity in this field - especially with an 8% growth rate in the next decade.

Art Directors

Art Directors oversee the visual aspects of campaigns or print layouts of newspapers and magazines. In addition, this director coordinates the work of other creative staff like designers, photographers, and copywriters. Although there may be some college requirements, a strong portfolio, and strong management skills will prove your worth. This career has the highest average yearly salary of $100,890 on our list, with San Francisco as the best city to enjoy this career.


Capturing beautiful images through cameras, photographers generally have the lowest gain of entry to the average salary of $38,950 in only a year and a half. With no diploma or degree required, a strong portfolio and willingness to hone your skills will take you far in this field.

Technical Writers

Technical writers focus primarily on writing instructions, manuals, and FAQs, so while not as creative as copywriting, this writing career path requires only the ability to communicate effectively, with limited need for a diploma or degree. After three years, the average yearly salary for technical writers is $78,060.

Graphic Designers

Bringing visual concepts to life, graphic designers use software to communicate ideas that inform and inspire their audiences. With countless online courses and programs for graphic designers, some college education may be required to apply for these positions, but most likely, with a solid portfolio, you can get your foot in the door. On average, graphic designers can expect to earn around $50,000 a year after three years in the business.


Editors are responsible for selecting and preparing content for materials to send a specific message or information. Commonly, editors are associated with newspapers and their policies, but editors are needed for all types of content. With only a substantial foundation in writing necessary, there is no real need for a college degree in this career, and after three years in this role, you can expect to make $63,350 a year on average.


Our research found that 62.8% of creative positions don't require college degrees. But which marketing jobs are the most in-demand and the highest-paying in 2023? And which roles should you pursue if you have little to no higher education?

To answer this question, we compiled a list of marketing jobs based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 6 and analyzed factors such as entry-level requirements, the time it takes to become average at the job (specific vocational preparation or SVP), the growth rate, projected job openings from 2021 to 2031, and average yearly salary. With this data, we identified and ranked the most in-demand marketing jobs that are least likely to require a college degree and the best to pursue in 2023.

So, what did our report find?


of creative positions don't require college degrees

Not surprisingly, writing is ranked the top marketing job least likely to require a college degree in 2023. As a skill-based profession, writing relies on communicating effectively, which can be achieved through practice and dedication. With some experience and a strong portfolio, writers can progress to higher-paying positions and take on more challenging projects. And as businesses continue to rely on content marketing and online communication, the demand for skilled writers is expected to grow.

Animators and illustrators are also among the top creative roles least likely to require a college degree in 2023. Also considered skill-based professions, employers and marketing agencies often rely on a portfolio to evaluate potential and skills. This means artistic individuals without a degree can still be competitive if they showcase their talent and creativity.

Other creative positions, such as photographers, public relations specialists, and producers and directors, came on top when looking at the most in-demand professions in 2023, based on the predicted growth rate from 2021 to 2031. 

When looking at the highest-paying marketing jobs, the study found that art directing is the best career path to achieve a $100,000+ salary without a college education. Other creative careers, such as technical writing, production and direction, and animation, are among the highest paid, with average yearly salaries of over $78,000 in the U.S., 40% more than the average U.S. salary in 2023.9

Even without a college degree, marketers can continue to improve their skills and knowledge through online courses, workshops, apprenticeships, and mentorship programs. This can help you stay up-to-date with the latest creative marketing trends and techniques and increase your value as a professional. 

If you are interested in a career that does not require a degree, there are many resources available to help you learn the skills you need to succeed. Workamajig offers a scholarship to access high-level online marketing courses for those looking to join the marketing industry and level up their skills.

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Creative Small Towns


When it comes to getting a job in the marketing industry, being in the right place can make a difference. With that in mind, we identified the following top five cities based on the highest average salaries for the marketing jobs outlined above as well as the cost of living in the U.S. Not surprisingly, cities that have made a name for themselves in the world of art, music, architecture, and other creative ventures, like New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, rank as some of the top cities for marketing jobs that are least likely to require a degree in 2023.

Highest Paid Degree-Free marketing Jobs In

San Francisco

Job Title
Avg. Salary
Art Director
Graphic Designers

Los Angeles

Job Title
Avg. Salary
Producers and Directors

New York

Job Title
Avg. Salary


Job Title
Avg. Salary
Technical Writers
Public Relations Specialists


Job Title
Avg. Salary

As expected, San Francisco has come out on top with the highest average salaries for Art Directors, Animators, and Graphic Designers, ranging from nearly $70,000 to $130,000 a year. Followed by New York and Los Angeles, where illustrators, editors, writers, producers, and directors can thrive and expect an average salary of $85,000 to $117,000 a year.

Other notable cities to include are Hartford, Connecticut, and Seattle, Washington, for technical writers, public relations specialists, and photographers that can find average salaries between $68,000 to $95,000 a year.

Keep in mind; there are many other factors to consider when determining the perfect place to launch or start a career, so we always recommend conducting your own research before making a job decision.

To learn more about these cities and other marketing-industry hubs across the country, check out our report on The Best Places in the U.S. for Creatives.

influencer rich list


From MrBeast to Emma Chamberlain, Instagram influencers use their talent and creativity to make thousands of dollars through brand partnerships and sponsored content. While some may or may not have a college degree, the reality is that no formal education credential has likely been required to achieve their success. 

Our research has looked into the biggest creative Instagram influencers in the U.S. outside of well-known celebrities and music and TV personalities and revealed their estimated income-earning potential per Instagram post based on their number of followers and engagement rate.

The main requirement outside of a high number of followers to succeed on social media? Creativity. The study found that creating highly engaging creative content can pay off, with the top influencers potentially earning over $100,000 per Instagram post—and that doesn't include other platforms or revenue streams.

But which influencer cashes in the most? And what exactly are their current professions?

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The research reveals that Lele Pons (@lelepons), a Venezuelan and American YouTuber, is the top U.S. creative influencer, with over 52.7 million followers and an estimated earning potential of $104,856 - $174,760 per post.10 Pons came to prominence on Vine before the platform shut down in 2016, where she became the most-followed woman and the 3rd most-followed Viner with 11.5 million followers thanks to her creative content. She then expanded into creating comedy sketches for YouTube, where she has over 17 million subscribers.11

Other prominent creative influencers on our list include Cameron Dallas (@camerondallas), an American Internet personality best known for his prominence on Vine and YouTube with over 25.8 million followers and an estimated earning potential of $51,307-$85,511 per post, according to our findings.

Credited with pioneering a genre of videos that centers on expensive stunts, American YouTuber MrBeast (@mrbeast) is also among the top influencers in the U.S., with 25.3 million followers and an estimated earnings potential of $52,031-$86,718 per Instagram post. And this is not even close to his estimated YouTube income potential, where he has built an audience of over 130 million subscribers, becoming the fourth-most-subscribed on the platform, with some considering him the most-subscribed channel whose owner is an individual.12

Also worth mentioning is Emma Chamberlain (@emmachamberlain), an American internet personality, model, and top creative influencer in 2023 with 16 million Instagram followers and an estimated earning potential of $31,994-$53,324 per post. In 2019, Time magazine included her on its list of The 25 Most Influential People On The Internet, writing that “Chamberlain pioneered an approach to vlogging that shook up YouTube's unofficial style guide.”13 She has since become an ambassador for Louis Vuitton and Cartier and launched her online coffee company, Chamberlain Coffee.

Looking to get your marketing career off the ground? Get your groove on with the ultimate dance to spark creativity. And if you are looking for your next role on a creative or marketing team or agency, we have a free job board that helps you find jobs, gigs, and opportunities in the marketing industry.


Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, we found the average salary for creative roles across cities in the United States and analyzed factors such as entry-level requirements, including the probability of requiring a college degree, the time it takes to become average at the job (specific vocational preparation, SVP), the growth rate, projected job openings from 2021 to 2031, and average salary. With this data, we created an index to identify and rank the creative jobs that are least likely to require a college degree in 2023. We also analyzed the salary of each of these jobs in different U.S. cities and correlated these with the consumer price index to determine the best cities to find each of the top-ranking creative jobs.