The American economy is increasingly rewarding workers with college degrees, but that doesn't mean those without a piece of parchment can't find a good job.
That's good news for the US workforce, given that about seven out of 10 workers lack a college degree. The sweet spot for these workers can be found in occupations that have more job postings than people hired, which indicates an unfilled need for employees, according to a new study from CareerBuilder.
Even better, many of these jobs provide middle-class wages, paying between about $30,000 to $52,000 annually. The findings back up a recent study from Georgetown University and JPMorgan Chase that found the US now has 30 million jobs for less-educated workers that pay a median annual wage of $55,000, compared with 27 million of similar jobs in 1991.
But while good jobs for workers without college degrees may be plentiful, they still require some training and core competencies, CareerBuilder said.
"When people think of skills gaps, they typically think of high-skill tech or health care jobs that require advanced degrees," said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder, in a statement.
He added, "The reality is those gaps are being felt across all types of roles, including a wide range of jobs that don't necessarily require a college education."
Employers will first want to see whether job candidates have the core competencies to fill their open positions, or whether the workers can expand their skills, he added.
Decent jobs for less-educated workers have shifted away from industrial sectors and into newer skill-based industries, such as health care and service jobs, a trend that's evident in CareerBuilder's study. That's benefiting a different type of worker, such as those who pursued some additional training after high school, or earning an associate's degree or getting licensed within a profession.
Read on to learn about the top 10 jobs in 2018 for Americans without college degrees.
Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers
America has a problem with truck drivers: There aren't enough of them.
Demographics are partly to blame as the trucker workforce ages, but the long days and time away from home might be deterring younger workers for signing up.
Currently, more than 1.6 million monthly postings are open for truck drivers, but only about 107,000 people are hired every month. That leaves a gap of about more than 1.5 million open jobs each month, CareerBuilder said.
The median hourly wages for truck drivers is $19.26, which translates into an annual salary of about $40,000.
First-line supervisors of retail sales workers
These employees supervise retail workers, and their jobs may include purchasing and accounting work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
More than 276,477 monthly job postings are open for these workers, but only about 85,000 are hired each month. That leaves a gap of more than 192,000 unfilled positions.
The median hourly wage for first-line supervisors of retail workers is $17.10, or about $35,500 per year.
Food service managers
These workers manage restaurants, overseeing waiters and other staff and making sure diners are happy with their meals.
There are about 60,000 monthly job postings for these workers, but only 20,000 are hired each month, leaving a gap of 40,000 unfilled positions.
The median hourly wage is $19.82, or about $41,000 per year.
Insurance sales agents
Most Americans are familiar with insurance sales agents, who can sell everything from auto insurance to life insurance.
While a bachelor's degree isn't necessary, would-be agents who have taken courses on sales techniques as well as business or finance can have a leg up in the job hunt.
About 57,000 monthly job postings are open for insurance sales agents, but only 17,183 are hired each month, leaving a gap of almost 40,000 unfilled postings.
The median hourly wage is $23.17, or about $48,000 per year.
Computer user support specialists
These are the people who help consumers out when they have problems with their computers or tech devices. Many of these workers may end up working night shifts or weekends because of the on-call nature of the work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While computer knowledge is necessary, a college degree isn't, the BLS adds. Still, certification and training can help workers stand out when they apply for these jobs.
Currently more than 58,000 monthly job postings are open for this role, while only about 34,000 are hired each month. That leaves a gap of about 24,000 unfilled jobs.
The median hourly wage is $23.81, or about $49,500 per year.
Social and human service assistants
This title includes workers who provide support services in fields ranging from rehabilitation to social work, the BLS notes. Many work for nonprofit agencies as well as state and local governments.
While a college degree isn't needed, some employers will want to see education beyond high school, such as an associate's degree or certificate, the BLS notes.
There are more than 38,800 job postings each month for this role, but only about 19,900 people are hired, leaving a gap of more than 18,900 unfilled positions, CareerBuilder said.
The median hourly wage for this role is $15.33, or about $31,900 per year.
Real estate sales agents
Anyone who has shopped for a house is familiar with real estate agents, who represent property buyers and sellers. While a college degree isn't needed, workers must take some real estate classes and become licensed to practice in their states, the BLS said.
There are currently more than 18,169 job postings for real estate agents, but only about 9,200 are hired each month. That leaves a gap of about 8,900 unfilled openings, CareerBuilder said.
The median hourly wage is $17.92, or about $37,200 per year.
The aging US population is boosting demand for health care workers, including pharmacy technicians, who help pharmacists with customers and dispensing medication, according the BLS.
Most states regulate workers in this role, requiring that they pass an exam or undergo some training. There are currently about 26,800 monthly job postings for these workers, with about 20,700 hired each month. That leaves a gap of more than 6,000 unfilled jobs.
The median hourly wage is $14.87, or about $31,000 per year.
Another health care profession where employers need workers is that of medical assistants, who handle administrative and clinical tasks in medical offices.
Medical assistants may receive training after high school, such as by earning a certificate. Others can learn on the job, the BLS said.
About 28,641 monthly job postings are open for the role, while employers hire about 26,200 each month. That leaves a gap of about 2,400 unfilled roles.
The median hourly pay is $15.18, or about $31,600 per year.
These workers help Americans get their taxes ready to file. The position has about 6,700 monthly job postings, but about 6,100 are hired each month, leaving a gap of about 600 unfilled roles.
The job pays a median hourly wage of $19.60, or about $41,000 annually.