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No college education? No problem with some jobs that pay over $100K

The headline on this blog is one that goes against everything in my typical college professor-based advice to my mentees who are seeking high paying and fulfilling career employment. In short, I tell them to stay in school and get their college degrees because it will result in big paydays. For the college graduates, I recommend they always include their educational accomplishments on their resumes and CVs.

Yet, I am always open to learning new things about the changing job marketplace, and I am willing to change my beliefs and perspectives when provided with solid evidence and other data.
job ad with no ed required

I came to this new-knowledge after checking out job sites with my
mentees who are looking for meaningful jobs to further their career plans. These mentees range from new college graduates to those with three years and more of professional work experience.

The job pasted in below is from one of my favorite employment websites, “Daybook.” What caught my attention was the public relations position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The applicants do not need to represent a traditional university or college degree to qualify for the job.

Stay with me and study all of the details of this ad. Wade through this job listing until you reach the item in bold: The educational requirement. After that notification, I will tell you why this listing includes the seemingly unique educational requirement.

Position Details
Public Affairs Specialist


Foreign Agricultural Service


Open & closing dates

07/19/2018 to 07/25/2018


$114,590 to $148,967 per year


This position is located in Public Affairs and Executive Correspondence, Office of the Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). The work of the office is essential to the success of the FAS mission of expanding exports of U.S. agricultural products and promoting world food security. If selected, you would serve as Digital Media Manager. In that role, you would manage and direct the development and implementation of all web content and digital media content related to the work of the public affairs and executive correspondence unit.

Salary Information: First time hires to the Federal government normally start at the lowest rate of the salary range for the grade selected.

Learn more about this agency


The duties may include, but are not limited to:

Web Development and Management

Develop, recommend, and implement strategies, policies, and procedures to manage the content of the agency’s web-based products.

Ensure that all relevant laws, regulations, and guidelines are incorporated in agency policies and procedures.

Consult with executives and managers to analyze their needs and propose ways to use the web to support their programs, projects and initiatives.

Social Media

Plan, direct, and implement social media strategy, coordinating with stakeholders across the agency.

Liaise with external organizations, including industry cooperators and food assistance implementing partners, to develop joint strategies for sharing information and successes via social media channels.

Plan, manage, and execute social media campaigns.

Data Visualization and Digital Product Development

Remain abreast of latest developments in data visualization and make recommendations to management on the adoption of new tools and methods for graphically displaying statistical data and other information.

Utilize graphic design skills to create infographics, interactive charts and graphs to be used on the agency’s website and via social media channels.

Marketing, Outreach, and Customer Service

Identify opportunities to promote the agency’s web products to all appropriate audiences (citizens, business partners, employees).

Train agency staff to use web and social media products.

Deliver presentations and trainings on digital media best practices and developments to external audiences, both national and international.

Travel Required

Occasional travel – Domestic and foreign travel required.

Supervisory status


Promotion Potential


Who May Apply

This job is open to…

Permanent USDA agency employees; CTAP/RPL/ICTAP eligibles; reinstatement eligibles; 30% or more disabled veterans; Individuals with Disabilities; former Peace Corps or VISTA volunteers; and those eligible for other Special Hiring Authorities.

Questions? This job is open to 5 groups.

Job family (Series)

1035 Public Affairs




Conditions of Employment

US Citizenship is required

Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959

Special Conditions:

Selection and retention in this position is contingent on a successfully adjudicated FBI National Criminal History Check (fingerprint check) and a background investigation.

Successful completion of a one-year probationary or trial period (if new hire to the Federal service).

Selectee must be able to obtain and maintain a Secret security clearance.

This position may be eligible for telework within the local commuting area of the duty location of the position. Employee participation in telework is at the discretion of the supervisor.


Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including time-in-grade restrictions, specialized experience as defined below, etc.

TIME IN GRADE: Federal employees must meet time-in-grade requirements by the closing date of this announcement.

FOR THE GS-14 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-13 level) that demonstrates:

Specialized Experiences:

Experience working with current and emerging digital communications strategies and technologies;

Experience planning, organizing, and executing the delivery of information and services via the web and social and digital media channels, including applying principles such as 508 accessibility and plain language requirements for digital media related to public affairs;

Experience developing websites using multiple development languages such as JAVA Scripting, ASP, PHP and HTML and utilizing a broad array of social media platforms (including Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Flickr) to support public affairs and communications efforts;

Experience implementing graphic design skills to create infographics, interactive charts and graphs, and other tools for website and social media channels; and

Experience with written and oral communion methods and techniques related to public affairs communication and delivering presentations and training.

There is no education substitution for this grade level.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.


This position does not possess an education qualification requirement.

“It (education reference) is likely targeted to veterans who have advanced military education and other experience,” said Erik Winkfield, a public relations manager at Pepco, a D.C. public utility owned by Exelon.

He and his colleagues in the federal government sector often converse about such job ads. Bridget Sherchak, PR Director for Voice of America, has rarely seen such job listings that advertise vague educational requirements. Sherchak was formerly a federal government employee for a major agency and she possesses several years of hiring experience.

Like the job featured atop this blog, there are all types of “education” one may include in their applications such as digital badges, certificates and advanced military training. Go for it, veterans and others who do not fit in the traditional, university-educated categories for work opportunities and have great experiences and knowledge from a wide range of institutions.

Ann L. Wead Kimbrough is an accomplished educator, award-winning financial journalist, author, special events leader, mentor and prolific contributor to select global and domestic non-profit causes. Her blog topics include travel, history, humor, education, career, family, journalism and ‘thought you should know’ subjects.