China has put much emphasis on education, and the four-year degree is now commonplace. Graduate going through the current school system come out of the university without any marketable skills but with a sense that they are entitled to good office jobs. However, the Chinese job market is not only focused on the graduate lot: looking for white color jobs, but there are many other opportunities for non-graduates. It is possible for you to work in China without a degree as long as you have a high school diploma or middle college diploma.

Meanwhile, according to a study done by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, they came to the conclusion that the society has put too much emphasis on a single pathway to success i.e. attending and graduating from a four-year college. But with the rising college costs, it is about time we considered other alternatives and became a more wholesome society. Education is good, but then again you do not have to have a bachelor’s degree to achieve a good pay and job security. There are so many other jobs for you to work in China without a degree, some may require an associate degree or less including opportunities in healthcare, sales, construction and sales.

Healthcare jobs

Nursing is just one of the fields that don’t require a bachelor’s degree. This area is fast growing, and it has the highest number of job openings annually. To work as a nurse in China, you are expected to have a nursing license, do three months internship, pass the Chinese NCLEX be fluent in English and also learn Mandarin. But with so many expats in China and international organizations and schools, you can be a nurse working in schools, institutions, home healthcare facilities, nursing healthcare facilities and doctors’ offices. Some other healthcare jobs that only require an associate degree include Dental hygienist, radiologic technologist and technician, respiratory therapist and physical therapist assistants.

Construction jobs

Construction is the leading industry in the provision of opportunities to work in China without a degree. China suffers a shortage of skilled labor, especially in this industry. Factories are shorthanded in spite of having increased workers salaries and benefits. Most of the college graduates in China would rather stay unemployed than do such manual labor jobs that they consider beneath them. It is a good starting point for foreigners; since with time, you can make enough money and pay for your degree as you keep working. Such jobs only require high school diploma or its equivalence and on-job or vocational training. Basically, by choosing a career that you can learn through on-job training, you can earn as you learn. Currently, the job market focuses more o the experience rather than the papers.

Sales jobs

There are a plethora of manufacturing companies in China willing to hire foreigners in sales and business development roles without necessarily having a degree. Ideally, sales positions do not require anything more than high school diploma; it’s all about your personality, sales attitude, ability to represent the company and push the product out there. It is a matter of experience and understanding of business culture. In this case how well do you understand Chinese business etiquette and culture? If it is pushing the product in the international market, can you effectively communicate, do you have strong critical thinking skills and language abilities?

There are also so many other jobs to do like working as a real estate agent, beautician, working in beauty salons, working in department stores, security guards, working as drivers and so many other opportunities to work in China without a degree.

Finding a job through Internship in China

Most of the people who go to study in China also work as interns for foreign companies or public institution. Interning is one of the effective ways to work in China without a degree since the networking that you will make will secure you better opportunities in future. Apart from an internship, you can volunteer to work with the community or companies in China. You will not necessarily need to have a degree but with your determination, it can lead to good job offers either at the enterprise/institution with whom you are already working with, or any other foreign corporations that would prefer to employ people that have some work experience in China.


When you try to work in China as a self-employed or a freelancer, be ready to face some challenges. The first one will be visa acquisition if you are not yet in China. It is tough to get a work visa if you do not have an employer in China who can do that for you. A way to get around this is to take up any job first that will get your papers sorted or go to China as a student and try switching your visa status while in China.

Modeling and acting jobs

In China, Caucasian looks are highly valued. Many companies seek Caucasian-looking individuals to perform some basic modeling or acting for their products/commercials, even without any prior experience. What other better way to work in China without a degree than this? To score such jobs then, networking is very paramount. Meet up with other expats and someone will be able to direct you to the right place since this is a quite popular form of employment within the expat community.

Hospitality jobs

There so many international hotels in China looking for native English-speaking candidates to work for them. The jobs range chefs and waiters to receptionists and tour guides. It’s decent, and you make real money as you work for modern 5-star hotels or the like. The hotel industry is booming in China and they all year-round look for foreigners who can work in China without a degree as a prerequisite.

Doing business in China

Once you take the leap of faith to do business in China be ready to experience the Great Wall of Red Tape (no-pun–intended). However, doing business in China also comes with a lot of rewards. After all, it is the fastest growing economy in the world. What’s important is, know your customers, never stay comfortable and assume business is still good and be very smart with time since registering a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WOFE) in China can even take a year. Also, get a reputable agent to save you the trouble of the bureaucratic spaghetti that the Chinese system can be, learn the art of the barter economy where favors are the common currency and finally do not underestimate the power and importance of Guanxi/relationships.

China is a country swelling with potential, and there are endless opportunities for you work there. The examples above are just some of the possibilities for you to work in China without a degree, but there are much more. The economy is quickly rising and to sustain that they need expertise in all aspects of life and not only in the technical fields which require an advanced degree. Some of the work opportunities can be very demanding and overwhelming but with the right attitude and determination, you will make it.