5 Careers for INTJs Who Don’t Have a College Education

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on September 30, 2015

What do lawyers, auditors and engineers have in common? It's not the opening of a really bad joke. These professions top the list of INTJ-friendly careers. And along with just about all the suggested careers for INTJs, they require many years of education and killer hours to boot.

So what do you do if college isn't an option? Here are five careers with INTJ written all over them - no college degree required.

Freelance Writer

As an INTJ, it is unlikely that you have visions of yourself sitting at your kitchen table with a hot cup of Joe, nonchalantly tapping out the latest steamy thriller on your Macbook Pro. You're too analytical and structured to hold such romantic notions. Writing, however, is a great fit for the inquisitive INTJ. You just need to tap into a niche that triggers your creative and inventive function (N), as well as your logical, concise and system-oriented function (TJ). Business writing, technical authorship, copywriting and non-fiction publishing should be right up your street.

Freelancing is a good option for escaping the 9-5 grind, and INTJs earn more, on average, when self-employed. The minimal repetitive work associated with this career is appealing, too. No formal education is necessary to launch a career as a freelance writer, and the average salary comes in at around $65,000 per year.

Digital Marketing Strategist

Digital marketing strategists are progressive yet detail-oriented thinkers who use market research, SEO analytics, consumer psychology and big data to improve a company's online presence. Their job is to identify what customers want and need, and to define a strategy for satisfying those unmet needs that a company's creative team can then work with to drive business growth. As such, a digital marketing strategist needs foresight, intuition and the ability to generate competition-beating ideas based upon the smallest pieces of statistical evidence. The job description could have been written for an INTJ.

This career is a good choice for the education-light INTJ as there are no barriers to entry. Any self-taught person with a good grasp of digital marketing strategies can potentially get a position in a company. One thing you will need, however, is a strong personal brand - you'll struggle to convince a company that you can raise their visibility if you haven't managed to raise your own. Once employed, the average salary comes in at a very respectable $79,508 per year.

Commercial Pilot

Airline pilots need at least a bachelor's degree to get off the runway. A commercial pilot, on the other hand, can take off with just a high school diploma. The only difference is that instead of transporting people, you'll fly aircraft for other reasons such as firefighting, rescue operations, crop dusting and aerial photography.

For an INTJ who enjoys the sensation of flight, this career is a good option. There's a lot of things to learn - weather technology, radar, aerodynamics, aircraft maintenance, instrument panel visualization, VOR and tower controls, to name just a few. You must be able to think on your feet and quickly spot signs of trouble as mistakes in flight can be costly. This can be very satisfying for an INTJ.

On the downside, you'll have to put up with a lot of rules. Aviation, by necessity, is a heavily regulated industry. You'll also need to spend a lot of time in the sky - at least 40 hours with a certified flight instructor to get your pilot's license, then another 250 hours to get a commercial pilot's license. The investment can pay off, however, with the average salary clocking in at $82,430 per year.

Web Developer

OK, so you're going to need some training in HTML, Javascript, CSS and other coding languages to become a successful web developer, but who says that you have to learn these skills in a classroom? Some companies will want to see a diploma, while others believe that experience is the best thing you can bring to a job interview. A great portfolio, an open source project or even a personal website can be a great way to get your foot in the door.

Unless you choose to work in an uber-cool collaborative office (hello Googleplex), life as a web developer means you won't have to deal with people right in front of you. The majority of the work is remote. You spend your time solving problems and working on process improvements in relative isolation. For the autodidactic and introverted INTJ, it's like working in your own intellectual bubble - just you versus the code.

The average salary is $68,670 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hop over to Silicon Valley and the salary can easily top six figures.

Power Line Installer

New housing developments and business parks require new power grids. It makes sense that an analytical and investigative personality type, like the INTJ, is a great fit for installing and maintaining them. If you're practically minded, this career plays right to your strengths. It demands troubleshooting skills (establishing the causes of operating errors and figuring out what to do about them), critical thinking skills (using logic to weigh up a number of alternative approaches to problems) and complex problem solving (reviewing data to develop options and implement solutions). It is also one of the few engineering jobs where you can work alone and largely unseen - although the combined elements of height and high voltage electricity may be a greater risk than some cautious INTJs can handle.

The starting point is an apprenticeship which typically lasts up to five years, but you don't need a college education. Demand is set to grow by 13.7% by 2024 according to Kiplinger, which makes power line installation one of America's fastest growing jobs. The salary is pretty desirable too, coming in at an average $64,990 per year.

Molly Owens

Molly Owens is the founder and CEO of Truity. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She began working with personality assessments in 2006, and in 2012 founded Truity with the goal of making robust, scientifically validated assessments more accessible and user-friendly.

Molly is an ENTP and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she enjoys elaborate cooking projects, murder mysteries, and exploring with her husband and son.

More from this author...
About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.


Guest (not verified) says...

As a college graduate who has a degree in a field that does not pay, I truly appreciate articles like these. Please keep them coming!

INTJCop (not verified) says...

Hi for any other INTJs who read this I can give another possible recommendation.

As the name suggests I work in the Police as an Officer. Yes sure the bureaucracy and office politics can be frustrating for our personality type but in today's age this is a common aspect in most careers. Just ignore it like usual.

It's an interesting role and you will see things in life whilst always having something to work towards. E.g. for me, I found fulfilment in setting the goal in becoming a detective and taking down those who miss use their power i.e white collar crime. Cases like this are interesting and are long term goals; I was working in taking down a company that did drugs behind the scenes (which just meant those lacking any cash became victims of drugs and were used without knowing it) and it took 2 years. When you achieve the results, nothing can be any better.

Yes, things are not perfect, the justice system is not good enough but that's it exactly; what type other than the INTJ is more suitable then coming in here and changing the system for the better?

Also, social media is a joke... police officers who I work with are some of the most respectful people I've met in my life. In fact, I was lost in another country once and asked the police for help and they helped me without question... what are the chances for an ordinary stranger in helping you this? Damn low I'd say.

So if you do have a developed Fi and are open minded enough to not obey what negative police image social media / news etc are giving nowadays, then it is THE niche-gem career for an INTJ that is never noticed. Primarily it is Te. Ni is ridiculously great for becoming/being a detective or setting your own goals when it comes to specialising in a role within the service.

Hope this helps someone.

pilot (not verified) says...

I would avoid being a pilot for INTJs, based on personal experience. It's easy to make it sound technical and potentially needing a multi-tasking mind to solve problems, but the reality is that it is 99 percent repetition and boredom. There is very little progress to be made... sure there are status levels to strive towards (becoming captain, or larger aircraft transitions), but in the end it is the opposite of goal/task orientated careers... just do the same thing over and over without messing up; that's the goal. I've been a pilot for 16 years and I'm bored out of my mind. I think pilot is most suited to S personalities... ISTP may be the best.

INTJ Pilot 2 (not verified) says...

I've been a pilot for 18 years, and he is exactly right.  For the love of your INTJ selves, avoid this career like the plague.  It's completey mind-numbing without any greater purpase than to have nothing remarkable happen.  Additionally, all that nothing also comes with a lot of stress, for what?  So you can tell girls in a bar you're a pilot?  Nah, do something that you love and challenges you, not that looks cool on paper.  This is a taxi-driver job when it comes down to it.  INTJs do best with project orientated jobs that they can use their skills to better something, not careers where the goal is to blend in and not disturb anything.  I agree with ISTPs enjoying aviation the most.  

Intj Helo driver (not verified) says...

I'm a INJT pilot, and I live it. . . But then again I crop dust.  Airlines would be hell, but  the blog isn't  suggesting airlines, it's suggesting utility.   Guess y'all missed that.   


I am however a A&P/IA as well,  so I get to wear both hat's in my profession.  Always me some change.

Josh Johnston (not verified) says...

I seriously thought about getting into this field before, but I'm not sure if I'm qualified to do it.

someone who passed by (not verified) says...

Find an administrative office job where there is room for optimization of processes.. I love having a job places where they need to get everything under control, because things are a mess.. When everything is "cleaned up" I get a new job.

JohnCheek (not verified) says...

Hey, Molly! Thanks for the article that encourages further communication :D

I think that everybody can create a profitable career if the person has the desire. Many people don't pay attention to the self-education even though it's a powerful method to obtain knowledge. As for me, I started blogging at Cops'n'Writers without studying this field, and I write on different topics. When you're in love with what you do, no diploma is needed. The main idea is to be a well-rounded person :)


Dan S. (not verified) says...

Now 40 years old, I was in special ops, got out once I made enough rank to realize I couldn't stand dealing with the politics of the job. I loved the adrenaline rush of jumping out of planes and kicking down doors. Then I owned a successful custom cabinet shop and woodworking business. Eventually got big enough to have 4 employees and hated the administrative side of the job, loved the high end custom stuff. Now I'm doing custom audio/video and smart home systems, basically constant problem solving. 

I went to college because my family said I had to in order to be successful.

Funny thing is, I was 2 classes shy of my bachelor's when I started my cabinet shop. That was 15 years ago. It doesn't matter what job I have, I always learn and do my best, and have always been successful. Sad thing is that once I master it, I'm bored. Now I realize that I like to learn. I taught myself to weld because I needed a trailer that did not seem to exist.

The one regret I have is not staying in the army. I got my letter to come try out for delta (the best of the best) and decided not to re-enlist. In my mind I didn't master that job. It constantly irritates me still. I have to be challenged with problems or puzzles, otherwise I loose interest very quickly. I've also learned that I have to be my own boss, and I work best alone or with someone who doesn't mind following. 

Dena Sommers (not verified) says...

Fully agree.....Most satisfaction is running my own business.  I don't enjoy working for others at all.....making them rich when having skill, determination and know how to succeed.  I closed my preschool when we moved and that brought me a lot of satisfaction.  Now I want to start a window treatment business next.  Absolutely love working alone.  Can't stand to listen to gossip or idle chit chat. Rather work and get the job done.  People take it the wrong way that I am not interested in being social with them.

Thank goodness my hubby is mentally simulating.  He's the only man I ever met that I have never lost interest in.  Highly intelligent too.  

Being a INTJ did make it hard to find love!  Most men to me were boring.

Teja (not verified) says...

Hello fellow intj's. A glad women INTJ here. Gonna be a pilot soon. Let's see how it goes. I will probably get bored of the profession but not sooner. Let's say 15-20 years. That'll be cool. Lot of worldyyy experience. And then I can shift my career, I'll be stable enough by then, no worries right? Yuhhuhooo :) Good day. 

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