List of top careers for the self-employed

To help the aspiring self-employed find the best jobs, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes data for jobs in which at least 15% of workers are their own bosses. Along with looking at the percentage of self-employed workers each career has, consider the median income, projected workforce growth, projected job opportunities in the next 10 years, and the level of education required for each type of job. [Read related article: The Best Businesses to Start This Year]

Eight of the 12 highest-rated jobs for workers who want to be self-employed are in the real estate and skilled trade industries, including property and real estate managers, which topped former rankings.

“Whether you make your money in marketing or manufacturing, chances are the vast majority of work opportunities in your field involve a manager and a W-2 form,” wrote SmartAsset’s Nick Wallace. “For workers who are willing to change directions, however, there are some jobs that require little additional education and in which the majority of workers are self-employed.”

These are the top 12 jobs for people who want to be self-employed:

Property and real estate managers: More than 40% of property managers are self-employed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job requires no formal education beyond a high school diploma, and the median annual income in the U.S. is $54,270.
Farmers and ranchers: More than 70% of farmers and ranchers work for themselves, with a median income of $68,050.
Brickmasons and blockmasons: Nearly 25% of masons (not including stonemasons) are self-employed. Over the next 10 years, masons are expected to see job growth of more than 18%.
Food-service managers: Nearly 35% of food-service managers work for themselves. They earn a median income of $48,560, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 77,000 job openings by 2024.
Painters (construction and maintenance): More than 40% of painters are self-employed, with a median annual income of $35,950.
Carpenters: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 169,100 openings for carpenters over the next decade. Currently, 33% of carpenters work for themselves.
Lodging managers: Close to one-third of the 48,400 lodging managers in the U.S. are self-employed. Their median annual income is $47,680.
Tile and marble setters: Nearly 42% of tile and marble setters are self-employed. Their median income is $38,980.
Artists and related workers: Nearly 55% of those in this job category – which includes craft artists, animators, multimedia artists, painters, sculptors, illustrators and art directors – work for themselves. Their median income is $65,860.
Construction laborers: Over the next decade, there will be 378,600 job openings in this field, the fifth most of any job in the analysis. More than a quarter of construction laborers are self-employed.
Real estate brokers: Close to 55% of real estate brokers work for themselves. Their median annual income is $57,360.
Real estate sales agents: More than half of all real estate sales agents are self-employed. By 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 33,000 job openings in this field.