Going to college and getting a four-year degree is ideal for a lot of people and required for a significant number of careers. However, college is not for everyone, and it is incredibly expensive. Many people are unable or unwilling to go into serious debt to earn a degree.
College is also very challenging and time-consuming. If you can go to college full-time and work part-time, you can get it done in four or five years. However, if you need to support yourself or a family financially while going to school, it will take you significantly longer.
The frustration alone of trying to complete a college degree can be overwhelming. Most college programs require you to take classes utterly unrelated to your career plans. These “general education” classes can be the equivalent of a full year of college.
Many people assume if you do not go to college, you will only get a minimum wage job that requires no school or training. This sentiment could not be further from the truth. There is a wide range of careers that do not require a four-year degree and can offer a very comfortable lifestyle.
For example, most trades are very well-paid jobs, and you can learn them through apprentice programs or trade schools, including joint vocational centers. Many of these programs can start while an individual is still in high school, getting them even closer to a well-paid job when they graduate. In most areas, you can find trade jobs within unions, which offer a degree of job security and ongoing benefits not offered in other career fields.
There is also a wide range of jobs within the medical field that do not require a four-year degree if you desire to help others within your career. For example, in-home care services are in high demand throughout the United States and offer a living wage. Many areas are in such need that you can even get a sign-on bonus when you start.
In-home care services are primarily for elderly people who do not need around-the-clock nursing care but are unable to live entirely on their own. They may need help with cleaning and household chores, cooking, or getting ready for the day. In-home care may include helping the individual bathe or get dressed. It may also include cooking their meals and doing their shopping for them.
For some, in-home care is as simple as giving the individual someone to talk to throughout the day or be there in case they fall or have a hard time doing something. For many, when they reach a certain age, mobility because more limited, which can make even the most mundane tasks challenging.
Providing in-home care is perfect for people that have a real desire to help others and connect with people on a personal level. While most services are for older adults, in-home care may also be for someone that is physically or developmentally disabled.
Another great option if you are very outgoing and can easily talk to new people is sales. There are a lot of companies that hire salespeople based on experience and personality, as opposed to educational background. You can choose nearly any industry you like, from direct sales of kitchen supplies and food to cars to pharmaceutical products. Most companies need some sales force to keep their business growing.
Most sales trainings are in the form of workshops and seminars. A business background may help you build a sales career, but it is not mandatory by any means. Sales is a people business, so the best salespeople are the ones that know their product and their customers. They are able to build personal relationships with people quickly, and they keep the customer at the focus of their work.
Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People is still a go-to book for people going into sales and courses based on his book are still conducted throughout the country, targeting people in the sales industry. Carnegie’s principles were based on the idea that making a personal connection with someone is the foundation of all relationships, and something as simple as remembering the customer’s name when you hear it can make a world of difference.
While sales can be a hard business, it can also be very profitable. Individuals who prove to be very talented in sales can easily make hundreds of thousands of dollars selling nearly anything. However, there are a lot of people that go into sales and end up leaving because they are unable to support themselves off their commission.
Another career that many may not consider is a swimming pool contractor. Swimming pools are big business throughout the United States. In states with high year-round temperatures, nearly every household has a pool or access to a pool. Even in areas where it is not warm year-round, pools are trendy, and there are a higher number of indoor pools.
A swimming pool contractor is someone that can install, maintain, and repair pools. They can also work with homeowners to determine the best options for pools given their specific property. Swimming pool contractors can work with landscape designers to ensure the pool works with the design of the property as well.
In high-end areas, swimming pools can be very elaborate and range significantly in size, shape, and functionality. While there is no four-year degree for swimming pool installation, there are workshops and training you can attend to learn different options in pool design. There is also an engineering element to more elaborate pools that needs to be considered; this is where you may find yourself working with designers and architects.
If physical labor isn’t what you are looking for, and you don’t really like being around people, you can also pursue a career as a freelance writer. Freelance writers are needed in nearly every industry to write everything from books and blog posts to social media updates and white papers. You may specialize in a specific area such as grant writing or technical writing, or you may take a more general interest approach and ensure you are versatile enough to write on a wide range of topics.
You can find freelance writing jobs through a simple Google search. If you want to be in charge of your writing, you can start a blog. Choose a niche that you are already passionate about and set up a basic website. Once you have the site, you can begin creating genuinely excellent content on your topic, share it through social media, and watch it grow. Starting a blog is not a path to overnight riches, but with a lot of time and work, you can create a profitable brand.
These are some of the many careers you may choose if you are uninterested or unable to go to college. Not going to college does not mean you are destined to live in a dead-end job making minimum wage. You can start a highly profitable career that will provide you a very comfortable living. There is no limit to the success you can attain doing something you enjoy and following your path.
The first step is to decide what you want to do each day, and then start researching careers. If you enjoy fixing things and working with your hands, a swimming pool contractor or trade may be your best path. If you want to work with people and develop ongoing relationships, in-home care or sales are going to be better for you. Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?