Campus graduates throwing their hats up is college for everyone

Is College for Everyone? Other Options to Consider

Whether or not college is really necessary is a highly-debated topic. While some people believe that college is the most important step to find success in your career after graduating from high school, it isn’t the only option. This article will explore some less traditional ways to gain the skills and experience you need without a college degree. 

Is College Really Necessary?

No, college is not always necessary. Of course, there are some careers that will require you to have a college degree in a certain field, such as medicine, nursing, and engineering. However, there are top firms and industries where experience and abilities are even more valued than traditional university degrees. 

Recruitment in the 21st century can often be more about what you can do than the certificate that you have earned. Rather than focus on degrees, some employers will choose candidates based on skill tests, work experience, recommendations, and personality. 

Pros and Cons of Attending College

College is often considered the finish line of the education system, even though it can cost more than it is worth. Still, there are many benefits to attending college that can not be ignored. Below are some advantages and disadvantages of attending college.

Top Reasons to Attend College

  1. Quality education. You will gain comprehensive knowledge about subjects you love from expert teachers and take part in projects that strengthen your expertise.
  2. Wider job opportunities. Many employers regard those with college degrees as more driven and capable than those without.
  3. Networking. It is a chance to connect with a diverse group of people, which can give you networking opportunities for life.
  4. The college experience. As a college student, you will learn to handle things independently, test your limits and widen your horizons.

Top Reasons NOT to Go to College

  1. Debts and student loans. The cost of college can be expensive, which can incapacitate students financially for long after graduation, especially low-income students.
  2. College can be stressful. It can be difficult to cope with college stress. They can be physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. Weigh up if the stress will be worth it before applying to college.
  3. Education is not job focused. Colleges are known for teaching more theory and less practical skills, which is often not helpful in the actual job climate.
  4. Some people thrive without a college education. Think about successful people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. These pioneers of innovation all found huge success with just a high school diploma.

Top Rewarding Career Paths that Don’t Require College

Several high-paying jobs no longer require a four-year college degree. Employees can get career training from vocational education, apprenticeship, certificate programs, or two-year degrees. These careers usually span across industries like healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing. 

Warehouse Supervisor

A warehouse supervisor is responsible for overseeing and coordinating daily warehouse activities such as managing inventories, storing and receiving products, securing the warehouse, and ensuring the efficient delivery of goods. 

The primary requirement for a warehouse supervisor is the ability to be a team player and solve problems efficiently. It is also essential that they have a Forklift Operations Certificate and a driver’s license. The average salary of a warehouse supervisor is $52,802.

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Drafter

Computer-aided design drafters create drawings for building construction or product creation. They also fill design drawings with codes and specifications for the design. They can work with a variety of companies to deliver high-quality designs. 

CAD drafters need to have excellent verbal skills, creativity, and organization skills. The average salary of a computer-aided design drafter is $48,272.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Diagnostic medical sonographers conduct medical diagnostics using sonography, prepare equipment, facilitate test results, explain procedures to patients, and procure medical testing supplies. They often use specialized medical equipment to create reports and interpret ultrasound data.

Diagnostic medical sonographers are known to be detailed and can work on several projects at once. The average salary of a diagnostic medical supervisor is $65,152.

Database Engineer

Database engineers are involved in managing and creating databases for a company. Their day-to-day tasks consist of installing, upgrading, monitoring, and maintaining databases. They will document database schemas, as well as models and support software to interface with databases. 

A database engineer must be able to manage multiple projects, work independently, and adhere to time constraints. They must also have advanced experience with Oracle and SQL. The average salary of a database engineer is $86,859.

Computer Support Specialist

A computer support specialist assists companies and provides in-house support for external individuals. They will work to support business and productivity software. They also maintain and develop required technical documentation. 

Some of the skills needed for this position include critical thinking, presentation, strong communication, and problem-solving skills. A computer support specialist earns an average of $46,112.

How to Kickstart a Tech Career

Tech careers are increasing in response to the world’s growing tech demands. There are a wide variety of tech careers, from project management to product design, and many of these jobs do not require a college degree. You can kickstart your career in tech without attending college by taking advantage of alternative educational opportunities like bootcamps and tech schools. 

Attend a Coding Bootcamp

Coding bootcamps offer short yet intensive training that allows students to master skills in a short period of time. They employ experienced educators to give students hands-on experience with a particular tech skill such as cyber security, data science, or UX design. The programs come with numerous benefits that can include a job guarantee upon graduation, and career services to bolster your entry into the industry.

Coding bootcamps have a focused curriculum that focuses on practical skills and provides students with current in-demand skills in the job market. After graduation, many students further their professional development by doing a coding apprenticeship or by taking on an entry-level role at a tech company. You can even attend a summer coding bootcamp as a high school and graduate ready for your career.

Go to Technical School

Attending a technical school is an excellent way to prepare for your tech career, no matter your financial situation. They are career-focused and less time-intensive, and can be far more affordable than traditional colleges. They are designed to provide career-specific technical training to fit your job in the tech industry. 

The curriculum and scheduling is designed to be convenient and flexible, however getting accepted into technical schools can be difficult and competitive. 


This one is one of the most convenient and flexible ways to learn skills that are vital for a career in the tech industry. Though it requires a lot of hard work, self-discipline, and resilience, self-study can provide you with everything you need to start your career. It allows students to learn at their own pace and focus on areas that are more important to them.

 Other Alternatives to College

An empty college hall with rows of empty seats is college not for everyone
Many people start their own businesses or pursue vocational careers instead of going to college.

There are many less obvious paths to success as an alternative to attending a four-year degree in college. These include things like starting a business or attending a vocational school program. 

Starting a Business

Starting a business can seem like a herculean task, but it will help you learn skills fast. You will quickly learn from your own mistakes to master your craft. The errors you make might be costly, but owning your own business can also come with a great deal of freedom.

Attend a Community College

Community colleges may not have the structure of private colleges, but they have numerous other benefits like increased course options, supportive environments, and flexibility. Tuition costs at community colleges are significantly cheaper than at universities.

Attend a Vocational school

Vocational schools are shorter and have more affordable tuition than the standard college experience. There are two types of vocational schools, technical college and trade schools. Technical college offers more classroom study on a subject, while trade schools are focused on practical vocational training.

Take Online Classes

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, online classes are more accessible and popular than ever. These courses are often university verified, flexible to attend, and valuable. You can learn a variety of subjects including physics, business, and programming. A significant drawback is that employers are likely to place less value on online courses than college degrees.

If you are looking to pursue a career in technology, you can utilize online resources to learn to code for free.

Get a Job

Finding a job will help you learn new skills and start earning straight away. You can take jobs like construction supervisor, gaming manager, claims adjuster, and mass transportation operator. All of these jobs can help you attain the necessary skills and valuable experience to thrive in the labor market.

Should You Go to College?

You don’t have to go to college. College isn’t for everyone, and many people find ways to land their dream job without a college degree. School degrees can certainly be helpful in finding a career, but it is just as important to have marketable skills to show employers that you can get the job done.

The high costs, student debt, and low graduation rate can make traditional college a significant risk. It is a risk worth taking if your career requires a degree to thrive in the industry. If it doesn’t, consider other options like community college, technical schools, vocational education, and bootcamps. All of these options can help kickstart your career for less.

Setting career goals can help you make your decision on whether a college or other learning platform would be the best choice for you.

Is College for Everyone? FAQs

Is it okay if college is not for you?

It is definitely okay if college is not for you. It can be better to pursue what you love and use your strengths in a career that doesn’t require a college degree to gain maximum life satisfaction.

Is college really necessary?

Even though a degree is a required step for many careers, it isn’t the only way to succeed in the job market. Your skills and talents alone can get you hired in a wide variety of industries.

What are the other options besides going to college?

Some options besides attending a four-year university include taking free online classes, attending a technical school or a vocational program, and building a portfolio by volunteering or interning at a firm.

What happens if you don’t go to college?

If you don’t go to college, you can still develop your skills by considering other educational routes. Regardless of the path you choose, you can still make an enjoyable career with determination and devotion.

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