3 Career Paths That Don’t Require a College Degree

For some people, college isn’t the perfect fit. Whether you’re not ready to commit to attending a university so shortly after high school or you don’t think going to college is right for you, don’t fret: There are still plenty of career opportunities for talented, skilled, intelligent workers like yourself.

Depending on your passions and skillsets, there are plenty of courses, apprenticeships, and learning programs that provide sensible alternatives to your traditional college environment. So whether you’re considering cosmetology courses or you think a real estate program could be the thing that kickstarts your career, here are a few job paths that don’t require a college degree.

Become a cosmetologist.


Cosmetology will always be in demand. Between spa services that promote greater relaxation, esthetics procedures that boost self-confidence, and haircut and hair color services, cosmetology programs can teach you about various exciting products, techniques, and applications. If you’re considering a cosmetology program, you should connect with current cosmetology students to ask about their experience in the field. Depending on your career goals and your cosmetology interests, you may need more courses than some.

For instance, if you want to work with hair design or hair care, you may need a certification for advanced techniques. Depending on state law, you may even need a license or proof from your cosmetology school. Discuss your future goals with your cosmetology instructor to help you learn what courses and on-the-clock hours would most benefit you. Cosmetology school and standalone programs may push you in the right direction.

Learn about real estate.

Suppose cosmetology school doesn’t appeal to you, or you’re the kind of person that prefers receiving manicures and pedicures over giving them. In that case, you may want to consider a career that enables you to rely on your communication skills and your intuition. To this end, you should consider taking a real estate course. Most real estate courses offer a helpful blend of practical instruction, examination prep, and professional licensure assistance. Plus, you won’t have to wait long to take your licensure exam, depending on the educational program.

To ensure that you’re prepared for the first day of class, take the time to research any real estate educational programs before attending. Some courses are focused on fundamentals, while others help you learn more advanced techniques and prepare you to meet with the appropriate licensing board.

Truck drivers are always in demand.


Out of all of the current global worker shortages, few industries need workers as much as the shipping and transportation industry. Because of this worker shortage, more and more fleet companies and distribution networks are improving their benefits, increasing salary caps, and providing shorter hauls. If you’re considering becoming a trucker, find out if your program meets any licensing and testing qualifications. Since you’ll require a particular operator’s license for OTR hauls and trucking jobs, you want to ensure you’re prepared for your first jobs.

It may also be helpful if you’re vaccinated, though many truck drivers aren’t and many still wear masks for shipments and deliveries. If the latest trends are any indication, the American transportation industry worker shortage is only set to continue, so there’s plenty of room for new talent and fresh faces.

Whether you’re getting into the cosmetology industry so you can become a salon owner or you’re thinking about getting your real estate license from a state board examiner, there are plenty of degree-free employment pursuits that are worth considering. Take a look at your interests, passions, and hobbies, and see if you have a way to turn those into gainful employment, start your own business, or try something unexpected. These ideas are a starting point, and the next step is up to you.