If you gave a four-year school a try and it didn't work out, never fear. You can still add marketable skills to your resume even if college wasn't for you. Keep reading to learn more.
Most think the next step after high school is college. It's the standard way to bolster your resume and ready yourself for the workforce. But what if college just isn't for you? Can you apply for a job and move forward in a career even without a four-year degree?
For some fields, a college degree is useful and even necessary but that's not the case for all industries. You can confidently walk into a job interview without a traditional college experience and land a position, depending on the kind of profession. Plumbers and wind turbine technicians are examples of jobs that don't require any sort of college degree.
We don't all find that college is the right fit for us and that's fine. Around one-third of adult Americans have a bachelor's degree or higher but the other two-thirds of the population make up the majority.
Attending a university is even unreasonably costly and time-consuming for many. Student loan debt can hold people back from momentous points in life, like buying a house. If you aren't willing to give up a few years of your life and large amounts of money for tuition, there are other paths to take.
The normal trajectory of education may include college but learning extends to experiences and hands-on lessons, too. You can grow as you work on the job. While college may be for you, it's also possible you want to take a different direction.
So, how can you gather qualifications for a job without a degree? Let's look at a few ways to enhance your resume and career if college isn't for you.
1. Try an apprenticeship
Preparing for an occupation can happen in an apprenticeship rather than an internship or college. Classrooms can help some learners thrive but on-the-spot training can be just as effective for others. As an apprentice, you can earn a paycheck as you collect skills in your chosen career, avoiding debt and making connections.
America is behind other countries in the popularity of apprenticeships but there are concentrated efforts to raise the number of people taking this path. Around 91 percent of apprentices find employment after completing their programs, so this system is advantageous for job placement.
Apprenticeships may be an old model but there are plenty of attractive, modern professions you can enter into. A few of the fields where apprenticeships are available include construction, health care, hospitality and information technology.
2. Build knowledge with online resources
With the vast capabilities of the internet, it's no wonder that you can replace a traditional education with online resources. You can improve your mind and gather practical skills through free online platforms but you won't come away with a degree.
Many websites are set up to directly share post-secondary resources with you. Khan Academy is one website that provides high-quality education to anyone. Another database, Coursera works with companies and universities to pass on interactive courses for free. If you're resolved to have a piece of paper proving your learning, Alison has the benefits of free online education but also offers some certifications.
At your own pace, you can accumulate the knowledge you need to pursue the job you want. Self-motivated learning can show employers that you are ambitious in a different way than degree-holding applicants.
3. Get certifications and licensure
Maybe you don't want to spend extensive time seeking a degree but not all learning programs take several years to complete. You can earn helpful certificates and licenses with shorter programs.
Some jobs insist on a license or certificate, like a hairdresser or a real estate agent. However, these are usually more affordable and take less time to finish. At the end, you take a type of assessment to prove your skills and knowledge. This shows your proficiency, which can increase your qualifications.
Even when you've started your career, you can achieve a higher level of income or advance your position with certifications. Impress your next boss by putting a professional certificate on your resume.
4. Attend a technical or trade school
If you're looking to gain real know-how in your potential profession, a trade school is a compelling option. Technical or trade schools are geared toward specific jobs.
With the skills-based outlook, you can feel equipped after the program is done, unlike college students. In fact, only 43 percent of American college seniors feel well prepared for their future careers.
The two-year or less span of technical schools helps you jump into the workforce early. You can still find lucrative jobs, like dental hygienists, in this short amount of time.
5. Become an entrepreneur
An innovative idea and strategy are the starting points for becoming an entrepreneur. You can apply a strong work ethic to your own business idea rather than joining someone else's. Entrepreneurship allows you to act on your creativity and learn from mistakes in a unique way.
Several successful entrepreneurs didn't complete a college degree, like Michael Dell, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerburg. Pioneering your own company might be risky but it's possible to reap huge rewards.
Enjoy a successful non-degree career!
Despite the beliefs of our culture, college isn't the only way to find success and meaningful work. You can discover a path that's conducive to your goals and skill set without a degree.
Choose a career path that appeals to you and features a valuable, rare learning environment.