What Can You Do Without a College Degree?

Nancy Anderson
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Hands-on experience and job skills trump a college degree for at least some of the top employers in the United States. The trend comes as the 2018 labor market needs to draw top talent no matter what. Find out why having a four-year degree is no longer necessary for some employers.

Skills and Experience Versus Education

It turns out that some top employers value hands-on, practical experience versus a college degree. For example, IBM said in 2017 that up to 15 percent of the company's hires did not have a degree. Although college did play a role in some hiring decisions, the tech giant also looked at industry-related vocational classes and coding boot camps as ways to recruit workers. Of course, IBM hosts and sponsors coding boot camps as a way to draw talent to the company. Industry-specific vocational courses offer a more hands-on, practical approach to education versus theoretical learning in a four-year college.

What Employers No Longer Require a College Degree?

Glassdoor compiled a list of 15 top employers that no longer require a college degree for applicants, at least for certain positions. Google, Apple, Penguin Random House, Ernst & Young and IBM all rank in the top tier of companies that hire people without a degree. Retailers and restaurants are also pushing to hire employees without degrees for management positions. Instead of looking at educational backgrounds, places such as Starbucks, Chipotle, The Home Depot, Lowe's and Nordstrom might find viable managers and supervisors from employees who started out at entry-level positions and earned the trust of their employers.

Do You Really Need a Degree?

In this employment culture, you may not need a college degree to succeed. There are various opportunities that put you in touch with good-paying jobs that lead to career success. It's no longer necessary to commit four years of your life to attending school to have a thriving career.

Real estate agents do not need a college education, but they must pass certification exams to become licensed to buy and sell real estate. Knowledge of local areas, particular ones in which you lived for a long time, help greatly in this regard.

Truck drivers must earn a commercial driver's license and attend truck driving school for several weeks. Committing to driver training for one or two months is a lot less than four years of college. You must also pass a physical and drug screening to drive trucks over the road, and be at least 21 years of age.

Hairstylists typically attend school for several months to learn the tricks of the trade, and car repair technicians follow a similar career path once they start out. Much like truck drivers, these careers may require certifications and licenses.

A college degree is becoming less of a requirement for many companies and careers. When you consider the costs of college and repaying student loans for 20 years, perhaps that is a good thing if you have a career track in mind that doesn't require attending university-level classes.

Photo courtesy of UC Davis College of Engineering at Flickr.com


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