College has its pros and cons. On the one hand, a college degree can often empower a person to get a more impressive job and earn a more substantial income than they would be able to otherwise. On the other hand, a college degree isn’t an employment guarantee. These days, degrees are so expensive that most students who graduate from university are left with burdensome levels of student loan debt to manage. College may well be worth it for some people. Still, before you commit to enrolling in a degree program, it’s worth considering opportunities to earn a great living without paying for college.
1. Pursue a Career in Real Estate
Real estate agents and brokers have the potential to make awe-inspiring amounts of income, and many earn a comfortable living from this career choice – without ever having gone to college. A high school diploma is the basic academic requirement for becoming a real estate sales professional in the United States. In the USA, real estate professionals enjoy average annual earnings of $50,300.
The future job outlook for real estate agents is favorable. Analysts from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predict a 7 percent growth in demand for agents between now and the year 2028.
2. Get an Apprenticeship
Apprenticeships offer you a combination of career training, mentorship, and paid work experience. These sorts of opportunities are available in the United States, but they tend to be better-known and more popular in countries outside the USA. In Australia, a leading academic portal, Training, reports that apprenticeships are the favored up-and-coming pathway to obtaining a high-paying job without attending university.
In the United States, there are small numbers of apprenticeships available in proportion to the relative size of the population. Those that are available tend to offer excellent opportunities for people who can manage to secure them.
Each opportunity is different, but apprenticeships typically offer paid, on-the-job training at a typical rate of somewhere around $15 per hour. That isn’t an impressive hourly wage; however, keep in mind that this opportunity gives you an immediate source of income, whereas a college or university doesn’t.
3. Learn a High-Demand Tech Skill
Some employers in the tech sector won’t consider hiring you unless you have a bachelor’s degree; but, other employers don’t care about your academic achievements. What they care about are your skills. So if you want to be a coder, software developer, information security analyst, blockchain engineer, or get a similar type of job in the tech sector, you do have a shot at these roles, even if you don’t go to college.
Some noteworthy examples of possible employers include tech giants such as Google, IBM, and Apple. Getting employed at these companies requires high levels of cognitive ability plus relevant skills. Depending on the role, a degree isn’t always needed.
So how do you go about acquiring the skills you need for these jobs if you don’t plan to get a bachelor’s degree?
If you’re still in high school, you might be able to obtain some of the skills you need in your high school classes. If not, there are free and low-cost courses and certifications available online. The following are a few options:
- Massive online courses in computer programming at EDX
- Introduction to coding at Khan Academy
- Software engineering courses at Coursera
- Information security courses at Coursera
Once you have taken some coding or other courses, you also need to demonstrate that you can put what you’ve learned into practice by working on some real-world projects. For coders, the easiest way to do that is to contribute code to an open-source project. It helps if you can work with a team of people led by an influential individual who would be willing to endorse your work to prospective employers.
4. Start Your Own Business
As an entrepreneur, you can earn a great living and enjoy a considerable amount of creative freedom and flexibility. Business opportunities abound, and many of the best business ideas do not require academic credentials for success.
If you don’t have a lot of cash available to fund a new startup, you might want to consider a home-based business opportunity to start with. In particular, there are numerous viable internet-based income opportunities to learn about. For example, if you write well, it is possible to earn excellent money blogging without making a huge startup investment.
If you’ve been able to save some money by working a part-time job while you were in high school, that would further expand your opportunities for types of businesses to consider. In that case, you might want to look at franchises as another possibility.
College isn’t for everyone, and these four options give you some exciting college alternatives to consider. If you want to avoid going into massive debt to acquire an education and still earn a great living, one of these options might be worth pursuing.