Three Ways to Make a Killing Without a College Degree

by Martin

Life without college

A college degree seems like the bare minimum for any “decent” job out there. It feels as if you just can’t “make it” without a wall full of credentials.

That’s fine for those of us that have gone through the whole educational system. What about for younger generations? What about those that finished college and want to switch careers? What if you can’t sit through a 3 hour lecture? What if you work better with your hands? What if college programs don’t interest you?

Let’s look at three ways you can make lots of money in your life time without a college degree:

1. Lots of relevant work experience.

While all of the other 18 year olds are out there studying in school you can begin to work your way up the ladder in your company or field. It’s common for most established companies to hire and promote from within. The four years that some of your contemporaries will spend in school could be enough time for you to move up to a managerial position. If you don’t move up to management, you can at least have years of experience under your belt. This work experience can be priceless by the time you turn 22.

A strong caveat on work experience is that it needs to be relevant work experience. Working a mundane job that you hate will not garner you any real experience. You’ll just use up valuable time that could be much better utilized. You could also try working in a few different industries to see what fits you best. Either way, relevant and valuable work experience can do much more for you than a college degree without any real world experience can.

2. Start your own business.

If you get the entrepreneurial bug at an early age don’t hesitate to pursue it. Don’t let anyone force you to go to college. What’s the point of delaying your life goals to study something that doesn’t interest you? I really don’t think that college is for everyone. Some are natural-born leaders and are better suited to running the show from the start.

I once met a person on vacation that brought up a really thought-provoking point. I’ll try to sum it up as best as I can. On the topic of attending college, he said to me, “why are there so many students here? Don’t any 20-year olds start their own business or do anything else?” This really hit me. Why do so many of us go to college instead of attempting to branch off on our own? Is it because of society? Is it because of our parents? I’m not sure.

Check out these great small business related articles:

Three reasons why your new business won’t succeed.
Lies about entrepreneurship.
Time management & side income.

3. Certificates/crash courses.

You don’t need a formal 4 year education to learn a thing or two. Many certificate programs and crash courses can be all that you need to jump start your career or to get started in a new field. I’ve met successful personal trainers that took a crash course as opposed to earning a 4-year degree in Kinesiology. You don’t need to be a supposed “expert” with 6 years of education under your belt to make a solid living in a given field. You can continually upgrade your skills and improve your work by taking crash courses.

I didn’t include the obvious alternatives to a college degree: attending community college or winning the lottery. But you get the point. There are many ways to earn lots of money in your life time without a formal 4-year college degree.

What are some of your personal alternatives to a college degree? How can you maximize your  career growth without a formal college education?

(photo credit: Wootang01)

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Josh

I know some who are college-age and make, or have the potential to make, six figures per year simply due to the fact that they are entrepreneurs and/or have a lot of actual experience. Entrepreneurial ability and actual accomplishment are far more effective than a nice resume. Businesses love to hire people who have initiative and have done something proactive.

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2 Briana @ GBR

These are all things I’m working on. I interned and worked my first 2 years of college and decided to take a break. I interned full time and was hired shortly after. I’m now doing certificate programs and extended education while starting my own business. My family wants me to go back to school, and yes, there’s lots of positions out there that require a BA at the very least, but if I’m becoming an entrepreneur, I don’t need a degree :)

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