How many people do you know who have a college degree? The number might surprise you.

We’re made to believe that the only road to success is paved with a college degree, but that’s not entirely true. You don’t need a college degree to be successful. Dedication, experience, and opportunity are just a few characteristics that make up the many reasons you don’t need a college degree to be successful.


1. Experience May Be More Valuable than Education

Not every employer requires a college degree, especially if a candidate already has experience in the industry.

Higher education can and will grow your knowledge in a particular subject or field of study, but how far does that get you with no experience to substantiate it? Because of this, employers will often consider experience just as much as they would education. And if you can back up your experience with a portfolio, samples, or personal references, it will help you much more in the long run.

Sure, a university degree will look good on a resume, but it’s the work history and experience that most employers consider the most. If you have a resume that lacks a college degree but is filled with work experience and samples, you may have the edge over the competition with a college degree.

2. Networking Works

Throughout your life, how many times have you heard someone say, “I’ll reach out to my friend who works there and see if you can get an interview”? That’s because networking works.

Networking works by discussing job opportunities through word-of-mouth. An employer with a friend who has referred someone they know to apply for a job will likely be asked to interview for the position, regardless of their education or their resume.

3. Student Loans Put You in the Hole

Student loans are expensive and can take years to pay off, long after graduation. Meaning that you can take a job that pays well because of your college education but could be spending all of your paychecks on student loan repayments.

Student loans can take more than 20 years to pay off, and when you think about how you can retire after 30 years of employment, there are only 10 years where you’re not paying off your student loan – and that’s if you are lucky enough to only pay for 20 years! Some student loans can take nearly 30 years to pay off, especially if you attend an accredited university with high tuition costs.

Four years of college means four years’ worth of tuition costs. If college tuition costs $25,000 per year, you’re looking at $100,000 in tuition costs for your entire college career. Not going to college will save you money on hefty student loan payments.

4. Many Jobs Don’t Require a College Degree

There are many great-paying jobs that you can get without a college degree, and we’re not talking about retail or food service jobs that high school students often take when they first enter the workforce. These jobs are in growing, high-demand industries that show no sign of slowing down any time soon.

Here are some of the most popular jobs that don’t require a college degree:

Real estate agent
The medical office staff (hospital, doctor, or dental office)
Tax preparer
Bank teller
Electronic repairer
Flight attendant
Air traffic controller
Administrative assistant
Public safety officer or emergency response officer
Insurance agent

Oftentimes, you can take an entry-level job and work your way up the corporate ladder through hard work and satisfactory performance. These promotions could lead to significant pay increases and management titles that often require a college degree from someone taking the job if it is a vacant position that needs to be filled by someone in the general public.

You don’t need a college degree to have a successful career, especially with a good work ethic.

5. Professors Teach Material, Not Skill

One of the most common misconceptions about college and college courses is that students expect professors to teach them how to apply the skills they’re learning in real-life applications. Instead, professors teach students the material they will need to grow and develop their skills. Professors leave it up to the students to develop the skill set they will use when it’s time to get a job.

Experience is how skill sets are developed. When young adult chooses to enter the workforce and forego college, they gain experience that is displayed in different ways.

Some of the most common skills that are learned when entering the workforce are:

Customer service
Time management
Critical thinking

These skills can’t be taught; they have to be learned, and the only way to learn them is through experience and exposure.

It’s similar to your first day on the job after you’ve gone through training and observation. You can only learn so much by watching the person you’re training. It’s only when you are on your own that you learn how to handle various circumstances.

That’s how skills are attained. You have to learn them through experience and exposure to develop them.

6. You Need to Be Tested to Succeed

Perseverance is the key ingredient to becoming successful, and perseverance only shows up when you’re being tested.

If being successful was easy, everyone would be successful. The difference between who’s successful and who’s not is often found in who persevered through the failures.

College doesn’t teach perseverance. You can work hard in your classes, but let’s say you want to be an entrepreneur by starting your own business. It takes grit, determination, and perseverance to get through the rejections that come with the hurdles of starting a new business, like seeking investors and obtaining a small business loan.

A college degree that comes with hefty student loan repayments can make it that much more stressful to want to follow your dreams.

7. Social Media and Networking Websites Help Job Seekers Succeed

Today, websites like LinkedIn and Indeed are leading the way in helping job seekers find a job without a college degree. The downside to these websites is that the employer may put in the job description that a college degree is required. This causes many qualified candidates to skip over applying for the job simply because they don’t meet the education requirement of the position.

But you don’t need to sleep on LinkedIn or Indeed to help you find a job. These websites have many services you can use to showcase your qualifications, especially if you don’t have a college degree.

On both Indeed and LinkedIn, you can take assessments and aptitude tests and even upload samples or portfolios along with your resume as a way to tell the employer, “You should consider me for the position, and this is why.”

8. Learn Online Through Research and Webinars

Learning online through research and webinars is one of the best ways to learn about an industry. It’s convenient and affordable, and you can learn the material you want at your own pace.

Learning online through personal research and signing up for webinars will help you learn at your own pace as opposed to having to attend class twice a week for four years. You can also sign up for in-person classes or seminars if you prefer to learn face-to-face. Seminars and classes are offered across the globe in various fields of study.

Education is needed to develop skills, but education shouldn’t replace what experience can offer.

9. A College Degree Doesn’t Mean You Will Make More

There’s a common misconception that someone with a college degree will make more than someone who didn’t go to college. For two candidates applying for the same job, this may be true. But many jobs don’t require a college degree and can pay more starting out than a job that does.

For example, a commercial pilot has an average starting salary of around $100,000 per year and requires no college degree. A commercial pilot will need a Commercial Pilot Certificate, which is issued to pilots who have successfully completed the following:

250 hours of flight time
100 hours in powered aircraft
50 hours in airplanes
100 hours of pilot-in-command time
50 hours in airplanes
50 hours of time cross-country
10 hours in an airplane
20 hours of flight training,
10 hours of instrument training
10 hours of a complex or technically advanced airplane (TAA)
Familiarity with cross-country and practical test preparation
10 hours of solo training with familiarity with cross-country and night conditions

While a commercial pilot is one of the most high-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree, many jobs have reasonable starting annual salaries.

Take commercial truck drivers, for example. As we’ve seen lately, the supply and demand concept plays a huge factor in how much a job will pay, and commercial truck drivers are in more demand than ever.

The average starting salary of a commercial truck driver is around $60,000. This doesn’t include any sign-on bonuses or other benefits that come along with the position.

Looking at the starting salary of jobs that require a college degree, many pay significantly less than a commercial truck driver. A first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education will start out making, on average, $45,000 per year, which is why so many teachers pursue graduate degrees like a master’s, specialist, or doctorate. Both public and private school systems pay more to educators who continue their education beyond a four-year bachelor’s degree, but this just continues the vicious cycle of going to college and taking out hefty student loans to make more money in the long run.

What good does it do to make more money if you just use that money to repay substantial student loan payments?

10. You Can Achieve Your Dreams Without a Degree

Don’t let a college degree hold you back from following your dreams, especially if you have a dream of becoming an entrepreneur and being your own boss.

Many corporations and franchises require their business managers to have a four-year college degree in business. Many executives, CEOs, and shareholders want to protect their businesses by hiring a college graduate to manage them, and rightfully so. But being an employee, even as a business executive in a major corporation, can limit your roles, decision-making, and contributions you can make in that business, whereas being your own boss and owning your own company allows you to make decisions and have a hands-on approach to the direction you want to take your company. You can be as involved as you want when you’re the boss.

A college degree isn’t the golden ticket to making your dreams come true. While some professions require a college degree (surgeons, medical doctors, and psychologists) to perform their jobs legally and ethically, many jobs require the opposite. Instead of a piece of paper, many workers are successful because of the experience, skills, and expertise an employee brings to the table.

Preparation, hard work, and opportunities are needed to be successful. With these three components, you can be successful without a college degree.


We’re not saying that you shouldn’t go to college. After all, some jobs require them, as they should, and if you are working for taking one of those jobs, then you should do whatever it takes to receive your education to be qualified to take the job.

However, not all jobs require a college degree, and you don’t need a college degree to be successful. This is especially true if you’re in college with no direction or plan. Don’t spend four years paying for college for a degree that you may not need when you could be entering the workforce and making money now.