12 Alternatives to College that Make You Money Today

by Ken Savage
three men laughing while looking in the laptop inside room

Many people (including parents) automatically assume that attending college and graduating are the only ways to find a high paying job.

Here’s a little known fact that they don’t know about: high school graduates can continue to learn, earn money and work in a career field they love.

Just like going to college, finding a high paying job depends on the love a particular career interest. For example, you may love drama and playing different fictional characters. Thus, you may decide to become an actor. Acting requires no formal education, just talent and hard work.

Talent is the prerequisite for many of the 12 alternatives to college that make you money.

These career suggestions are in no particular order even though they are ranked from one to 12. Remember, they are ideas to motivate you to think about your interests and career goals. Thus, these 12 careers are a short list.

  1. Fashion Designer - Yes, becoming a fashion designer doesn’t require a college education. Yes, some designers do go to college. However, employers require: Creativity, Good understanding of the clothing production process, Use of computer-aided design (CAD) technology, Portfolio (a collection of your designs that show off your fashion designing abilities and styles) Those things you can acquire without going to college. The first step is to gain beginning experience in the fashion design industry either through an internship or working as an assistant designer. Many fashion designers work their way up the career ladder by becoming a chief designer, creative director or starting their own design company.
  2. Politician -Do you love debating politics? Are you interested in changing the world—or at least your community—for the better? A career as a politician may be in your future. Becoming a politician doesn’t require a college degree. You do have to abide by your community, state or federal guideline requirements. Also, you must have solutions to problems facing the district you’re running in and be a good speaker and negotiator. Many politicians start by volunteering at non-profit organizations. Often, they also volunteer on political campaigns to meet politicians and understand the process.
  3. Police Officer - If you love criminal justice and catching the bad guys, you may love a career as a police officer or detective. Education requirements typically include a high school diploma. The most important requirement is graduating from the agency’s training academy. After that, you move onto the on-the-job training period. Although police department requirements may vary, you typically must be: • 21 years old or older • Great mental, personal and physical health Regardless of the police department you choose to work for, you’ll definitely catch the bad guys.
  4. Writer - Becoming a journalist requires a degree. However, you can still become a writer. Whether you want to self-publish an e-book about traveling or ghostwrite articles for a client, you can do it without a degree. One requirement is research and knowing how to write. Many writers who aren’t proficient in grammar choose to higher or even barter with an editor. For example, you would write copy for an editor in exchange for him proofreading your work. How much money you make depends on your assignments and how much you work.
  5. Entrepreneur - Are you a risk taker? Do you like making the decisions? Do you have the drive and determination to get things done? Are you willing to fail—at least once? This may be your career field. An entrepreneur is someone who, either as a sole proprietor or with a business partner, starts a company. Whether you have a new idea or want to start a franchise, you’re more concerned about the company’s long-term success than immediate profit. If you’re interested, you may want to start attending local meetings offered by business associations. This way you can meet people and learn the entrepreneurship ropes.
  6. Artist - Becoming an artist incorporates a little entrepreneurship because you’re responsible for not only making your crafts, but selling them too. This career option is diverse because you can work as a painter, illustrator or sculptor. For example, you can make pottery or glassware. You can sell your items online or via a local retailer. The great thing about this job is that you’re doing something you love.
  7. Self-Enrichment Teacher - As a self-enrichment teacher, you are an instructor who teaches self-improvement or fun classes like music, drawing, knitting or foreign language. Your class doesn’t lead to a certification or degree for your students. Typically, you teach at community centers, schools or religious organizations. There is no formal college training to be a self-enrichment teacher. You need to have an expertise. For instance, you love sewing, you may teach a sewing class.
  8. Jeweler - A jeweler, sometimes also referred to as precious stone and metal workers, complete a combination of tasks ranging from designing jewelry to repairing and appraising gems. This career doesn’t require a college degree because you learn skills through a combination of apprenticeships and on-the-job training at jewelry manufacturing plants. The apprenticeship usually lasts for about a year.
  9. Photographer - Photographer is paid to visually record an event or tell a story. This is different from a photojournalist who has a degree and covers news stories. As a photographer, you’re hired to take pictures at a wedding, photo shoot or portrait in your studio. You can take classes at a vocational school to increase your photographic knowledge. Like a career in fashion design, you need a portfolio of your work to gain clients.
  10. Public Address Announcers - A public announcer works during entertainment and sporting events. For example, you instruct the audience on when to stand for the National Anthem or announce players as they enter the field of play. For other announcing gigs like radio or television announcer you need a college degree. However, to work as a public address announcer, you only need a high school diploma and on-the-job training. The training generally includes becoming familiar with the announcing equipment.
  11. Blogger - A blogger is different from a writer. You are writing about your experience. For instance, you can write about your travels or different jobs. Many people have made a career out of blogging whether they are giving the scoop on a celebrity or offering advice about how to complete a task.
  12. Product Promoter/ Demonstrator - Let’s wrap up the not sure about college 12 Alternatives to college that make you money today talk with a sales position. Do you love talking to people? Do you love sharing your knowledge about a product like cosmetics, food or computers? Are you interested in traveling? Working as a product promoter, also called a demonstrator, allows you to do all those things. You may travel to a product show or local store and to hand out materials and tell an audience about the product.

To have fun working in a career doesn’t always require a college degree. It does require doing something you love. Remember, a job is something you do for the money.

A career is something you do for the love and the money.

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