Indonesia Expat
Education Observations

A College Degree May Not be the Key to Your Dream Profession After All

Depressed graduate student with a diploma sitting on the floor and leaning against a wall isolated on white background

For some professions like those in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths), college is a requirement.

But for other professions, it may be a waste of time and money. For some individuals, college isn’t necessarily a step they have to go through for their career choice.

Below are four alternatives that could lead you to a lifetime career and several can act as a transition period that might be worth exploring.

  1. Start a Business

With the growth of social media and almost everything becoming digitalised, growing a business is easier than ever. Self-employment has become more attainable and the rate of success is high, especially if you engage famous influencers to promote and endorse your product. Being self-employed means that your working time is more flexible and you can control what goes on in the business and the quality of your product, etc. In fact, some of the most successful people started out being self-employed without a college degree, including Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Henry Ford, and Steve Jobs.

  1. Trade School

Trade schools offer specific courses for a variety of careers. Generally, you’ll only spend a year or two in trade school to learn the skills of the career that you are keen on. For example, if you are interested in beauty and aesthetics, there are trade schools that offer a certification that will enable you to be employed by companies in the beauty industry.

The reality is that many people who work in labour are paid well compared to college graduates. The average salary of someone who went to college is US$45,000 per annum while those who graduate from trade school have a salary of US$42,000 in the USA. There is not much difference in terms of salary in that sense. Trade schools also guarantee a job once the student graduates, unlike those in college who find it hard to get a job. Some specific career options for trade schools are construction, welding, painting, photography, masonry, and woodworking.

  1. Volunteer

Volunteering for a few years isn’t only good for giving back to the community, but it also helps to develop your character. Through volunteering, you might discover what you’re really passionate about in your life and might realise what you really want to do in the future. There’s no better time than after high school to do some volunteer work, rather than when you are older and other factors, like work, loans, and life responsibilities pile up. Some options for volunteer work are “The Peace Corps” and the “Conservation Corps”. There are, in fact, many non-profit organisations that you can extend a volunteering hand to. Simply drop them an email to ask for further details.

  1. Join the Military

There are around 100,000 18-19-year olds who join the US military right after high school. Other than serving and protecting your country, joining the military has many benefits, including but not limited to:

  • A salary that is close to what college graduates earn (US$30,000-45,000)
  • Free health care for you and your family
  • Little-to-no living costs, meaning you can save money faster
  • Tuition is paid while in service

With all of these options in mind, it is important to remember that all these choices should be yours and yours alone. Don’t let peer, family, and societal pressure interfere with your life decisions. The implication will definitely impact your life.

By Jennifer Lynn Snare (SNA Media Club)

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