Explore Careers That Don’t Require College

College is a wonderful next-step for many high school grads, homeschooled or otherwise. But what about also exploring careers that DON’T require a college degree?

Explore Careers That Don't Require College. Non-college bound teens can find success in many careers. Here are some ideas to explore with teens who don't want to go to college.

Explore Careers That Don’t Require College

I (Sabrina) am the child of a university classics professor. My first full-time job was in an office on that same campus. Then my stepson just finished his dental residency after many years of hard work on his undergraduate and professional school degrees.

My stepdaughter has earned her RN after completing a two-year Associates Degree nursing program. I have a daughter who is about to begin her final semester of student teaching so that she will graduate with her BA in Elementary Education and Deaf Studies. Then my son finished high school homeschool a year earlier than we originally planned because he is so motivated to get started on his college classes this fall.

I am a HUGE FAN of college for young adults who should go to college.

But I am also a college drop-out myself. I’m married to a college drop-out who works in industrial chemistry as a lab technician and has done very well providing for all of us with a career he truly finds deeply rewarding. I have a stepson and a son who work full-time in different applications of the banking industry, and neither of them earned a college degree. I have a son who is in trade school studying HVAC.

There’s not ONE right career path! Let’s explore careers that don’t require college.

What can be learned from all of this, besides the obvious fact that I have a large family?
There are many solid careers that don’t require college!
Exploring these career options while your teen is still in high school may save a lot of money and stress that can be wasted on a poorly-chosen college enrollment.

Not long ago, iHomeschool Network hosted a hangout, and you can see the video of it, “College Alternatives for Homeschoolers” on their YouTube channel. It was full of insightful discussion, and their special guest was T.K.Coleman from discoverpraxis.com. This was my first look at Praxis, and while I have no personal experience with them, I was very impressed with their vision and with T.K.’s helpful participation in the hangout. (Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. I have no connection to Praxis or T.K. Coleman. I am simply passing along a resource some homeschoolers may find interesting.)

Begin to explore careers that don’t require college with this list

Here are some careers that provide a true living-wage and do not typically require college education. (Trade school is helpful in some of these fields.) This is by no means a comprehensive list! Can you add to it and help us all have more options to explore careers that don’t require college?

Early Childhood education

  • Dental Assistant
  • Early childhood teacher/daycare teacher
  • Paralegal
  • Heating/Cooling
  • Web Developer
  • Medical Transcription
  • Surveyor
  • Industrial Machine Repair
  • Wholesale Sales Rep
  • Electrical Technician
  • Construction Equipment Operator
  • Sewage Plant Operator
  • Cosmetologist/Hair Designer
  • Receptionist
  • Heavy Trucks Driver
  • Carpenter
  • Bookkeeper
  • Virtual Assistant

Click here to learn about some high-paying blue collar jobs.

Homeschool high school is the perfect educational choice for teens who don’t want to go to college. They can make their academics work for them with reasonable levels of rigor while concentrating on shadowing, apprenticing or developing working skills in part-time jobs. Here’s a post on how to capture these career exploration experiences on the homeschool transcript.

Can Your Teens Count Their Jobs as Career Exploration in Homeschool High School? 7SistersHomeschool.com
Click image to read post.

Want some inspiration? Listen to this episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast where we interview our friend, Angela O’Shaughnessy. Her two sons are homeschool graduates and are enjoying their careers in the trades.

Did you know that 7Sisters curriculum is written at an average reading level so that most teens can read and enjoy the learning experience? One of our most popular text for non-college-bound teens is Human Development. It teaches the ways people grow and change from womb to old age (great life preparation for anyone with siblings, aging grandparents, or are going to get married and have kids someday).

Human Development

Here’s a short video about options after high school – for kids of ALL types!



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Sabrina Justison

20+ year homeschool mom and curriculum developer for 7SistersHomeschool.com. Fred's wife. Writing, drama, music, blogs, kids, shoes, coffee, & books in varying orders on various days. He is God, He is good & He loves me.

23 Replies to “Explore Careers That Don’t Require College”

  1. Tiny home building which is offered at our local college and offers electrical, plumbing, carpentry, and home framing is available in many places.

  2. Great choices! How about licensed plumber? I know several who didn’t need a college degree for this. They just need to take certain trade classes and pass exams to get the license.

    ~ Lyn at Heart ‘N Mind Homeschool

  3. My oldest just graduated and doesn’t want to go to college after all. Appreciate articles like this. She expressed an interest in carpentry, any ideas how she could pursue a trade in this area?

    • My son graduated last year and is now an apprentice with a custom home builder, so he is in framing construction. Is there someone you know who does carpentry? Ask around. Thankfully, the gentleman who has taken our son under his wing goes to our church.

  4. These are my favorite types of posts! Neither my husband nor I finished college. He got training in repairing and selling vacuum cleaners and started his own business. We closed the doors on our retail store over 13 years ago and he started his company back up, not as a retail store, but he does service calls installing and repairing central vacuums.
    When that got slow, he trained himself in handy man work.
    We now do very well and have highly encouraged our children to do what they truly want to and train in that (if it involves getting a college degree, so be it. But that isn’t what we stress).
    Our oldest daughter went to cosmetology school because she KNEW that college wasn’t for her.

    • Isn’t it wonderful, Kela, to have the freedom to pursue interests and gifts? You and your husband are good parents to encourage your children in careers that are best for them!

  5. Mike Rowe from the show Dirty Jobs has a foundation that helps train kids (and adults) for trades and trade schools. He constantly challenges the idea that everyone needs a college degree to be successful. I follow him on Facebook and his website once in a while. His site is mikerowe.com. This is an area we are definitely looking at because I am pretty sure neither of my sons are college bound. I will also get the Career Exploration book so we can start using it this fall! Thank you!

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