What to Do if College Isn’t for You

Choosing a career can be one of the most significant decisions in a person’s life. For many, the traditional path involves attending college. However, this path isn’t suited for everyone. Many people thrive outside the academic environment and prefer hands-on work or entrepreneurial ventures. This article seeks to give guidance on what to do if college isn’t for you. We will examine fields such as beauty schools, law enforcement, insurance agencies, demolition work, HVAC, commercial fishing, plumbing, moving services, driving, and auto repair. By the end, you will have an understanding of the wide array of career paths available, all of which can offer fulfilling and financially rewarding opportunities.

Beauty School

What to do if college isn’t for you? One of the popular alternatives is attending a hair school. Beauty school offers incredible opportunities for those passionate about cosmetology, hairdressing, and skincare. Students can acquire practical skills such as hair cutting, styling, coloring, and various beauty treatments through hands-on training programs. The beauty industry is ever-growing, with a consistent demand for skilled professionals; a diploma from a reputable hair school can open doors to numerous career paths in salons, spas, and even self-employment as a freelance stylist.

For individuals who find that college isn’t the right fit for them, attending beauty school can be a fantastic option. It allows them to quickly gain a set of marketable skills, often within a year or two, enabling them to enter the workforce swiftly. Moreover, beauty schools usually offer flexible schedules and affordable tuition rates, making it accessible for those from various backgrounds.

In addition to practical skills, students in beauty schools also learn about customer service, business management, and other aspects of running a beauty-related business. This comprehensive training can empower graduates to pursue entrepreneurship or climb the ranks within established beauty chains. Overall, beauty school is a viable and lucrative alternative to traditional college education.



A career in law enforcement is another excellent alternative for individuals who might not see college as the best path for them. Becoming a police officer is an admirable profession and provides opportunities to serve and protect communities. The job involves various duties, such as patrolling neighborhoods, investigating crimes, and working in specialized units like narcotics or SWAT teams.

To get started in a law enforcement job, candidates typically need a high school diploma or GED, followed by completion of a police academy training program. The training includes physical fitness, defensive tactics, and legal education. This option enables individuals to start a meaningful career without the necessity of a college degree, and there is ample room for advancement within the force.

Aside from the personal fulfillment that comes from serving the community, a law enforcement job offers stability, good benefits, and a reliable source of income. For those who wonder what to do if college isn’t for you, a career in policing can provide a sense of purpose and direction while contributing positively to society.

Insurance Agencies

If you ask what to do if college isn’t for you, or even high school, another viable career option that doesn’t necessarily require any education outside of certification is working within a local auto insurance company. The insurance industry offers many roles, from sales agents to claims adjusters and customer service representatives. These positions often focus on customer interaction, policy management, and claims processing, providing various opportunities depending on one’s interests and strengths.

Many local auto insurance companies are eager to train motivated individuals, equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in their roles. Strong communication skills, a knack for problem-solving, and an entrepreneurial mindset are the credentials critical for success in this field.

For those who do not see college as the right choice, entering the insurance sector can be a promising alternative. It provides stability, advancement opportunities, and the chance to work in a fast-paced, people-centered environment. The role of insurance professionals is also crucial in safeguarding individuals’ and businesses’ assets, making it a highly rewarding career choice for many.

Demolition Work

Demolition Work

Demolition work offers another rewarding path for those who might not pursue a traditional college education. Industrial demolition companies are involved in tearing down buildings, clearing sites, and making way for new constructions. This trade requires physical strength, precision, and knowledge of safety protocols. Entry-level positions in this field often require minimal educational prerequisites, emphasizing on-the-job training and experience instead.

Working with industrial demolition companies can provide a sense of accomplishment, as individuals contribute to significant developmental projects. Additionally, the demolition industry often pays well, and there are ample opportunities for overtime, which can significantly boost income.

What to do if college isn’t for you? Breaking things can be a great release for anyone. It follows that a career in demolition work can be highly satisfying. It allows for practical, hands-on work and offers a sense of tangible progress with each project completed. The demand for skilled demolition workers is steadily high, ensuring a steady stream of job opportunities in various locations.

Heating and Air

The HVAC industry, which includes areas such as commercial HVAC contractor roles, is another thriving field that does not necessitate a college degree. HVAC professionals are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. These systems are essential for residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, creating a constant demand for skilled technicians.

To become an HVAC technician, individuals typically undergo vocational training or apprenticeship programs that provide the necessary technical knowledge and hands-on experience. These programs can often be completed within a couple of years, making it a quick turnaround compared to a four-year college degree.

For those who decide that college isn’t their preferred route, pursuing a career as a commercial HVAC contractor can be a lucrative and stable choice. The industry offers competitive wages, opportunities for advancement, and the satisfaction of ensuring people live and work in comfortable environments. It’s a good place to start when considering what to do if college isn’t for you.

Commercial Fishing

Commercial Fishing

If you like game and don’t know what to do if college isn’t for you, commercial fishing presents an adventurous and rewarding career for those who may not find the traditional path appealing. Operating a fishing charter business or working aboard commercial fishing vessels allows individuals to spend their days on the water, engaging in physical work and enjoying the natural environment. The fishing industry provides various roles, from deckhands to captains, each contributing to the successful operation of fishing expeditions.

While commercial fishing can be physically demanding and sometimes risky, it also offers unique benefits. The camaraderie among crew members, the potential for high earnings during lucrative seasons, and the thrill of the catch make it an appealing career for many. Additionally, the fishing industry plays a vital role in providing food and resources, adding a layer of significance to the work.

For individuals for whom college is not a suitable option, entering the commercial fishing industry can provide both financial stability and a fulfilling lifestyle. With the right skills, commitment, and a love of the sea, a career in a fishing charter business or commercial fishing vessel can be highly rewarding.


Plumbing is another essential trade that offers a viable career path without the need for a college degree. Plumbing companies provide critical services, including the installation, maintenance, and repair of water and sewage systems. Plumbers are in high demand, as their expertise is required in residential, commercial, and industrial settings.

To become a certified plumber, individuals typically enter apprenticeship programs, which combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction. This education method allows trainees to earn while they learn, making it a financially sound alternative to attending college. Upon completing an apprenticeship, plumbers can obtain licenses and certifications that enable them to work independently or as part of established plumbing companies.

When you ask yourself what to do if college isn’t for you, you could do much worse than a career as a plumber. This path offers stability, competitive wages, and job security. Plumbing work is varied and can include new installations, repairs, and emergency services. Additionally, the inherent need for this trade ensures that skilled plumbers will always be in demand, providing long-term career prospects.

Furniture Movers

Moving businesses provide another career avenue that does not require a college degree. Furniture movers are responsible for helping individuals and companies relocate their possessions safely and efficiently. This industry involves various roles, from packing and loading to logistics and driving, all contributing to successful relocations.

Working for moving businesses offers a hands-on, physically active job that is ideal for those who thrive in dynamic environments. It requires strength, coordination, and attention to detail, as movers handle a wide range of items, from everyday household goods to valuable and fragile objects.

For individuals who find that college isn’t the right fit, joining a moving business can provide stable employment and the opportunity to develop skills in logistics, customer service, and teamwork. The nature of the industry also ensures that there will always be a demand for reliable and efficient movers.


Becoming a professional driver, such as working with corporate transport services, offers another alternative for those who may not pursue higher education. Drivers are essential in various industries, providing transportation services for goods and people. Roles can include truck driving, rideshare services, delivery drivers, and chauffeur positions.

To enter this field, individuals typically need a valid driver’s license and, for certain positions, specialized training or certifications. For example, truck drivers often require a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). The training can usually be completed within a few months, allowing individuals to start earning relatively quickly.

For those who decide that college isn’t their preferred path, a career in driving offers flexibility, independence, and the opportunity to travel. Working with corporate transport services or other driving roles can provide a steady income and the chance to explore different places while on the job. The benefits of this career ensure consistent demand for skilled drivers, making it a viable long-term option.

Auto Repair

Auto Repair

A career in auto repair, such as working for a truck repair shop, provides another excellent alternative to traditional college education. Auto technicians and mechanics are responsible for diagnosing, repairing, and maintaining vehicles, ensuring they operate safely and efficiently. This field offers a hands-on, problem-solving environment that is ideal for those with a passion for cars and mechanical systems.

Individuals can enter the auto repair industry through vocational training programs, apprenticeships, or on-the-job training. All of these are wonderful alternatives when investigating what to do if college isn’t for you. These pathways allow aspiring mechanics to gain practical experience while learning from seasoned professionals. Additionally, certifications from organizations like the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) can enhance career prospects and credibility.

For those who find that college isn’t the right choice, a career in auto repair offers stability, good wages, and job satisfaction. Working in a truck repair shop or similar environment provides the opportunity to develop specialized skills, stay current with automotive technology, and contribute to the safety and reliability of vehicles on the road.

Exploring alternatives to traditional college education reveals a wealth of rewarding and fulfilling career opportunities. Fields such as beauty schools, law enforcement, insurance, demolition, HVAC, commercial fishing, plumbing, moving services, driving, and auto repair offer various paths that do not necessarily require a college degree. Each of these professions provides the chance to develop valuable skills, enjoy job stability, and achieve financial independence.

In conclusion, the decision to seek a career outside of the conventional college route can lead to numerous and diverse opportunities. Whether through beauty school, law enforcement jobs, local auto insurance companies, industrial demolition work, commercial HVAC contracting, fishing charter businesses, plumbing companies, moving businesses, corporate transport services, or truck repair shops, individuals can find the right path for their skills and aspirations. The key is to explore these alternatives, gain the necessary training, and embrace the advantages they offer for long-term success and satisfaction. We hope this article helped to form your decision on what to do if college isn’t for you.