5 Careers for College Dropouts and Non-College Graduates

Careers for College Dropouts and Non-College Graduates

This may come as a hard pill for some people to swallow and some people will reject this outright, but the truth remains; college is not for everyone. Some people can’t go to college and some others won’t go to college. I am placing emphasis on the “can’t” and “won’t” because there are a lot of factors that contribute to an individual not going to college. For example, not everyone can afford the cost of going to college.

But then again, there are people that actually go to college and end up not finishing their studies, either because they simply couldn’t continue or because they suddenly discovered that they were in the wrong path. The latter set of people are the individuals we call college dropouts. And while there used to be a whole lot of negativity surrounding the ‘college dropout’ label, certain great minds like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and a whole lot of other billionaires have made it look attractive as they pride themselves on being ‘college dropouts’. So yes, you no longer have to go to college to be rich and successful, as a college degree has been proven to be less of criteria and more of an option for achieving financial success.

There are a lot of career opportunities out there for college dropouts with a pay package that can rival most professional jobs out there and sometimes even surpass them. I have taken special care to select five career paths for you with special considerations to their relevance and market value in today’s world. So without wasting more time, let’s explore these opportunities.

1. Developer (Web, Software)

Recently, international tech giants like Google and Facebook stopped using the graduate degree as a requirement for the employment of their staff. That is, you can practically be a full-time employee of these companies without necessarily having a degree; all you need is the skill. Look, there are a number of skills that you can learn outside the four walls of college institutions and being a developer is one of them. Developers are professionals that build websites, apps and software. The evolution of how things are done via the internet and technology in general has left a never ending demand for developers. The amazing thing about this career path is that most jobs out there are remote jobs. That is, you can work for a company down India while you are somewhere in Senegal. You can also be employed by more than one company.

The average salary for developers is around $140,000 per annum.

2. Real Estate Broker

The real estate sector is one of the few sectors that hardly gets affected by financial crisis, hence it is constantly in need of agents and brokers. Being a broker does not require a degree, all you have to do is get licenses that will enable you operate in your region. These licenses will enable you purchase and rent properties on behalf of your clients. While this career path has more to do with having your own business, you can work for a real estate broker firm and still be on top of your game. One of the main reasons why being a real estate broker does not necessarily need a college degree is because it has a lot to do with your ability to get people to buy or rent a property. So if you have passion for real estate and you have persuasive skills, being a real estate broker might just be for you.

The average salary for real estate brokers is $68,786 per annum.

3. Writer/Author

A lot of people think that being a writer is not a career path but like it or not, it is. The career of a writer or author is one of the more lucrative careers in this current century. You can either choose to write your own book and make money, or write for others and make money. For the sake of clarity, and for the sole reason that being a successful author takes a lot of time and dedication, I will be dwelling more on being a writer. The internet revolution has left it with a lot of websites, apps and software that need written contents for consumers. As far as the internet continues to exist, there will be demand for these contents; hence there will always be a demand for writers. As a writer, there are a lot of options to choose from; content development, email marketing, sales copy, educational scripts, film scripts, and fictional writing, etc. most writing jobs these days are remote jobs. Although there is no data supporting the average salary for this career path; as a writer, you can earn at least $30 per hour.

That is a whopping $262,800 per annum.

On being an author, publishing houses do not ask for degree qualification before they accept your work – unless of course, you are writing an academic paper. E-commerce sites like Amazon have made publishing even easier as you can publish your book from the comfort of your house and make your money.

4. Sommelier

Most career names usually give clues towards the general concept of the career. Not so in this case. This particular name is one that most people hardly get. A sommelier is someone that tastes wines. Yes! you can absolutely turn your passion and knowledge of wines into a flourishing career. As a Sommelier, you can work in luxury hotels, restaurants and even big wine industries. You can also be a wine cellar consultant; helping your customers pick the perfect wine to complement their taste. As you already know, tasting of wines is not something that is taught in colleges, so you don’t need a college degree to pursue this career. But you do need to take official courses in the profession and obtain certification to increase your chances of landing the perfect job for you. The courses aren’t like the ones that are offered in colleges and according to, the average salary of Sommeliers to be $54,000 per annum.

5. Graphic Designer

The job description for graphic designers is very broad. It ranges from being just basic designers to being brand developers, down to UI/UX curators. Just like Developers, most job specifications for graphic designers do not include having a degree certificate as it has more to do with your skills. With a career in graphic designing, you can choose the tier of the industry that you want to work in. Some designers choose to work within their locality, designing graphics for businesses and helping them in branding. There are others that either choose to work for a particular company or work as freelancers. Whichever is your choice, you stand to make a lot of money from it. However, most successful graphic designers are those that are working in companies. There is no available data to determine the average salary of graphic designers in general, but websites like and has an average billing of $30 per hour.

This puts graphic designers in the same range as Writers.

In conclusion, I would like to add one other career path that most would not really consider to be a real career; having your own company. If the so called college dropout billionaires that we have today didn’t start their companies, I am sure that you wouldn’t be reading this today and their creations wouldn’t be in existence. There are a lot of other career paths that you can pursue and I am certain that as time goes by, most of the jobs that require college degrees will no longer be as it is today. Being a college dropout does not and shouldn’t be equaled to being unsuccessful and having a college degree shouldn’t be equated to success either. Remember, regardless of the situation you are in, whether you are a dropout, planning to drop out or even planning on not attending college at all, the world we live in today is focused more on skill than degrees. Learn a skill today.