10 Alternative Routes to Help You Achieve Specific Professions

Ginger Abbot

May 9, 2023
Alternative routes to help you achieve specific professions can be found at home, like in this image of a woman with red hair scrolling the internet from her desktop computer.

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College isn’t the right decision for everyone. Some people need help with school and would rather minimize their time spent listening to lectures. Still, many jobs may require that you have some learning experience. You can’t enter just any career without college, but some can benefit from alternative routes to help you achieve specific professions in their career journeys. Here are just a few ways you can potentially reach an occupation without a college degree.

1. Add New Skills to Your Resume

You may never know which skills could get you noticed by the profession of your dreams, so you must hone all of them and mention the most relevant ones on your resume. Choosing your skills carefully can make you appear to be the best candidate for the job, even if you don’t have the same experience as some of your competitors. 

Soft skills are non-quantifiable — you can’t back them up with anything, but they’re nice for your potential employer to know when they evaluate how you would fit in with the company culture. Most people know soft skills to be unteachable: You learn them for yourself based on experiences, and they can help you succeed in every field.

Some examples of soft skills to include on your resume are:

  • Leadership
  • Dependability
  • Critical Thinking

Hard skills are one of the best ways to stand out from a crowd. Unlike soft skills, these skills require some learning, and you can prove them anytime. These skills work great when trying to break into a specific field. You can always tailor your hard skills to a specific resume if you plan to apply to multiple jobs in different areas.

Some specific and relevant examples of hard skills to include on your resume are:

  • SEO Marketing
  • Bilingual/Multilingual (including the languages you speak)
  • Programming Languages (including what you’re proficient in and for how many years)

By brushing up on the skills you need for success, you can build your resume specifically for the job you aim to get. Ensure you only include skills you can back up — you don’t want a company to hire you, only to find out that you don’t know half the things you said you did on your resume. Work to continually improve yourself, and you’ll find an opportunity where your skills can come in handy.

2. Get Field Experience

If you’re privileged enough to have the opportunity to get some experience in the field, take up whatever job you can. By working in the field directly, you may be able to gain experience that other people will learn in college. Experience is one of the greatest alternative routes to help you achieve specific professions, as working directly in the field can show you the ropes in a hands-on way. You may learn something similar in a classroom, so the hands-on experience could be just as good, depending on the field.

3. Volunteer

If you can’t get a job in your field right away, volunteer instead. Volunteering your free time to give back to your community, even in a small way, can help you feel like you made a difference and gain the experience you may need to help you climb the ladder. Companies will be more likely to hire someone who volunteered with them rather than hiring outside the company for a full-time position. You may get to work your way into your dream job just by showing up and volunteering.

Of course, you may not see accomplishments overnight. Volunteering takes dedication, and you should always give it your all, as your potential employer may be watching your work ethic and determining if you would be a good employee. Take any opportunity you can. You can always advance your job prospects while working within the company of your dreams.

4. Publish Your Work

Some creative fields place credibility on publishing. The experience of publishing your creative work can make you look more credible for certain jobs. Since you went through the process of submitting and publishing your work, people may see you as credible enough to teach a class or explain the process to others. Whatever your aspiration in the creative realm, publishing may help you achieve your goals for the future in the workplace of your dreams.

5. Get Certified

Before you spend countless dollars on expensive online boot camps, you should consider whether certifications would serve you better. Certifications can show that you have expertise in a certain field, enough to pass a test and put your skills into play. Certification can be good for a lifetime or may need you to renew it after a few years pass.

To find the proper certification for your desired field, you must look at what the professionals in that sphere focus on. That information will tell you what certifications are worth your time and which ones can lead you to a higher salary. Certifications can force you to feel confident in the things you know because you have something to show for it.

6. Study for a License

If certifications aren’t your speed, consider looking at licenses. You may just find your dream job by getting a license. Your license tells everyone that you worked to break into this field and learn all you could about it so you can try to be the best you can be. You might be surprised at some careers that don’t require college but instead need a license.

Careers that use licenses instead of a college degree are the following:

  • Hairstylist
  • Bus Driver
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Funeral Director
  • Substitute Teacher — but only in Colorado and a few other states!

Licenses can transform your life if you find your dream career in a certain field. Of course, you’ll likely have to take some classes to study for the licensure. However, you will go through fewer hours of learning than if you went through a college program. Going to school for these occupations can bolster your knowledge in the field, but they’re not necessary.

7. Find a Mentor

One of the best ways to support your alternative routes to help you achieve specific professions is to seek out someone who is already a professional. Find someone in your community or a trusted professional online to become your mentor. They walked through the same path years ago, so they should be able to guide you as you navigate your way to your desired destination.

Having a mentor will also keep you focused on your career advancement. Because mentors keep you accountable by introducing you to new people or pushing you toward your goals, you won’t have the opportunity to think of much else. A new door opens when you have a mentor. You’ll meet people who can help you achieve your goals. You’ll receive bonafide advice from someone who once was where you are now. In the end, all you’ll have to do is pay it forward and take on a mentee of your own.

8. Network at Events

If you don’t attend networking events, you are doing yourself a disservice. Networking allows you to get to know people in the field you want to be in. You can ask professionals for their advice on getting into an industry without college. They may even set you up with a job opportunity you wouldn’t have received otherwise. Always look for someone who can point you in the right direction. People may be more helpful than you think.

Follow Alternative Routes to Help You Achieve Specific Professions

You don’t always need to go to college to achieve the career of your dreams. With how difficult student loans can be for some people to manage, looking elsewhere before applying or returning to college can be a crucial step in your goal-achieving process. Through alternative routes to help you achieve specific professions, you may not need to go back to college, and you could seriously limit your time in a classroom. All it takes is a little research and dedication.

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