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10 interesting stories of passionate women who found a great career despite having no college degree

Explore inspiring journeys of women thriving sans degrees, showcasing a paradigm shift in the workplace.

10 interesting stories of passionate women who found a great career despite having no college degree
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Cottonbro Studio

You don't always need a college degree

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Gül Işık
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Gül Işık

Many individuals grow up with the impression that a college degree is essential for a successful career but this need not be the case in today's dynamic professional landscape, a college degree is not an absolute requirement for a fulfilling career, especially for women. Most jobs now emphasize skillsets rather than qualifications. Skills like proper communication and adaptability are some of the basic skills most industries want from job candidates. Even if one is worried that they won't meet the minimum qualifications for a job, they can utilize networking to get a chance and prove that they are the right for the job. u/hdbaker009 posed a question on Reddit to women who had no college degree about what they did for a living.

1. Working for Costco 

Representative Image Source: Getty Images | Scott Olson
Representative Image Source: Getty Images | Scott Olson

 

Costco, just shy of 18 years, pays $29 an hr, Sundays are time and a half, decent benefits, great 401k and company matches. Also company stock buying options. Bonuses every 6 months are prorated based on hours worked. I get around 4,750 every 6 months, and yeah, the average take home annually is around 65k, I believe. Been out for medical leave so not taking as much as I wanted or could have signed for bonus time. But got to fix it myself. - u/evendree72

2. Editor at a big animation studio 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kyle Loftus
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kyle Loftus

 

I'm a producer at a big animation studio. I dropped out of my business major because I failed calculus while reading fanfiction during class. Later I went to a convention and met a producer who was trying to film a documentary on the convention. He said they were looking for an editor. I knew my way around Premiere and After Effects from making anime music videos set to Linkin Park, so I applied and got the job. Some of the people producing the documentary were famous actors, and they ended up really liking my work. That was ten years ago. There are a few leaps here, but almost all of them are based on luck and running into the right people at the right time. I don't think a lot of people can follow my trajectory. - u/SwanSongSonata

3. Designing fictional characters for games and movies

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Abby Chung
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Abby Chung

 

I'm a character concept artist, so I design fictional characters for games/movies/tv. I took out a loan and worked for free for 9 months when I was 18. I got work at some pretty major production studios that way. By 21, I was working for Microsoft. I gave up the big corporations 5 years ago and now only freelance, but I still make a lot of money and have a relaxed work/life balance. The arts industry is one I still strongly believe you don't need a formal education to work in successfully. - u/ratatutie

4. Owning a gym

Representative Image Source: Pexels | William Choquette
Representative Image Source: Pexels | William Choquette

 

I own a gym with 16 employees. Never went to college. I love my job and it treats my employees really well. I did it by saving money over 8 years to have credit and savings for a business loan. Invested every penny I had into the business and now it’s a cash flow positive and I go to work every day doing my dream job. Work hard. You don’t need a fancy degree to be successful. Even to this day, I put in 60 hours a week or more to run my facility. When I was trying to save money I was working overtime every week for two years and didn’t have much of a social life to save money. Two years of sacrifice to have a lifetime of freedom. - u/Archon-immortal

5. Open-source Intel 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Lucas
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Lucas

 

I do open-source Intel! Very, very fun career path where you spend your time exploiting the internet for information. And the more internet focused we become, the more work there is. But had to clawwwww my way here due to having no degree. A lot more proving I'm not a complete nonce to people. And get a lot of doubt as to my ability versus someone with a degree, which quickly goes away once I show people what I can do. Would recommend it to anyone interested! - u/flucking_brilliant

6. Caring for pets as a barn animal assistant

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Blue Bird
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Blue Bird

 

I work as a barn animal assistant at a nature preschool and care for all and only the animals. Dropped out of art school twice because I realized I don't need a silly degree to be an artist. Plus, I learned I love manual labor and forcing myself to create art for others every day would burn me out/take the passion away from art (creativity comes in waves for me), so I will continue working with animals & do art in my free time. - u/asianstyleicecream

7. Employed as a tattoo artist

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Adiran Boustead
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Adiran Boustead

 

Tattoo artist. Bailed on college after 6 months, and looked for an apprenticeship in the studio, managed to find one, then did an unpaid apprenticeship for a few years until I had enough experience and knowledge to become a junior artist and then made my way up to the full-time artist. The apprenticeship was hard and I got treated like trash for years even after I was an artist, but now I am self-employed and answer to no one except my customers. - u/acheron4711

8. Systems Control Room Specialist in the mail industry 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kindel Media
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kindel Media

I work in the mail industry in a professional role (Systems Control Room Specialist) and I got here after being hired as a manager and transferred internally. I make 67.2k/year with an RRSP and DPSP with a 4% employer match, amazing health benefits, and stock options. I work 27 hours a week, but it's salaried. I got here through getting experience in the distribution industry, progressively obtaining higher positions over many years, plus professional certifications such as Lean and Six Sigma, CompTIA, Microsoft Excel, and more. - u/birdlass

9. Assisting local search and rescue groups

Representative Image Source: Getty Images | Joe Raedle
Representative Image Source: Getty Images | Joe Raedle

 

I work for a not-for-profit Search and Rescue organization in my country. Pretty sweet gig, I travel around my region meeting with and assisting all the local search and rescue groups. Anywhere from organizing group training, helping with fundraising, helping on the online portals, etc. Work from home, have an untaxed working allowance and have full use of my company truck. On about 86k salary. It's busy and hard work but so rewarding and I love it. I've joined my local search and rescue group as well, so any time on search operations or training, I get to mark it as work time. - u/purplescrunchie9

10. Working as a wedding photographer 

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Rene Asmussen
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Rene Asmussen

 

I became a wedding photographer after flopping my photography degree due to my mental health at the time. It’s not the artistic vision I had, but I absolutely love the freedom it gives me and I get to work all over the world (just got back from photographing in Portugal yesterday, the month before I was in Greece!) and take breaks when I need them. Ironically I’m the only person from my course to be working in the field of photography 4 years on, with the exception of one other who got a job assisting another photographer. u/wolvesdrinktea

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