Graduates celebrate by throwing their caps in the air.

High school graduation on the horizon, and clueless about your next move? Or have you been grinding for years and are desperate to escape your dead-end job? College may seem like the obvious choice, but before you commit, let’s get real about whether it’s worth your precious time and hard-earned cash. Truth be told, there are countless ways to carve out a kick-ass future.

Is College a Must for Success? 

Sure, plenty of folks credit their college experience for their later triumphs, but here’s a reality check: many wildly successful individuals never set foot in a lecture hall or never finished their degree. You don’t need a fancy bachelor’s program to make it big. There are shorter, cheaper alternatives that pack a serious punch in terms of Return on Investment. So, before you sign your soul away, consider the potential income in your desired field. If the numbers are enticing and the tuition won’t leave you penniless, then maybe college is worth a shot.

But hold up! There are careers out there that won’t line your pockets enough to justify the degree. And guess what? You can enter certain fields without the almighty college diploma—especially without the torture of a four-year program. So, before you dive headfirst into academia, it’s smart to explore other options.

No Degree, No Problem—Here’s Why 

Believe it or not, there are plenty of jobs that don’t give a darn about a college degree. Take the healthcare industry, for example. There are countless roles that don’t require four years of tedious schooling but still offer a stable, great paycheck and room for growth. So, here’s a reminder: college alone won’t guarantee your success. While a degree can open doors, your skills and talents are what truly matter in any career. In the end, it’s all about the hustle, baby. You can acquire the necessary training and marketable skills through various avenues—whether it’s a degree-based institution, trade school, or specialized program.

Education Takes Many Forms 

Guess what? You don’t need to lock yourself in a college campus to get an education and prepare for a killer career. There are alternatives out there, but don’t get too excited—they aren’t always cheaper than college.

  • Trade Schools

Trade Schools can be your ticket to great careers in specific fields. Automotive, plumbing, electricians, aviation—you name it, they’ve got it. And it doesn’t stop there. Culinary schools, art schools, tech schools, beauty schools—the options are endless. Oh, and don’t forget about healthcare trade schools that can launch you into medical technology, billing, assisting or pharmacy tech. Take a look at Hawaii Medical College in Honolulu—they’ve got your back.

  • Certifications 

Some fields prefer certificates over—or, in addition to—college degrees. Get certified in project management, digital marketing, programming, teaching, and information systems, or take advanced training in healthcare fields. These certificates can be your golden ticket to a prosperous career.

  • Real-Life Experiences 

If you’re the type who’d rather dive straight into the job market and learn on the fly, go for it! Gain real experience and get paid while doing it. Just make sure you’re working toward your ultimate career goals.

  • Military Experience

Maybe forget college—military experience is another pathway to consider. It can provide you with valuable skills that translate to the civilian workforce. And if you change your mind and want to pursue college or trade school later, there’s a chance you’ll get some tuition reimbursement. Many programs accept the GI Bill and support transitioning military personnel in launching new careers. Hawaii Medical College is well-versed in this transition, helping service members from all branches soar into medical careers.

Investing in Your Education 

Knowing your financing options is crucial when committing to education and training. Do your homework on scholarships and grants—apply for everything, big or small. Those small amounts can add up, trust me.

Don’t forget to complete the FAFSA annually to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. You might even find ways to chip away at your tuition while studying. With flexible learning schedules, you can potentially work while getting the education you need for your next big gig! And hey, Hawaii Medical College offers a range of scholarships and grants for aspiring healthcare professionals. Check them out HERE.

Feeling uncertain about taking the leap toward a healthcare education? We’ve got your back. Visit, give us a call at 808-374-5307, or shoot us an email at [email protected]. We’re here to help you kick it in the healthcare industry.