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What To Do Instead Of A University Degree

Last updated February 28th, 2022

It seems you need a degree for any job right now. Not all that long ago, you only needed a degree to enter one of the professions like teacher, lawyer or doctor.

Now it seems you need a degree for anything. That’s certainly something job adverts and the media will have you believe anyway.

But it’s not true.

There are many rewarding careers you can build for yourself without a degree.

There are definite advantages to having a degree and the three years it takes to get one can be amazing.

It isn’t the only way to succeed though. There are other ways to join a rewarding industry and progress, as we’ll discuss on this page.

Want to find out more? Download our FREE Event Management Guide

Alternatives to going to university

Whether you don’t want years of student loan debt or just aren’t interested in going to university, it isn’t the only path open to you.


Degree apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships are relatively new and provide a way to earn a degree while working at the same time. They combine the advantages of higher education with the advantages of on the job learning.

The benefits are that you earn while you work and won’t need a student loan. The downsides are that you’ll need to study as well as work full time.



Standard apprenticeships provide on the job training for trades and many other careers. If a degree isn’t essential to enter, you can usually find an apprenticeship program somewhere for it.

The benefits are that you’ll get paid as you learn and won’t end up with student debt. The downsides are that competition is stiff and apprenticeships aren’t yet available everywhere.



Being a trainee is how many careers once started. You entered an industry, worked as a trainee alongside an experienced person and learned as you worked.

Many careers offer trainee positions with a structured training program to help you develop into the role and the industry.

The advantage is the practical experience while learning on the job and getting paid. The downsides are that the pay isn’t usually that great and trainees get all the boring, dirty or otherwise unwanted tasks.



Internships are an American import and used to be completely unpaid. They work in a similar fashion to traineeships but usually for shorter periods of time.

Internships are now paid but are often used within an apprenticeship, degree or college course to provide work experience.

The advantage is you can gain valuable work experience while studying or working somewhere else. The downside is that it isn’t really ideal on its own and needs an apprenticeship or trade course to get the most out of it.


School leaver programs

School leaver programs are another viable alternative to a degree. They combine working part time with part time study, at college, trade school or somewhere else.

Usually offered after A-levels, school leaver programs will award some kind of qualification while also giving you valuable on the job training.

The benefit is that you can learn your desired trade on the job while also getting a recognised qualification. The downside is that the pay won’t be great and you’ll have to balance work and study at the same time.


Entry level job

There’s nothing at all wrong with starting at the bottom and working your way up. It’s the way everything used to be done and is still very much relevant now.

It’s how we all came up. Learning the basics of event management. Some of us had degrees, some didn’t. Getting in on the ground and learning as we went provided the skills and experience employers look for.

The advantage is learning while working and not accruing student debt. The downside is that entry level jobs don’t always pay well or have a structured development path.


Educating yourself while working

If you want a recognized qualification while also working, you could do it yourself. Event Academy has built a business around people who wanted to change careers or develop a career without a degree.

You can work during the day doing whatever you want. Then, at night, you can study and learn a new career.

The advantage is that you can learn at your own pace, in your own time. The disadvantage is that you need to pay for the training yourself and balancing work and study can be challenging at times.



There are more self-employed people now than ever before. It was a trend that was growing before the pandemic but has now skyrocketed.

If you have skills and want to go your own way, self-employment could be for you. It’s tough and involves long hours, lots of study and sacrifice but you also directly benefit from all of that.

The advantage is going your own way in life and being completely responsible for your own success or failure, which is exciting. The downside is that you’ll need existing skills you can sell and you are completely responsible for your own success or failure.

While a degree is desired by many employers, it’s not the only path open to you. There are other ways to get what you want and develop a rewarding career.

These are just some of them!

Want to find out more? Download our FREE Event Management Guide
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