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  • Heather Watson

Do I need a bachelor’s degree to have a successful career?

Updated: Jul 18, 2021

Do I need a bachelor’s degree to have a successful career?

This is the all-important question that many a teenager will deliberate on when choosing what they are going to be doing after year 11 in the UK. Many will be faced with the daunting task of deciding their future at such a young age and they will most probably be encouraged by their school to go down the A level route so they can then apply to university at the end of year 13. But is this really the only way to have a successful career?

Consider this?

Schools are awarded ratings on how many of their pupils go on to be accepted at university. They can put extreme pressure on pupils just to ensure the school meets it targets. I have first-hand experience of them telling my daughter that going to university is the only way and that apprenticeships are a waste of time. Yes, I really was told that, but it is simply not true! We are conditioned from a young age to think that only those people that go to university can go on to have well-paid and prosperous careers, but I am sure the likes of Sir Richard Branson, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Lord Alan Sugar, Princess Diana, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Helena Rubinstein and Oprah Winfrey would disagree.

Does a bachelor’s degree secure a high paid job?

Having a degree certainly does not guarantee a well-paid job will be offered to you. In fact, many graduates find themselves struggling to find work. With at least 83 graduates applying for one job vacancy the competition is fierce.

What careers require a degree?

There are, of course, some professions where a degree is a compulsory requirement of the role.

  1. Medicine, nursing, dentistry and related fields

  2. Engineering

  3. Sciences

  4. Veterinary science

So, what are the alternatives?

There are several options available to you instead and they can all lead to a flourishing career.

  1. Degree Apprenticeships

  2. Foundation degrees.

  3. Higher apprenticeships.

  4. Apprenticeships.

  5. Traineeships.

  6. Entry-level jobs.

  7. Work experience or internships.

  8. Starting your own business.

Still not sure?

If you are unsure whether university is the right thing for you, why not look at what job vacancies are out there at this present time. Getting your foot in the door can be very difficult but your determination will produce rewarding results. It may seem old fashioned, but writing to companies to show your resourcefulness, knowledge and abilities. Ask for work experience and aim to impress them while you do so. Being taken on as a member of staff after completing work experience for a company is not uncommon and it could be the start of a prospering career.

Register with a recruitment agency, talk to your local job centre and speak to your local career’s office. They are experts and will give you constructive advice. You may also want to consider asking your family and friends if they know of any jobs going or if any of their friends could help you. Using social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will help you to network and build relationships with many different people.

Is a bachelor’s degree for everyone?

Of course, it is not. When I first left school, I did not go to university I went to college instead to gain further GCSE’s. Actually, I did not start to study for a degree until after I had already become a published author and had a successful career in business. I felt after achieving all that it was perhaps the right thing for me to attain an English degree and I joined the Open University. But, for me, having a degree was not about being successful in my career, I had already accomplished that, it was about being the right time for me and wanting to set myself the goal.

I would love to hear your views on bachelor’s degrees and whether you feel they are essential to reach your full earning potential or whether you feel, like me, that there are other ways to conquer your future career objectives.

Let me know your thoughts.


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