Ditch the Diploma: 12 Successful Companies That Don’t Demand College Degrees

By Aaron Stone

While it seems far-reaching, there has been an increasing amount of best companies to work for without a degree. The degree-obsessed work economy started after the Great Depression when degree requirements locked out millions of Americans from good-paying jobs. Fast forward to this era of job diversification and skill-based employment, and a significant number of companies have scrapped college degrees. Let’s delve into details of good companies to work for without a degree. 


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Accenture is one of the leading propounders of skill-based employment, with the launches of the first-ever apprenticeship program in 2016. This information technology service and consulting powerhouse company has switched its focus and tenet from a degree-obsessed company to setting the pace for other companies that don’t require a degree. This is evident in their recent employment practices, where more than 80% of their employee are hired without a degree. Most importantly, Accenture job posts have also seen a drastic change in their descriptions. In 2021, only 25% of their job posts for software engineering positions require a degree, the lowest compared to other competitors. The degree reset employment practices have also been introduced to different roles such as product management, network administrators, and others. 


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The changing recruitment landscape, mainly in the tech space, has brought about the term “new collar jobs,” which was coined in 2016 by IBM. The rationale behind this heralded the emergence of a new era that emphasized transferable skills at the expense of a bachelor’s degree. IBM’s transition from a degree-obsessed company to being among the tech companies that do not require a degree has overhauled its recruitment processes. In 2020, 15% of the company hires, including software architects, data analysts, mobile developers, and cyber security experts, were filled without degree requirements. Looking at the success they had with their skill-based recruitment process, IBM announced in 2021 that they’ve dropped degree requirements for more than 60% of their opening. 


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Okta is another company that has joined the ranks of good companies without a degree. Okta is an identity service management service that allows users to access any employer on any device. Okta uses a secured cloud-based server to assist businesses in managing and securing user authentication. Okta CEO Todd McKinnon, 2021, released a press statement, as the Wall Street Journal reported, that Okta company is removing the college degree requirement from several key positions, such as sales. He reiterated the company’s creation of a business development associate program to hire people based on what they can do at the expense of their college degree. 


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Dell Incorporation has a mandate to redefine what it’s considered university recruitment into a program focused on hiring from community colleges, which was launched in 2021. This is done to bring a broad and diverse perspective into its workforce. The global companies that are well known for their development, designs, and manufacturing of personal computers and other computer-related products have joined the growing trend of the best companies to work for without a degree, according to the company director of emerging talent, the graduate hired through the redefined program has filled various tech roles such as tech sales, marketing, cyber security, software engineering, and others. 


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This widely revered company has become the chief promoter of this no-college-degree requirement era. Google is known for its innovative approach to businesses. This approach has been applied to their hiring programs with the launch of its certificate program in IT support, which is akin to a college degree. This certification program is done to teach people IT skills they can leverage to get into any of the top companies that don’t require a degree. In addition to this, Google has emphasized soft skills like communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills ahead of whatever college degree you might end for their recruitment. Between 2017 and 2023, google job postings that required a college degree fell from 93% to 56%. It is important to note that Google still emphasizes a certain level of work experience and talent for their entry-level jobs. 


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Apple incorporation is another heavyweight company that stated they value experience and skills as much as a college degree. The well-known smartphone, personal company, tablets, wearables, and accessories manufacturing company based in California has opened its doors to employees who do not have college degrees. This was made known by the company CEO, Steve Cook, in 2019. He announced that 50% of Apple employees hired in the previous year of 2018 were not required to submit their degree certificates as part of their requirements. He stated further that all that was needed was their years of experience and other skills. Among the Apple job listing that does not require a college degree are technical support, brand director, apple specialist, account executive, etc. 


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It’s well known that even without any prior experience as a barista or related certification, you can get into the Starbucks workforce. It’s expected if we are looking at Starbucks ’Starbucks’ recruitment process. The premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee companies provide training for their newly hired employees so that they can key into the company’s business processes and ethos. This makes them one of the best companies to work for without a college degree. The company employed approximately 340,000 people across its 31,000 franchises, Making them one of the largest employers of labor in the USA. The following Starbucks corporate jobs you can apply for include product manager, shift supervisor, Barista, Store manager, and others. 


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Zoho is one of the top software development companies anyone would want to be part of. Well, they’ve made that possible now with their new skill-based recruitment exercise where they hire candidates based on their skill level rather than their college degree. As part of the company objectives, Zoho provides new intake with training through its well-known talent pipeline program tagged Zoho University. This internal training program offers employment opportunities for everyone regardless of their educational background.


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Founded in 1976, Costco Wholesales incorporation is an American-based company that operates chains of international membership-only warehouses that bring customers the best possible prices on quality brand-name merchandise. Costco is one of the best companies you can work for without a college degree. Over the years, Costco has been on this motor of no degree, no stress. They’ve hired tons of people using the skilled levels and experience compared to the conventional college degree as a requirement. 

Bank of America 

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The multinational American investment banking and financial services based in Charlotte, North Carolina, has created a unique recruitment program called Pathway in 2018. This program is an on-the-job training and development scheme for people with relevant financial literacy and experience but who lack a college degree. Pathway training programs are akin to what other companies that hire without a degree do. As reported by CNBC, Bank of America uses the pathway program to hire from lower-income neighborhoods for positions like sales, banking operations, and software development. 

Delta Airline 

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Delta Airlines was another trendsetter in the airline industry when they eliminated college degree requirements in 90% of the jobs they posted in 2019. It is magnanimous to think of looking at the complexity of flying an aircraft. Although the aviation industry has been facing a labor shortage, many giant airlines have had to find all the means to lure new pilots. In their bid to draw a more competent hand, delta Airlines punished that they’ve removed the college degree requirements for those roles like second-in-command pilots. 


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Nordstrom Incorporation is a leading luxury fashion retailer store based in North Carolina, United States. Founded in 1921 by Carl Buchan, the company has grown from a shoe store to the number-one fashion outlet offering high-end designer clothes and other accessories. Nordstrom is one of the top US companies that doesn’t require a degree. It’s effortless to get into Nordstrom with your skills and competence, most importantly sales, or you have an eye for fashion that can wow the HR.