While both can serve you well, many occupations require some kind of educational diploma, degree or formal training. Going "straight into your desired occupation" is just not an option for many people. While there are a few jobs that will hire you with no higher education/training, those types of jobs are fewer than ever before. Many occupations also require some kind of licensure or certification - and that typically requires education/training and/or passing some kind of content exam. For example, to work as a barber or hair dresser in California, you are required to complete a training program at a state-approved program and then pass a state test. Most employers these days will look for someone with formal training and education. There are few "apprenticeships" - where you can get hired and be trained "on the job". Make sure you research your chosen occupation very well and ask lots of questions. It's also a good idea to talk with someone who works in the field you are interested in working in... to get first-hand information.