An interesting question! And a lot of it depends on what "career" means to you...
If the meaning is "a stable job and a good living", then yes. Lots of occupations (truck driver, carpenter, farmer, plumber) don't require a college degree, and you can make a living in these fields. However, if it means "being a lawyer, or doctor, or an upper manager", they you need the skills to do those jobs... and the vast majority of the time that means getting a degree. (Even lots of truck drivers, etc. have college degrees, and they help).
Another meaning of "career" are the "jobs that a person has done in a given field". By that measure, I have had several "careers": Agriculture, general maintenance, student, software engineer. Some I have enjoyed more than others, and each has their ups and downs.
If you are at a point where you are questioning what to do with your life, look to your strengths, passions, and hopes. It IS time to be realistic (very few people get to play for the NFL; very few get to be a rock star). But if you already know that you like to solve problems... or build/fix things... or work with people... that is a good place to start. Realize that not all days in ANY career will be "good days", and that sometimes you start by "doing the dirty work" ( and that may mean college. :) ) But focus on what you like and can do... and I think you will like the career you make!
On top of the great contributions and insights from Richard and Mark, I would also suggest that having a college degree in any of the fields you may choose to follow your passion , basically breaks a potential limit / barrier / ceiling that you otherwise will have in front of you should you choose not to study a career. In virtually any instance where you may want to pursue a job opportunity where you will most certainly will be competing against hundreds or even thousands of applicants for the same position, one of the first filters recruiters will use to select a few applicants for the next steps will be formal education, and that's even just table stakes to allow the next step to take place. Then comes practical experience in the form of business outcomes and contributions you've made in your previous employers that have transformed in business benefits for them .. it's a very competitive world we live in now and for the ones that fulfill their professional aspirations and live a life of achievement, the are 2 key ingredients I always see when I meet one - one is dedication / commitment / perseverance , and the other one is preparation. The more the better. And even after college. It never stops.
Sure you'll find the one in a million college dropouts that make it big - Jobs, Gates .. but of those there is only a handful in history .. the rest of us have to prepare to fulfill our dreams. So below the ceiling / barrier there are many of the occupations that Richard and Mark mention - if your aspiration is to be the best lawyer , engineer or doctor you can be, don't think twice. Study as hard as you can.
Hope this helps, all the best,
Ideally it is possible to build a career without going to college. Certain jobs for example being a cashier at a store, or working in a restaurant or bar does not require a lot of skills. These jobs that does not require any specialize skills and so they do not pay much salary.
However you will need to answer a bigger question
1.Do you have any goals or What would you like to become? Eg. an Engineer, Doctor, Pilot, Scientist, Teacher or Professor, Manager, Accountant, etc.
2. Do you want a job that will pay you a high amount for your entire life or would you like to get some job which does not require you to go to college but will give you a small salary for the rest of your life
I know sometimes you might have a feeling that going to college is expensive but in long run it pays off for your entire career. Before you just decide on going on to college keep a goal in mind and prepare your self to study whatever is needed to build a successful career in your area of interest. Ofcourse someone can become successful without a degree, but in todays world chances are quite rare that you will succeed without a good college degree. I would highly recommend you to go to college to build up your career.
You asked a good question. The answer might be yes, but there might be other forms of training involved, which would be very helpful..
Here is a definition for "career":
a job for which you are trained and in which it is possible to advance during your working life, so that you get greater responsibility and earn more money:
Every person possesses a set of innate characteristics that suits him/her to an appropriate "career".. Here is a set of exercises that may help a person to discover such gifts:
After a person has some ideas from such exercises, further exploration might help to determine development and actualization of those areas.
Some people begin by specializing in a career program during the last two years of high school, some might select training in an apprenticeship program or other specialized training after high school, some might select training at a community college, etc.
A good place to start would be to complete the above exercises and talk with your school counselor to set up a plan for realizing your potential. Your counselor might have their own testing, but at least would be able to help interpret your results, and help you to get involved in coop, intern, volunteer, and shadowing programs that will allow you to learn more.
Also, networking with people who are doing what you think that you want to do will allow you to see what they do, how they got there, what advice they have for you, and how you feel about it. The head of alumni relations at your school can help you meet and talk to people who are doing what you think that you want to do to learn more.
Let me know if and how this was of help. Keep me posted. I would like to follow your progress.