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Stories from the Education Pipeline: Tyshon Hinton on starting his career without a degree

Tyshon Hinton, now 22 and living in Garner, remembers deciding school was not for him in his early elementary years.

“My dream was to go to the NFL, so I didn’t need school in my mind,” Hinton said. He moved throughout most of high school doing well enough academically to stay on the football team. Senior year, he said, was different. He started to apply himself in hopes of raising his GPA to play college football. When a coach from N.C. State University, his dream school, told him he needed extra summer courses to qualify, Hinton decided to pick a different route.

He went to North Carolina Central University, where he played football for about five months. Hinton heard of an opportunity to come back to Raleigh, his hometown, to play football and get paid. 

“I was just ready to make money and start a career really,” he said. After months of practicing and earning a starting position, Hinton had a serious leg injury the day before his first game. A couple weeks later, he found out about a job opportunity from a friend at the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.

Within a year of dropping out of college, Hinton joined the county’s Detention Response Team, which oversees detention facilities and occasionally helps other police departments. Hinton said he has found many opportunities to change individuals’ mindsets, sometimes even saving lives in emergency situations.

“I like that I can actually help people, or at least make people second-guess or second-think their path in life,” he said. 

Watch above and hear more about Hinton’s journey from high school to finding a job without a postsecondary degree. 

This is the fifth and final video of a series of stories on individuals across North Carolina with nontraditional educational pathways. Read about North Carolina’s leaky educational pipeline at

Liz Bell

Liz Bell is the early childhood reporter for EducationNC.