I've seen similar questions, and would like to first note that although those questions provide some useful information, they don't provide further information on how to handle the inevitable questions in interviews. With that said, let me get on with it.
I am currently employed as a Financial Analyst in a medium sized business in the United States, and I find myself looking for a new job. Generally I apply for positions that I would be perfectly suited for in that I know the industry (finance generally), work with their exact technologies, have an understanding of the broader duties involved, and have worked at that level in the past.
I am usually offered a phone or in-person interview to see if I would be a good fit for the company, and almost always I get a question regarding my formal education and lack of higher education (past high school). I have no interest in returning to formal education in that manner, and generally feel it would actually derail a large portion of my life path and career, not to mention the self-taught nature of my skills and the level above my peers that it's at as a result of my experience.
They generally persist however, and I get a lot of "Why don't you want to go back to school?" or "Well a degree is a huge plus for this position..." and I don't often get calls back. I understand that my education is the most likely factor holding me back from these positions, but it hasn't proved necessary in the past and ingrains a lot of bad habits when it comes to a number of different skills.
How can I get interviewers to understand that a formal education is not something I'm interested in, and that learning on the job or being self-taught are a much more effective way for me to gain the specific skills they're looking for on the job?
I'm more looking on how to frame my lack of formal higher education as a neutral factor, or as even a positive.