Despite the fact that I actually have a degree, I still call bullshit on you. Precisely one of my employers cared that I actually have a degree. The first one. Because otherwise they wondered what I'd been doing for three years without working while I was actually at university.
You don't "require" a college degree to do any of those things. Never have, never will.
Hell, the adverts *might* even say "required" instead of "desirable" but you still DO NOT NEED THEM. Rule #1 of job adverts: Apply anyway, show willing, you just might get the job. I don't think I've ever met all the criteria of any job that I've ever applied for and got. Nobody's ever really cared.
I work in IT for schools - state and private, primary and secondary. Most of the people I work with, most of the people doing my job in other places, most of the people I network with, most of the people I've worked for, DO NOT HAVE A RELEVANT DEGREE or mostly even any degree at all. And yet, in teaching you are REQUIRED to have a degree in my country (fair enough, given your job), however all the people around them - including HR themselves and most of the IT crowd and support staff and office staff - DO NOT have a degree in general.
The problem is that people still think that HR rules the roost when it comes to hiring, and they're wrong. The HR guy is less qualified than you are, most of the time. You can't tell them that, of course, but that's the truth. They write "degree required" because they just want someone good and not a wastrel like the last guy. Apply and see what happens. If they are genuinely stupid enough to deny you interview because of a lack of degree, you honestly DID NOT want to work there anyway (a self-fulfilling prophecy).
At one place I worked (a state school), I made an entire London Borough form a pay-scale just for me. It wasn't stupidly high. It wasn't above my boss. It just didn't exist and the Borough HR wanted to lump me into either being a) a teacher, b) a support assistant or c) senior management. They did not have a category for me, so the head of the school made them make one, so that I wasn't subject to term-time contracts, or paid SMT-layer wages. It took months, it took a lot of arguments, but it happened because HR does NOT run the show.
People want to fit you into nice little niches and HR are especially bad at this. It doesn't mean you have to accept that.
I call bullshit that anything but the highest tier of professions *requires* a degree. And then I would posit that for the majority of the career path for those professions you do NOT need a degree. And if you're that good, you'll be allowed to study for a degree alongside your normal career advancement anyway, if they recognise talent.
However, to claim that you "need" a degree to find work in general is ludicrous. If you don't have a degree and the job needs one, but you have 20 years experience of doing the job, of course you should apply anyway. Chances are they won't even ask you about your lack degree. Even the worst of HR. Because the day that HR alone determines who to invites to interview is the beginning of the end of the company they are in.
But if you have no experience, no degree and are applying to be chief aeronautical safety engineer, then - yeah - they're going to want to see a piece of paper at least.
Java programmers need to be able to program in Java. I've seen adverts in New Scientist for programmers who will work on high-end scientific simulations and they barely state a minimum degree, so for generic business processes? No. Not required. No matter what they say.
It's just not true that a degree will get you jobs. I know. I have one. I can count on one hand the number of times I've been asked about it, and only once have I ever been required to PROVE I have one. But 15 years of steady progression in my career from jobs that don't need a degree through to jobs that - actually - you probably think you should have a degree for overrides any bit of 15-year-old paper to do with the theory of a vaguely-related subject.
I've met any number of people with degrees who can barely cope in their specialist subject (we tend to call them teachers...). I've met any number of people who put me to shame and have no qualifications whatsoever. There is no correlation.
Those people who are put off by ludicrous, unrealistic requirements on job adverts are selling themselves short and not bothering to just apply anyway.
P.S. the same applies for certifications. I have zero industry certifications or official "training" outside of my degree.
It doesn't stop me taking charge of the entire IT - including responsibility for the finance IT and day-to-day money-making IT - at places running millions of pounds in surplus as a matter of course, charging millions of pounds in fees every year, and knocking holes and running cable in premises worth millions of pounds.
And, hell, I left a job recently and within minutes had three competing offers for work purely based on word-of-mouth. I start as IT Manager at a 26-acre private school soon. Did they ask about my degree? Nope.