Ever since the end of WWII, most American families have held onto the notion that a college education should be the ultimate goal for most of their children. While we cannot dispute the economic boost a college education has given individuals in the job market in the past, is it really worth it nowadays?
Ever since the end of WWII, most American families have held onto the notion that a college education should be the ultimate goal for most of their children. While we cannot dispute the economic boost a college education has given individuals in the job market in the past, is it really worth it nowadays? The average cost of tuition, room, and board is about $25,000 to $40,000 per year. You don’t have to be a college graduate to do the math on this one.
The cost of college has gone up so high over the past several decades that it has exceeded the rate of inflation for other products and services such as rent and food. What has happened is that it leaves college graduates with tremendous debt. Given the difficult job market that is out there, many are discovering that a college education is not a good return on their investment. In fact, many college graduates find themselves in dead-end jobs earning no more than minimum wage.
For careers that require licensure such as physician, lawyer, and public accountant, a college degree is still very necessary. But for the myriad of jobs that are becoming part of our economic fabric in this country, a degree is not always the deciding factor. According to the Department of Labor, by the year 2020, over 60% of jobs will not require a college degree.
There is currently a growing body of self-directed learners. These individuals have opted out of the educational institutions in favor of using the tools available today to get the education that they want and need for a competitive job market. They use the internet and take free courses while actually putting their learning to good use. They make learning plans and accomplish goals that are often more impressive to perspective employers than a high GPA.
Self-directed learners write blogs, start businesses, use their creativity to network and make contacts through social media. Many of today’s captains of industry and the growing list of billionaires have not gone to college because they have a vision and a dream that they can begin to realize without taking pre-requisite courses.
We must also consider the time spent at college is time not spent in the job market gaining on-the-job experience. For jobs that do not require a college education, people can make a good living. They can begin earning immediately if they have the skills to do trade jobs such as electrician or plumber which require an apprenticeship. If you compare the cost of a college education against on-the-job experience, a college degree can be a losing investment.
College isn’t for everyone. In fact, over half of those enrolled as freshmen drop out before completing their degree. Most Americans have over 5 careers during their working lifetime, and finding a career that you feel passionate about can be one of the greatest rewards in life. There are many options available to achieve success. Clever individuals will examine all possibilities.
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