16 Feb 2020
Back in the day, the feeling that college was needed to achieve a good career was more or less right. Many employers would demand that the right college degree was attained before they would let you in the door for an interview. However, just like with many things in education, the need for a college degree might be outdated as employers seem to be less worried about that expensive piece of paper called a diploma.
How Many Current College Graduates Are Actually Putting Their Degree to Use?
Before we look at how people will be able to land their dream careers in the future without college, let’s look at how many current college graduates are actually putting their degree (and all of those thousands of dollars paid for their college classes) to use.
According to a study conducted by the New York Federal Reserve Bank in 2019, only 27 percent of college graduates end up working in the field of their major. Let that sink in for a moment. And then consider all that time and money essentially wasted to earn that college diploma.
The College Board stated that the average debt of a college student that graduated in 2017 from a four-year public school was $26,900. If it was a private nonprofit school, the debt was $32,600. No doubt that those figures are even higher now. There is a reason why thirty-year-olds are living in their parents’ basement. They can’t pay off their student loans with what they are currently earning.
And before anyone says that a college education should be free for all, nothing is free in this world. Someone would have to pay at the end of the day. More than likely, it would be all of us taxpayers that already have our own loans to worry about and do not need others getting a free ride on our backs.
What Are the Alternatives to a College Education?
Nowadays, you can enter into almost any career field through more than just one way. If you want to further your education without having to attend college, there are alternatives. There are training schools that last months instead of years. There are apprenticeships where a person will also get paid to learn a trade at the same time they are developing their skills. There are courses in the medical field that lasts for only weeks and will let you get your foot in the door. Or you can do it the old fashion way: You sort of learn as you go.
Do you think computer programmers are waiting to learn their needed skills in college? Absolutely not. They are already learning what makes a computer tick during their junior high and high school years.
Technology has been a game-changer and with so much information available to us instantly, do we really need a professor to be the middle man anymore? I’m not sure about all of you, but if I want to learn something, I spend a few hours letting my OCD kick in as I go from one reputable webpage to another. If I need to figure out how to fix my car engine, frame a wall, or even how to develop my photography skills further, I can learn much of this on YouTube in minutes. I no longer have to pay thousands of dollars to sit in a classroom. I can learn in the convenience of my own home. Furthermore, these skills I am learning can then be developed into a real career when I have enough experience on the topic.
Matt Damon’s character in Goodwill Hunting defiantly informed a group of pompous college students that they wasted $150,000 on an education that they could have got for $1.50 in late fees at the library. Today, not even the library is really needed as everything is available online if you look hard enough.
Experience Is Key
What it all comes down to when trying to land your dream job is whether you have the suitable experience that the employer requires. This does not mean you need a college education, just the skills needed to get your hired.
Wouldn’t it be great to be a young 20-year-old without any real loans to pay off and be able to look towards your future immediately? College has turned into an institution promoted mainly by politicians as a way to better your future. And just like with most things, the politicians are a step behind on how the real world operates.