Today's guest post is from board member John Hollon, Editor at RecruitingDaily.com, author of the blog The Skeptical Guy, and adjunct professor in the College of Communications at California State University, Fullerton.
It's a question that more and more Millennials (and now some Gen Z-ers) are asking with greater urgency: Do I really need to get a college degree?
Well, the figures are pretty clear: a person with an undergraduate degree earns about $1 million more than a person who simply finished high school over the course of a 40-year career ($2.4 million average earnings vs. $1.4 million average).
It's been the main reason -- and a really good reason -- why so many parents have pushed their children to continue their education and get a Bachelor's degree.
Usually, the numbers don't lie.
While I wouldn't dispute the numbers, there may be more evidence building that there are some good, in-demand jobs with decent pay available without having to invest 4-6 years and untold dollars in trudging through college.
For example, a new CareerBuilder survey outlines the best jobs for workers without a college degree. Here are the Top 5 that they listed (ranked on the average number of unique job postings):
Other jobs/non-college careers listed included Tax Preparers ($19.60 median hourly earnings); Real Estate Sales Agents ($17.92 median hourly earnings); and Social and Human Service Assistants ($15.33 median hourly earnings).
So, what have we learned from this? A few things to keep in mind:
So, yes, if you just go by the statistics, a college degree DOES increase your odds of getting a job and making money. However, a college can also come with some not insignificant baggage: the risk of incurring debt, getting bogged down for years trying to enroll in hard-to-get classes, and the growing issue of encountering bad (and highly partisan) college instructors.
In my own experience teaching college part-time for the last decade, I've watched students as they juggle more things -- family, work, and long commutes -- and then struggle to find decent paying jobs when they graduate here in Southern California.
It kills me to say this, especially since I have both a Bachelors and an MBA, but maybe this CareerBuilder survey is on to something. Yes, perhaps an in-demand job that doesn't require a college education is the right way to go here in the first quarter of the 21st Century.
I don't know if I would have written that 10 years ago, but every time I have to pay my plumber, or painter, or electrician, I'm struck by how much they seem to be earning without the benefit of a college degree. And, they all seem to be getting along just fine.
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