education · school

The new economics of college vs. trade school…or no school

This is something that people have been struggling with for awhile, but as this article from the New York Times says, the current economic crisis is putting it into sharp perspective: a lot of kids are being pushed to go to college when in fact it may not be the best choice for their future.

College degrees are simply not necessary for many jobs. Of the 30 jobs projected to grow at the fastest rate over the next decade in the United States, only seven typically require a bachelor’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Among the top 10 growing job categories, two require college degrees: accounting (a bachelor’s) and postsecondary teachers (a doctorate). But this growth is expected to be dwarfed by the need for registered nurses, home health aides, customer service representatives and store clerks. None of those jobs require a bachelor’s degree.

Professor Vedder likes to ask why 15 percent of mail carriers have bachelor’s degrees, according to a 1999 federal study.

“Some of them could have bought a house for what they spent on their education,” he said.

Read the article…

Even though I was someone who excelled in college, and even went to graduate school, I am in fact a strong proponent of the idea that college is unnecessary for a lot of people. I think this was brought home even more for me the year that I worked as a college teaching assistant. The push for four-year colleges is almost starting to feel like a racketeering job.

I think we in the U.S. need to move past the stigma of not having a college degree being equivalent to being a slacker or stupid or unmotivated. If anything, they are smarter for not automatically buying into the system, they are more motivated to start contributing to the workforce, and more goal-oriented than their college-bound counterparts who often view college as an extension of high school.

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