There was once a time when two parents who didn’t have college degrees could afford to have a family, and eventually send that family away to college in the hopes of creating a better life for their children. These days are gone. The middle class has seen the end of its time and it may never rebound. As a result, the kids of Gen X and Gen Y made the decision to attend college classes in order to obtain a degree and live a better life than their parents lived. What a lot of them didn’t realize is that they weren’t living better.
Many college graduates across this beautiful country of ours are unemployed and are thousands of dollars in debt because they bought into the idea that college was necessary. They went away, got four-year degrees, and graduated. They were ready and willing to enter the workforce and become productive members of society. What they got, was a rude awakening. The job market didn’t exist for the flood of prospective employees that came out of college at the same time. The best part, however, is that the trade careers were practically barren and still are.
Are we drifting further away from the middle-class possibilities and wasting our time with four-year and graduate educations? Are college degrees obsolete?
Seeing Both Sides – College or No College?
Certainly, a four-year college degree is an impressive accomplishment. You take your general education classes, the classes towards your major, and at the end of four years, they hand you a piece of paper that says you’ve done something with your life. That’s all well and good if you can actually find a job in the field for which you spent a lot of money and got a piece of paper to attain. Unfortunately, this is happening less than often than we’d like to admit.
Obviously, some jobs are readily available for graduates; teachers, architects, and business people, but how about the people who major in psychology or philosophy? They majored in something that interested them but quickly came to find out that it wasn’t worth the piece of paper with the Dean’s signature on it. Yet, there they were, in debt up to their necks while earnestly holding a heavy piece of paper with Old English lettering declaring that they’d spent a lot of money to work in a restaurant or a department store.
Meanwhile, there are hundreds of different trade careers that are available that require short-term degrees or even certificates. There are several in-demand fields that are willing to train people straight out of two-year programs and a lot of these careers offer really good starting wages. Look at the nursing field, for example. Many community colleges offer a two-year program and after completion of certification exams, the student is then a registered nurse. It’s been declared that the United States is in the midst of a nursing shortage and yet there are still unemployable college graduates with useless four-year degrees in this world. Don’t even ask about the starting salary for a nurse; $60,000.
Electricians typically offer short programs before beginning an apprenticeship where you learn the trade and you climb the ranks and eventually become certified. The average electrician makes over $50,000 a year and several companies are willing to hire their people straight out of high school.
If you’re questioning whether or not college is right for you, it doesn’t have to be. There are people in this world who are meant to attend the school of hard knocks and claw their way to the top. There are also people out there who’ve received a calling to attend school for twelve years and become healers. The choice is not right, across the board, for everyone. College degrees are not the end all and be all anymore.