As a father of 3 children, one in college and two more about to enter higher education, the questions around what they want to major in and what kind of careers they want to pursue is a frequent topic of conversation in our household. Beyond the college years, and well into adulthood, people often think about career change depending on their situation. This is an opportunity to really to get you thinking about your career path.
Is a College Degree Necessary?
The knee-jerk response to that question is a resounding “yes”, especially in my house. However, in a 2013 article in the Washington post, it was noted 62% of college graduates had a job that required a college degree. At first glance that number may seem to drive the need to get that degree, but then realize that 48% of college graduates are underemployed based on that statistic. This same article pointed out, and this number is alarming, an estimated dismal 27% of college graduates are working in a field related to their degree. The article does point out chances of working in your area of study go up if you move to a large city.
Nonetheless, there could be a number of factors these percentages are present. People may discover that the career part of their major isn’t as appealing as the education part. A big part could be compensation – when something else comes along with better pay. Plus, with all those student loans, many people need to be employed sooner vs. waiting on their ‘dream job’.
The answer to getting a college degree is definitely an individual one. It is tied to how financially viable it is to complete a degree program. There is a need to consider what areas of study you are interested in, and how it relates to career goals, etc. Other non-tangible benefits of college do involve the social aspect of college life, and I’m not talking about the all night parties. It is the lifelong friendships and life lessons you learn from completing a long term goal, like getting a degree. Plus, employers will sometimes see your ability to complete long term tasks, and seeing a completed degree, as an advantage when considering you for a job.
A Possible Alternative
College isn’t for everyone, but sometimes people feel that is the only path to getting a decent job. One vastly large area in need of talent is the skilled trades. This covers a wide variety of positions from electricians, painters, welders, and the list goes on and on. In the U.S. there is a major gap in finding sustainable talent in all of the skilled trades. The plus side is for anyone pursuing a skill trade now, your chances of getting hired more quickly will go up after some training and with people clamoring for your skill sets, your opportunity to make more money can go up as well.
As you consider your next steps this will hopefully open your eyes to some possible alternatives. Good luck in your career search.