In high school, they constantly preach to get good grades so you can get into a good college and eventually get a job that pays well. But is a college degree really worth it?
The cost of college has increased tremendously over the past 20 years, and most students are left with a crazy amount of student loan debt.
Roughly 43 million Americans are currently suffering from student loan debt.
People aged from 25 to 35 hold the most student loan debt in America and are going to need a lot of time to pay it off. Student loans are especially tough to manage when you factor in all the other expenses that life in America requires.
Due to the increase in costs, a lot of people have been looking for alternate routes to find a well-paying job. There has also been a conversation on whether blue-collar jobs are better than white-collar jobs.
So, is college really worth it? Well, that depends on your goals. Some people are better off not getting one, while others are better off with one.
There is no one size fits all answer, so let’s look at the pros and cons of getting a college degree.
Pros of a College Degree
More Jobs Require a College Degree
Long ago a college degree wasn’t required to find a good-paying job in America, but that narrative has changed in recent years.
According to a Study performed at Georgetown University, over 65% of jobs in our economy require some form of postsecondary education. Clearly, it has become more important to get a college degree in order to land a job.
Without a degree, it may more difficult to land a job in certain fields, so getting a degree may be necessary depending on what you want to do in life.
The hiring process has never been more competitive, so being a college graduate can increase your chances of landing a job.
College Grads Earn More
Regardless of skills, knowing the difference in earnings between a college degree vs. non-degree will assist you in making important career decisions.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, someone with the highest educational level can earn up to three times more than someone without higher education.
The average median income for someone with a high school diploma is $37,024, while the median income for someone with a Bachelors degree is $54,700.
People who obtain Master’s or Doctorates Degrees are subject to earn even more income depending on their field of work and these degrees are also becoming required for career-advancement opportunities.
For the most part, college grads that land a job are subject to earning more, but it comes with a price. They have to deal with student loans. Along with this, there are also plenty of high-paying Blue-collar jobs that do not require a college degree.
By Going to college you can learn a completely new and unique set of skills not available to the general population. Along with this, certain careers require you to go to college in order to learn these skills.
A Physical Therapist has to take various different classes on the human body, such as anatomy and physiology before they even come close to the hands-on work. Without these classes you will come nowhere close to the rehab room.
College also allows young people to explore diversity. Colleges and universities are full of people from many different cultures and backgrounds. This allows people to share the classroom with others from across the country or even around the world.
The diversity in colleges allows people to explore others’ thoughts, opinions, and lifestyles which is something that is very rare.
Cons of a College Degree
Student Loan Debt
As mentioned earlier, there are millions of people who are struggling with student loan debt. The cost of college has increased over the years, so it is unlikely that you will be able to cover these costs with your savings account money.
According to Education Data, the average federal student loan debt is $36,510 per borrower. Private student loan debt averages $54,921 per borrower.
20 years after entering school, half of the student borrowers still owe $20,000 each on outstanding loan balances.
Student loan debt is one of the leading causes of stress for young people in America, so if you plan on going to college you may want to look into community colleges or degrees that pay over six figures.
Nothing is Guaranteed
While a college degree has been promoted as the golden ticket to prosperity, it has become harder and harder to land a job.
More and more young people are graduating each year which is making the job market more competitive. If you are not going above and beyond to sharpen up that resume, then you may be out of luck when it comes to hiring time.
Along with this, not all college degrees are useful. In fact, some degrees are absolutely useless and don’t improve a person’s skills at all. Yes, some degrees are a complete scam.
Your best bet is to get a degree in a high-demand field so you can attack those loans right away. Do your research to prevent yourself from falling into the student loan trap.
Getting a degree isn’t a fast task. It is going to require a few years of your life to complete. Most people aim to get their Bachelor’s degree in four years, but sometimes it takes even longer to do so.
It is very common for someone to take five or even six years to complete their degree, especially if they are working in addition to going to school. You also have to take into consideration the amount of work that you are going to have to do at home as well.
Be mindful of the time required to obtain a degree and the sacrifices you are going to have to make on the way.
Going to college is worth it if it is going to propel you towards your goals in life, but it may not be the route for you.
There are times when you are going to need a degree in order to get into a certain field, but if you are just looking to land a high-paying job then you do not necessarily need to obtain a degree.
There are plenty of high-paying blue-collar jobs that you can look into if you think college isn’t for you, along with opportunities available with the military. Trade schools offer many different opportunities for success.
If you’re a highly motivated person, opening your own business might be something to consider as well.
Many people have reached tremendous levels of success without a degree, so don’t feel compelled to go to college if you do not think it is right for you.