Going to college has become a sort of right of passage in America. Starting junior year of high school — and sometimes even earlier — we begin touring schools, the application process, and even preparing to sign off on those huge student loans.
It has long been believed that the process of obtaining a solid career is to get a college degree. Starting from childhood we are told that this is the only way to guarantee financial security in adulthood, but more recent trends have proven that higher education may not be the answer to a successful career path — and young adults are choosing another route.
Times Are Most Definitely Changing
With the growing mountain of student loan debt and the lack of entry-level jobs to go around, Americans are looking towards other ways of achieving their goals.
College tuition has only continued to increase, with the cost rising over 400% in the last thirty years, according to The Wall Street Journal. It’s really no surprise that college enrollment has decreased significantly five years in a row.
With student loan debt causing many people major economic turmoil, citizens have decided to shift their ideals when it comes to continuing their education.
Vocational Schools Are Rising In Popularity
Vocational or trade schools, which focus on shorter educational programs focused on distinct career paths, are enticing students year after year. These educational institutions are designed for those interested in trades such as health care, electrical work, paralegal, or welding — and these fields continue to be financially rewarding, despite the economy.
“I’ve seen tremendous growth in the number of students enrolling in vocational or technical colleges and for-profit institutions that specialize in convenient, practical coursework. The IT guy, the electrician, the people who maintain the 911 system or the electrical grid – they make more money because they have more value to society,” stated Steven Roy Goodman, author of “College Admissions Together: It Takes a Family.”
Despite the assumption that there are no jobs for people post-grad, there are millions of jobs available that do not even require a college degree.
“A large segment of jobs in America require training and skills, but the acquisition of a formal college degree is not really relevant in most cases,” stated Richard K. Vedder, professor of economics at Ohio University.
The word about the benefits of vocational training is definitely spreading, and some people in the spotlight want to help make this type of education more available to Americans.
Trades Are Being Endorsed By Celebrities
Those in the public eye are starting to point people in the direction of vocational schools.
Mike Rowe, the host of the hit show Dirty Jobs, knows a thing or two about getting his hands dirty and diving into a trade.
He began the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, which focuses on teaching students about the importance of trade work in America. Rowe also provides scholarships to those interesting in pursuing vocational study, and his Work Ethic Scholarship Program has provided $3 million to those looking to go to school for a trade.
Feel Free To Carve Your Own Path
Although our thoughts on higher education are continuing to transform, there is really no limit to how you pursue your life after high school is over.
The idea that a college degree is a necessary requirement to be successful in life is far from the truth.
Skilled trades usually don’t require any formal education, and on-the-job training may be offered to those who pursue an interest. Online courses may be available at a low-cost or even free, all it takes is a little research.
Networking does wonder when it comes to pursuing work in a certain field. Attend workshops and other events that will help you land a foot in the door — and your name in the hiring arena.
The world is constantly changing. With advancements in technology happening — literally at our fingertips — choosing to continue learning and educating yourself is key to keeping up with the ever-changing job market.
Although a college degree is a necessity for some occupations, such as a brain surgeon or rocket scientist, no individual should feel pressured to pay for college just to be handed a diploma.
“Go to college if you can and if you want to do something that requires the kind of learning to be acquired in school. But if you can’t afford college, or need to work to support your family – don’t beat yourself up and don’t let it get in your way; you can still learn, grow and create a great life for yourself,” stated Erika Andersen, author of “Leading So People Will Follow.”
Success is not dependant on a college degree, and Americans are ready to embrace other ways of making an impact.