Attending college these days is a pricey bill to foot. With student loan debts off the charts, it is no wonder that countless amounts of teenagers, parents, and college students are left wondering what a college education is truly worth. They might be asking if a college degree is really necessary to start a career, especially since unemployment rates are low even for college graduates. These, however, are just a few of the concerns about the continuing value of college degrees.

Making the Right Decision

Simply put, no person definitively requires a college degree to make a career for themselves. While there are a career paths that unavoidably require a college education – like doctors and lawyers – there are plenty of careers with no educational prerequisites or degree requirements. Many companies allow their employees to start at an entry level position and work their way to higher ranks over time. Others only require a high school education. The most important thing to keep in mind is knowing and understanding what it takes to break into a desired career field before spending thousands of dollars on college tuition and student loans.

Facts and Figures

According to Tuition.io, about 13 million workers in the United States who have Bachelor’s degrees or higher are employed in occupations that only require a high school education or less. In keeping with that 13 million statistic, The Huffington Post says that number is about half of all Bachelor’s degree holders who are employed. There are simply too few job openings and options for the amount of job seekers with college degrees out there. Thus, college degree holders are opting for careers in both skilled and non-skilled trades that have no connection with their education. Many are becoming waiters, taxi drivers, and manufacturers – none of which require a college education.

The problem with having no post-secondary education is the average wage earnings. Though many degree holders have only been able to find jobs in fields that do not require a college education, the average annual salary of those with a high school diploma (about $30,000) is still half that of the average annual salary of those who have a bachelor’s or AA degree (about $60,000). There is, however, a silver lining. The median yearly salary for those with an Associate’s degree is almost the equivalent of those with 4-year degrees – both hovering at about 60,000 dollars a year. Therefore, when considering a college, 2-year junior colleges should not automatically be discounted. The value of an AA degree is on par with a Bachelor’s degrees, and they cost much less in tuition, fees, and student debt.

Evaluating the Statistics

Clearly, the statistics lean in favor of those who hold some sort of post-secondary degree. Whether it is an Associate’s degree or a Master’s, the odds are that degree holder will be making a significant amount of money more than those with a high school diploma or GED. The statistics, however, are just numbers, and do not account for the glaring inconsistencies and lack of available career openings for those that do have a college degree. It is best to be informed of the available options before shelling out the cash for a college degree.

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