You may be wondering if going to college is worth it anymore. After all, the media is full of stories about college grads who can’t find jobs and adults forced to move back home with Mom and Dad. Student loan debt statistics aren’t pretty, either.
There’s no denying that the world is home to some super successful people without college degrees, but your chances of becoming the next Bill Gates are pretty slim. If you’re on the fence, here are 5 reasons why a college degree is still a good idea.
According to a 2012 study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, unemployment rates among job seekers with bachelor’s degrees is 8.9 percent. Sound bad? Nearly 23 percent of high school graduates and 31.5 percent of high school drop-outs are unemployed.
Research has found that people who possess a bachelor’s degree now earn 84 percent more over the course of their lifetimes than people who only have high school diplomas. Median lifetime earnings for today’s bachelor’s degree holders is roughly $2.3 million while median lifetime earnings for high school graduates is approximately $1.3 million.
There is a growing number of high-paying jobs that only require two-year degrees, particularly in the healthcare industry. For example, the median annual wage for a dental hygienist with an associate’s degree is nearly $70,000 and many radiation therapists earn even more than that.
By 2018, the U.S. will need 22 million new workers with associate degrees or higher. At least 4.7 million new workers with post-secondary certificates will also be needed. Careers with high levels of non-repetitive tasks, such as professional and managerial positions, generally require a degree or other training past the high school level. Jobs that mainly involve repetitive tasks, such as blue collar work or production jobs, are on the decline.
Even if you wind up applying for jobs that are unrelated to your college major, these are both qualities that prospective employers desire. It’s important to realize, though, that your college major will play a role in your post-college job hunt and your earning potential. Unemployment rates for college graduates vary significantly by type of degree. Majoring in musical theater may be a blast, but the demand for Broadway performers is not as high as the demand for nurses.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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