Is It Worth It to Get a College Degree?

is it worth it to get a college degree

A college diploma is becoming less and less necessary in the job market. With college tuition costing an average of $30,000 a year, many college graduates are having trouble finding jobs that pay enough to cover their student debt. The unemployment rate for college graduates is at 6%. This means that one out of every 17 college graduates cannot find work. If you want to be able to get by on your own, should you go back to school? Is it worth it to get a college degree?

Straight out of high school

Traditionally, the path to college begins immediately after high school.  However, college isn’t for everyone. There are life and career options that don’t require college or a college degree; they do not come with the same benefits as college degrees but can provide security in their own right.

Six month certificate program

There are many certificate programs you can complete depending on the job you want to pursue. Some certificate programs can last two or more years while others can be completed in six months or less. While longer certificate programs can sometimes earn higher wages, six-month programs allow you to find and acquire jobs faster so you can begin earning more quickly, and often don’t accrue the financial debt that a college diploma can leave you with. The following positions require a certificate from programs that can be completed in six months:

  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Funeral Director
  • Brick Mason
  • Personal trainer
  • Medical Coder
  • Firefighter
  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Mechanic
  • A/C and Refrigeration

Each of these careers, and many more, are high paying, in-demand fields that can be secured with a six-month certificate. No need to spend the time and money to pursue a college diploma if any of these fields interest you.

Two year associate’s degree

Another option for those who have recently graduated from high school but are not sure that a college diploma is in their future is a two-year associate’s degree. Many local community colleges offer programs that are completed within a two-year time frame, and can open up lots of career opportunities. The requirements for admission to a community college vary dramatically, but most programs don’t require students to take expensive and time-consuming tests like the SAT or the ACT. Most of the time, a high school diploma or GED is enough to achieve admittance to a two-year associate’s program, so those that didn’t get the best grades in high school can still receive some higher education. Some careers that are available with a two-year degree are:

  • Air traffic controller
  • Computer programmer
  • Radiation therapist
  • Nuclear Technician
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologist
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Registered Nurse

This is just a small sample of the types of careers you can pursue with a two-year associate’s degree. In fact, because many of these programs are so specialized and the training is so rigorous, there are employers who prefer hiring candidates with an associate’s degree over those with a college diploma.

Later in Life

One good thing about a college diploma is that it can be earned at any stage during your life. You don’t need to be 18 years old and straight out of high school in order to be accepted to or attend a college or university, and you certainly don’t need to be fresh from high school to accept your college diploma. 

College Credits for Life Experience

It’s becoming increasingly common to earn college credits based on life experience. A college diploma earned this way is called an experiential degree, and it allows adults who have years of work-related expertise to be awarded the same college diploma as their peers. An entire degree earned through life credit is extremely rare, but it is possible to cut down on the number of classes required to be awarded a college diploma by inquiring about credit for work and life experience.

Making Choices

One difficult part about choosing college later in life is the financial struggle it can lead an individual into. Depending on where you go to university, a college diploma can run anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not to mention the time away from work and family obligations that may be necessary in order to complete all coursework. Oftentimes adults who choose to go back to school need to make some very difficult choices and sacrifices in order to reach their goals.

Is it worth it to get a College Degree? It’s just a piece of paper

There are certainly many people who attend college in order to further their careers or to obtain training that is required for the career path they would like to pursue. There are others though who simply want the piece of paper they are handed at the end of the experience. For those who just want a college diploma to hang on their wall there is an alternative that will allow them to pursue their chosen field with much less time and money invested, and display a replica to impress visitors. Check out a company like ValidGrad where you can find authentic looking college diplomas, high school degrees, GED certificates and many more impressive documents. Get a diploma to hang on your wall without the years of wasted time and money.

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