As you approach high school graduation the thought of college will be at the forefront of your mind. For years, you have probably been told that college is your pathway to a career, success, and financial stability. However, as many students do find, college is not for everyone. Deciding whether or not college education is worth it is dependent on your own goals in life.
College Education Still Matters for Key Industries
The short truth is that you don’t need a college education to be successful and happy in your life. However, there are specific scenarios where a degree or higher qualification is absolutely necessary to get even an entry level position in a certain industry.
If you want a career in medicine or engineering, then you will need a college education. If you are interested in sciences and want to become a researcher in any field, then you will find it incredibly difficult if not impossible to progress without a college degree.
In specific areas of Law Enforcement, you will find that a college degree will also be necessary. As an example, it is a mandatory requirement for Special Agents in the FBI to have a minimum of four years’ college education.
Research your career interests and note the average minimum requirements for job applicants. Some industries and professions require a college degree but don’t prefer any specific area of study. In these cases, a degree is used more of a gauge of your commitment, focus, and ability to learn.
There are Alternatives Like Apprenticeships and Vocational Schools
While some professions and industries still do require degrees and offer very little flexibility, there are a number of career opportunities where an apprenticeship or short-course certificate will be all that you need. Working as a professional massage or physical therapist, a medical encoder, executive assistant, or HVAC technician are all examples where a certificate, diploma, or apprenticeship can be used instead of obtaining a formal college education.
Trades in particular are not suited to college degrees because they rely heavily on skills and practical experience. As an example, an aircraft maintenance technician can learn a lot more being an apprentice in the industry than they would in a classroom on a college campus.
Again, think about where you want to go with your career, and research the education requirements and learning opportunities that are available.
College Still has Its Place but it’s Not the Only Option
People can be quick to dismiss college as something that’s not necessary in the modern job market. That’s simply not true. While college is definitely not the only way to succeed; it is still critical for certain industries, and there’s still a lot of value to be gained from having a college degree.
The key is to decide what you want out of your future, and find out whether college fits. If you don’t need a degree for your preferred industry, then it makes no sense to spend years and tens of thousands of dollars to obtain one.