GigSpire was asked:“With the rising costs of education and the foggy job outlook,how valuable is a college degree in today’s workforce? In fields where a degree is recommended but not required, does the increased pay a degree brings worth the cost of obtaining it?”
Today’s job market is clouded with question marks about the value of a college education. For those who are about to enter the professional workforce, nothing is more valuable than experience. For those who are currently investing in an education, make certain to get experience related to your field of study as soon as possible. This means get internships, minor jobs and even volunteer work. That exposure to the workforce will give you an upper hand against those who have the same degree but have never worked.
There are specific careers that absolutely require an advanced education and many of these are rooted in “white collar” professions. For many jobs though, even some that state in a job description that a degree is “required,” this is not necessarily so.
More than a degree, employers want competent people who are skilled and capable to do the job successfully. Professions like sales, administrative, retail, management and many others have no relevant bearing to the attainment of a degree. The degree requirement is often just a screening tool, used by employers to find people who have the ability to finish something once it is started.
Other professions do require an education or formal training of some sort such as mechanics, medical technicians and information technology workers. These positions may not require a 4 year degree but they do have a prerequisite foundation of knowledge to perform the work.
Addressing the perception that the college degree may not have value in the employment market is false. Studies have shown that people who have an advanced degree will earn on average $250,000 more than their non-degreed counterparts. Additionally the connections made and experiences learned in a college environment often are avenues for a person to grow by being exposed to so many different ideas, cultures and personalities.
Making the decision to complete a 4 year degree should not be made lightly. Individuals should evaluate their long-term career goals. For those who are unsure of their career path, we recommend taking some courses which can be done through online classes or through local community colleges at an affordable price.
People should never stop learning, whether in a formalized educational setting or not. If a person does choose to pursue a degree, the best way to maximize an immediate return on investment at graduation is to take steps to gain experience prior to graduation. Prepare by establishing a network of people to contact at least a year before completing the degree so that when you leave school, people know your name and can refer you into opportunities.
Nothing get a job faster than a good network.