With the costs of higher education on the rise, it’s perfectly reasonable for people to question the validity of such an investment.
After all, according to College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2013–2014 school year was $30,094 at private colleges, $8,893 for state residents at public colleges, and $22,203 for out-of-state residents attending public universities. Ouch.
Even if you qualify for financial aid or get a few scholarships, you’ll likely be on the hook for thousands of dollars in expenses- and miss out on several years of earnings as well.
So, is a college degree worth it?
Yes, a College Degree is Worth It
With that being said, most experts agree that a college degree is still a good investment regardless of the growing costs. For example, Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that college-educated adults are employed at a rate nearly twice the rate of those with only a high school education.
Furthermore, statistics show that adults with a Bachelor’s degree earn approximately 75 percent more than high school grads throughout the course of a lifetime- with the total difference being as much as $1 million dollars! And it’s not just Bachelor’s degrees that pay off either; workers with an Associate’s degree have been shown to earn as much as $325,000 more than their high school-educated peers during that time.
Choose Your Degree Carefully
But the type of degree you pursue can make a world of difference. My husband, for example, earned his first Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts. Now imagine how deflated he felt when he learned that the paper his degree was printed on was worth more than the degree itself, and the only job he could get in downtown Chicago was data entry. In other words, certain degrees are a bad investment, and theatre is one of those degrees.
Still, others can be particularly fruitful in today’s working world. A recent study by CNN news calculated the average ROI (return on investment) for several types of college degrees in order to provide a comparison:
- Engineering: 21%
- Math and Computers: 18%
- Business: 17%
- Social Sciences: 15%
- Liberal Arts: 12%
- Leisure and Hospitality: 11%
Some Careers Don’t Require a Degree
Of course, some careers no longer require a degree at all. For example, I’ve been working as a web-based writer for over two years now and have never had a client request my resume or ask whether I have a degree in journalism. They might be surprised to find out that I studied nursing in college instead, but I doubt they would care.
Beyond blogging and writing online, there are plenty of other careers that don’t require a college degree as well- dental assistants, web developers, executive secretaries, medical secretaries, legal assistants, carpenters, electricians, and plumbers. Most of these careers require some type of training program in lieu of a traditional degree, and some on-the-job training as well. However, you can often avoid the rising costs of a college education by pursuing one of these paths.
Should You Earn a College Degree?
The fact is, some careers require a college degree to get started. You can’t work as an accountant without a college degree, for example. And you can’t begin a career as a registered nurse before completing the educational requirements and becoming certified.
With that being said, it all depends on the career you want and whether a college degree will hold you back or help you get your foot in the door. No matter what you decide, run the numbers first. If a college degree makes sense on paper, then it is likely a good investment.
Do you think a college degree is worth it?
About The Author: This post was written by VOSA Staff Writer Holly Johnson. Holly is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty. Check out more of her super awesome skills at clubthrifty.com. If you’re interested in writing for Vosa contact us here.
Image Credits: © Depositphotos.com / minervastock / 578foot