Yes, I’m a certificate seeking student again. I’m back in college and on the home stretch. I’m a longtime senior student who, with a bit of luck, will be graduating this spring. I’ve conformed to college for one reason, and it’s not all the silly little hoops that I must jump through to get it. It’s a bachelor’s degree or bust for this bachelor, and I’ll tell you why.
Money makes the world go ‘round. Anthony P. Carnevale, President of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, said, “On average, skipping an associate degree will cost a high school graduate half a million dollars in earnings, and skipping a bachelor’s degree will cost $1 million in potential earnings over a lifetime.”
A million bucks isn’t what it used to be, but it’s not chump change either.
The amount of money missed by not furthering your education is one thing, but the ability to even get a job that pays a living wage is another.
I’ve had almost every job, from Georgia to Washington, that a guy could get without a college degree and few showed me the promise of a career.
I’ve worked in construction, furniture delivery, pizza delivery, warehousing, waiting, bartending, office supply, parks and recreation, hotel maintenance, landscaping, lawn mowing, call centers, and various attendant jobs from guest to parking-lot.
Out of all those jobs, only construction, bartending and waiting showed real income potential and lasting availability, but that was before the recession.
Since the recession, construction jobs have plummeted and, with them, architectural jobs as well.
According to the “Hard Times” study from the Center on Education and the Workforce, “…unemployment rates for recent college graduates who majored in Architecture start high at 13.9 percent and due to its strong alignment with the collapse in construction and housing, unemployment remains high even for experienced college graduates at 9.2 percent.”
The same study did, however, find that college is still the best option for young workers, but concluded that not all majors pay off equally.
Carnevale said, “People keep telling kids to study what they love — but some loves are worth more than others. When people talk about college, there are all these high-minded ideas about it making people better citizens and participating fully in the life of their times. All that’s true, but go talk to the unemployed about that.”
If you’re curious about the economic viability of your major, you should go to, http://cew.georgetown.edu/unemployment/.
There are other factors to consider when selecting a major, and you may have no control over some of them.
According to a study released by Princeton on Jan. 31, 2012, “Students pursuing STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering, and math) were more likely than other students to report having a sibling with an autism spectrum disorder. Additionally, students intending to major in the humanities were more likely to say that they, an immediate family member or their grandparent had been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder or substance abuse problems.”
So, I guess you could say that your family history has more to do with determining your major than economic factors, but if you’re undecided, you might want to at least look into it.