"Of the 30 jobs projected to grow at the fastest rate over the next decade in the United States, only seven typically require a bachelor’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics."
Although college graduates have a lower rate of unemployment than those with only a high school diploma, they may also be saddled with a sizable debt upon graduation. The article goes on to mention that some scholars suggest (and those scholars are college professors at that!) that college isn't the best path to success.
In this time of high national unemployment, many Americans have returned to school, many with the assumption that no investment in education is a wasted investment.
I wonder how much of that has been drilled into us by parents and politicians.
Is it worth reconsidering the value of education as the price tag on that learning goes up and the demand for jobs which require college degrees does not increase as quickly?
The push for college degrees likely adds to credential inflation. In a conversation with Professor Richard Vedder of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, he noted that he recently needed a tree to be cut down from his yard and discovered that the man who he hired to do the job had a master’s degree in English History. Dr. Vedder said that the man made for good company, but Vedder didn't imagine that the tree-cutting job was likely to be making much of a dent in any loans or debt the graduate might have acquired. Dr. Vedder suggested perhaps the U.S. government should not have funded or be funding that kind of educational investment either.
Does the pursuit of learning teach us as much to live outside our means? Is the push for higher education inspiring a culture of debt?
Education is often interpreted as a vehicle to transcend the economic lot into which we are born, a tool to climb the social ladder. Encouraging higher education may raise the competitive edge of the nation as a whole as we increasingly compete for jobs not just in America but in the global marketplace.
And although only 7 of the 30 fastest growing jobs in the nation require college degrees, it may be wise to remember that those jobs can not account for the creation of jobs we can't yet imagine. With technological innovation, social networks and human ingenuity, it may not be possible to anticipate what jobs will fill the market in the coming years. We may be that we need to keep learning and studying in order to be prepared to work in the fields we have yet to define.