Back in December I posted about data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which showed that only one of the fastest-growing professions in America required a college degree. Today Forbes contributor Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry notes the same number, and suggests that the path to prosperity doesn’t have to lay through a college campus. And that jobs which don’t require a college diploma aren’t necessarily low-skill, or low pay:
The jobs of the future are only “low skilled” if you define “low skilled” as not requiring college. Being a good carpenter (56% growth, Jesus is still with us) or, for that matter, a good medical secretary (41% growth), takes smarts (actual smarts, not just book smarts), hard work, and dedication.
Relatedly, the jobs of the future will be high-paying. It’s simply not true that all high-paying jobs require a college degree. It’s very very possible to make a very good living as a tradesman, because good tradesmen are–and always will be, unlike Fortran programmers and data entry clerks–in high demand.
The problem with higher education in America is that we’ve come to believe that to have a good chance of being prosperous, you must have a college degree. This is perpetuated by people who work in the higher education industry, because that notion is tremendously profitable to them. Government subsidies for tuition, student loans and higher education in general have turned America’s universities into assembly lines where students are little more than delivery mechanisms for huge amounts of government funding.
The universities get paid up front. The students, however, get stuck with years and often decades worth of debt resulting from run-away tuition inflation.
We’ve turned college attendance, if not a college degree, into an entitlement to disastrous results of which we are just seeing the beginning.
Which isn’t so say that college is bad for everyone. Obviously, doctors and engineers and the like need training beyond college. But most of us aren’t going to be doctors and engineers and should make sure, before committing to big tuition payments and years of student loan debt, that the career path we’ve chosen will require a degree.