Last Updated: October 14, 2019, 5:00 pm

The ghost shackles of higher education

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The value of bachelor’s degrees has deteriorated, but there is still is a chance to salvage it.

Schools all across the United States encourage their students to pursue higher education even though the value of a bachelor’s degree is becoming increasingly ineffective when compared to previous years.

“To break the stigma, people – and especially students – should consider and encourage both traditional and trade schools as an option.”

Philip de la vega, DSN STAFF

According to statistics from Georgetown University, in 1970 only 26% of the middle class completed post-secondary education; in 2007, 61% of the middle-class need a post-secondary education to get a job because the qualifications had changed.

The reason for this is because many lower-skill jobs are being outsourced to different countries and our technology has allowed us to no longer have to do mundane, repetitive work. This leaves the job market with more complicated jobs that require critical thinking skills and management positions.

Because the demand for college-educated people has increased, it has caused people to go back to school for a higher level of education. Another consequence of this demand is an increase in the wage gap between people who have bachelor’s degrees and those with a high school diploma.

Therefore, the value of a bachelor’s degree will eventually be equivalent to a high school diploma.

Some say the lack of lower-skilled jobs leaves the U.S. in a state of only pursuing higher education for the sake of success; however, this isn’t true. There’s still a demand for lower-skill jobs in the United States. Trade and vocational schools are still an option. The assumption that a bachelor’s degree is needed to be successful is inherently wrong.

From a financial perspective, vocational school education makes sense. A dental hygienist brings in a median annual salary of $72,910 while electricians and HVAC technicians make up an annual wage of over $40,000. All the while, less than one-third of these positions will require any type of traditional college degree. In comparison, trade schools cost significantly less time and money. Trade schools, on average, cost $33,000 and take up to two years to finish. Traditional colleges can cost up to $100,000 and take four or more years to complete. All the while, less than one-third of trade positions will require any type of traditional college degree.

Having a successful life does not derive from having a higher education. Instead, obtaining a practical skill is what is important, whether it’s the skill of an electrician or the education of a business major. To break the stigma, people – and especially students – should consider and encourage both traditional and trade schools as an option.

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