Getting Ahead A Different Way!
With the economy the way it is I’ve heard many people say that they are looking to go back to school to get a degree. The big question is “Why?” The next question you should ask yourself is, “Is there a better way to reach my goal?” Now if you are looking to make a career in the medical or science fields then degrees are necessary to reach your goals, but if you are just looking to make some extra money or get a higher paying job, it might not be worth your return depending on what you choose to do.
I used to be involved in a committee that helped unemployed individuals find jobs and the statistics showed that more than 80% of all the jobs in America don’t require a degree to get and most of those jobs have on the job training. Then why all the fuss about getting a degree? I’ll tell you! Here in America we are so good at advertising and marketing that we make you think you need it! This might be a surprise to some of you but colleges and universities are all businesses and just like any business they are looking to make money! There is a reason why many more degree programs have popped up in the last several years and many more commercials offering degrees are on TV and online. They are not offering these programs from the goodness of their hearts but for the opportunity to make A LOT of money in the education industry at this time.
For programs like this to be successful they need to make sure they can get as much tuition from every student. This is one of the reasons students have seen so many unnecessary classes in the degree programs that don’t have anything to do with their degree choice but are still requirements to take. These cookie cutter programs make you spend a lot of money and a lot of time! Going back to school is a big decision since you will have to sacrifice your time, family, and take on the financial burden of a huge debt. Many traditional thinkers and those that are drinking the cool-aide will quickly say that “it will be worth it” or that “you can’t put a price on education”. I disagree! With all this “pie in the sky” talk on the successes you can get with a degree, no one takes notice that degrees don’t come with jobs or guarantees! Any degree will load you up with a lot of information and then send you on your way. Then it’s up to you to figure out what to do with that information to make money. You’ll need more than just a degree to get to your goals and that starts with becoming the right person.
To become the right person you’ll need to grow in many areas such as, personality, physical, spiritual, patience, attitude, etc. It doesn’t matter if you are the smartest person in the world in your field because if you are grumpy, have a bad attitude, arrogant, awkward, not easy to get along with, or just plain weird, than you still won’t get the job and no amount of college education is going to change that. I’ve turned away applicants that have had Masters degrees and hired individuals with a only a high school diploma, with great personality, teachable, and trained them to do the job. I can’t teach personality but I can train the right person to do any job! We all need to invest time and training in ourselves to be better and we all know we have weaknesses. If you don’t, ask a few people you trust to give you their opinions and you will find some things to work on. Even with having a degree, you’ll need to have more ammunition and ability to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack, especially those that just barely graduated and has the same general knowledge you do with no work experience. (Stay tuned for more on this subject. I will soon put out an article about “Becoming The Right Person”.)
Let me make it clear that I believe getting an "education" is vital for success and is important that we continue to learn new things. What I don’t believe is necessary for success is a degree! There are a lot of other ways to get an education such as; Job training, apprenticeship, trade school, certifications, community classes, and YoutTube (yes I’m serious)! These avenues will take lot less time and money and allow you to make good money! Many jobs only require a few months to a year of training and you can immediately get a job. I’ve recently been looking at many job boards to get an idea of how my industry is changing and what wages I will need to pay my employees to keep up with the competition. One of the biggest things I have noticed is that college degree jobs are asking for a lot more responsibility from job candidates but offering LOWER wages! I would say most of the jobs that have a good page or more worth of requirements, job descriptions, and a degree requirement to get, are only paying between $8 – $12 per hour! (Utah Wages) Most college grads only start out making an average $30k per year with a degree.
Now compare that to the job market that requires no degree:
McDonalds: Management $30-$50k. No experience necessary, benefits, free food, Tuition reimbursement program, quick advancement & higher pay.
Fork Lift Operator: $30k Yr, On the job training, tuition reimbursement, overtime available, advancement available.
Truck Driving: $30-$70k Yr. 4-5weeks of training.
EMT/ Paramedic: $20-$50k Yr. 3 months – 1 year Training
Heavy Machinery: $20-$50k Yr. 3 months – 1 year Training. On the job training available!
Appliance Technician: $30-$70k Yr. On the job training available!
Electrician: $30-$100k Yr. On the job training available! Start as Journeyman and grow from there.
Construction Flagger – $20-$35 Yr. 1-3wk training course.
Police Officer (POST) – $30k-$70k Yr. 6 Months Training – (Highway Patrol sometimes will Sponsor you through this program.)
Firefighting – 6 months – 1 year Training. (Agencies like to see EMT/ Paramedic training to go along with this.)
Wildland Firefighting – 3 Weeks Training, Pay depends on fire season. Approx $16 per hr. They pay full 12-18hr shifts when out on a fire. Even when sleeping! Seasonal in some states, Most agencies will pay for your training and certification.
Security Guard – $20-$40k Yr. Several weeks to a couple months of training.
(CNA) Certified Nursing Assistant – $20-$40k Yr. 3 Months Training.
There are a lot more jobs to add to this list and many offer on the job training! With many of these jobs you can grow in a company and increase your salary.
There are so many ways to get to your goals and many opportunities to go after than just sticking with the traditional education system wasting a lot of time and amounting a lot of debt that will be difficult to pay off later. (Most students will take 20-30yrs to pay it off.)
Now I won’t disagree that I’d prefer certain job titles over others but when it comes down to this economy and our family perhaps we are looking into more of ego growth than really what is in the best interest of the family or ourselves. You will not only be making the same amount with a degree as those without but you will have a burden of debt over you for many years after. (Many are spending $500 per month or more to pay off college debts!)
I feel that many employers have found out that many degree people are willing to trade more responsibility for less money for a fancy title that caters to their ego. Many employers are using more flashy work “Titles” and “Job Descriptions” that cater more to ego than anything else.
And to those who are thinking about getting a Masters Degree, this is what Liz Pulliam Weston from MSN Money said:
“Some degrees are a step back. Thinking of a master’s degree in a liberal arts or social sciences field? Let’s hope you’re in it for the love of learning, because on average there doesn’t seem to be any financial payoff. “
Before you go enrolling in a school that is going to take time and money away from you and your family you might want to take a look at other avenues of getting quick, cheap, reliable education for advancement. The goal is supporting your family, getting to your goals and getting the most out of your investment! It's about learning SKILL SETS that will give you an edge in the work force.
Remember this world is really about WHO you know not what you know! Put away the pride and let friends and family know that you are in the job market. See if their company is hiring. Get out there and meet new people. Companies are more likely to hire someone that is referred to them. Become the right person!
There are many jobs out there that can provide a good way of life for you and your family without a lot of sacrifice and cost. I hope this article can help broaden your views in this decision.
You don’t need a degree to be successful, you just need to open your senses to the opportunities around you!