Do You Really Need a College Degree?

Published on 15 February 2010 by Jamie Mack in Job Search

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iStock 000009914464XSmall Do You Really Need a College Degree?

We’ve heard it for years, we grew up with it being pounded into our heads: Education, education, education.  Stay in school, go to college so you can get a degree and get a good job.  These were the words from our youth, and they can still be heard today.  The world is changing at a fast pace thanks to technology so the question remains: do you really need a college degree?

Historically, those with more education have seen less unemployment. According to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor, unemployment rates for individuals with a college education has ranged from 2% to about 5% since 2008, compared to a range of 4.7% to 11% for those with only a high school diploma.  However, this trend has worsened in the current job market. According to this article published last summer, only about 19.7% who graduated from college were able to find a job, down from a whopping 51% in 2007.

Common sense dictates that, no you do not always need a college degree to get a good, well-paying job, or to be considered successful.  And not everyone is cut out for college.  Check out this list of 100 entrepreneurs who, for one reason or another did not receive a college degree.  Some very successful, and influential names—past and present—can be found there.

The people listed above followed their hearts, seemingly abandoning the conventional wisdom, and look where that got them. Author Ray Bradbury, in Zen in the Art of Writing, counsels a person to “look to his zest, to see his gusto…” in order to “rush him along the road to where he wants to go…”. Though he was speaking to writers, it is sound advice to anyone seeking real fulfillment in life instead of simply a paycheck.

Throughout human history it has often been those individuals who buck the trends that leave the deepest impressions on the future. At the end of the day if one is following their heart, who is to say they are on the wrong path?

Everyone should carefully observe which way his heart draws him, and then choose that way with all his strength.

Hasidic Saying

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  2. [...] Last time we discussed the necessity – or lack thereof -  in getting a college degree and this time I thought we might take a look at a few career fields that do not require one.  There are career choices out there that fit the bill, but according to this article in Forbes there aren’t many compared to the degree-required type. [...]