Many people are now questioning the importance of a college education.  Once entering the work-place you get to see that maybe this is true.    We see so many people who attended college leave with not much more than when they went in and some who end up doing work that is totally unrelated to the field in which they majored.

On the other hand, we see people who never went to college or university becoming highly successful in a variety of different areas of work. So is success random, as easy as winning a Jackpot Capital Bonus or is it something else?  What is happening here?

Why do some people have difficulties, in spite of having a qualification from a reputable college and some have successful careers doing something completely different from that for which they studied, and those highly successful people who never went on to higher education at all.  Could it be that success cannot be attributed only to a college education?

A college degree may not be necessary 

Basically, when you leave college or university you receive a certificate which states that you have acquired a certain level of education material.   This does not necessarily transfer easily into the world outside of the educational institution.

This certificate doesn’t give you immediate access into a high paying job.  Some college degrees have little market value and jobs are scarce.   Companies seeking new employees are looking for those who show eagerness to learn, have useful and marketable skills and will prove valuable to them.

Perhaps it is true, it is not all about the money.  Many people choose to study degrees that will make them happy, rather than wealthy. And we know that you can become successful without a university degree.  However, education is necessary.  You do need to work hard, learn much and be prepared to adapt.

The importance of receiving an education and learning marketable skills

Getting an education is not the same as acquiring a degree. An education can mean many things, including formal and non-formal, apprenticeships, work training certificates and professional licenses.   At local colleges it is possible to learn skills and other educational tools that will give you what is needed to enter the professional work place and you will pay considerably less in school fees but likely to end up with more marketable skills.

There are a multitude of work paths which do not need you to have a degree, but can lead to success.   However, they do need a commitment, hard work and the willingness to continue learning.   Successful actors, athletes, musicians and many others strive to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in their chosen fields and this does not include a 4- year college degree.

Often the amount of study, training and learning needed goes way beyond the 4 year’s in takes to complete a traditional college degree.  Maybe these specific careers are only representative of the few.   The majority of people are not likely to aspire to these careers so what is the practical solution for the rest of us?

Many people are highly successful, some making huge sums, as small business owners. Not necessarily considered exciting, but they have very successful careers.

From electricians to plumbers to mechanics.   These businesses start slowly, take patience, persistence, hard work and the willingness to continue learning. But they are open to anyone.   Education is of course essential.

Acquiring the necessary skills, license or certificate to begin is required.  And these skills will always be needed.  These are marketable skills that don’t require a college degree, that can be relied upon.  We will always need the services of electricians, plumbers and mechanics.  These are careers worth investing time and energy in.

Will people pay for your skills?

It definitely is worthwhile to take some time to think about your chosen career path. Think about what skills you will be learning and how useful they will be.  Will people pay you for those skills?

Ultimately, we need people to pay us for our expertise.  Many people leave college with huge debts and little prospects of getting that job they dreamed of.   Marketable skills are crucial.   You can gain these at local community courses at much lower costs and in half the time.

Also, by reading and accessing many free online courses.  Instead of blindly signing up for that 4- year degree, think about what skills you need to be developing in order to make yourself marketable.

Starting up on your own

As an electrician, plumber or any other skilled worker, you can work for someone else and that is fine.  But you could decide to start up your own business.  An exciting prospect, and of course you do have to have something people want.

Today with the internet there are so many services and skills that people are willing to pay for.  Freelance writing, design, marketing, video design and all kinds of technical support. Think about those skills you have and how you can develop them further.

What do you need to learn that will increase your skills and that you will be able to offer a service people will pay for.

Some professions do require a degree, but not all.  

If you are looking to work in science, engineering, medicine or law then a degree is required.  It is unlikely to gain access to these fields without at least a first level degree so you have very little choice.  But there are many other career paths where this is not the case.

You can get onto a career path with much less schooling time and begin earning money immediately.  Sitting in school for 4 years is not for everyone.  For some it is better to acquire the necessary marketable skills needed and to get out into the world and start on their career.

Advice on how to best invest in your education

Whether you go for a 4- year college degree or decide to learn in a local community school there are some tips you should follow:

  • It costs money whatever you decide to do.  Learning for a degree, acquiring specific skills or starting a business.  You will need to start saving for this venture.  A good strategy will be needed.   You need to think about the costs involved and how much you need to allocate for this and what your budget should be.
  • You need to explore the various options you have to pay for your choice.  There are often scholarships available, work-study options and also grants.   It is important to really know the advantages and disadvantages of each option and how they relate to your specific goals and the budget you have set yourself.
  • Once you’ve made your choice it is important to stick to a plan that will keep you financially successful even in school.   Make a realistic budget and always stick to it.  Don’t live outside your means and have in mind that you need to establish a good credit rating that will take you forward once you leave school.
  • It is actually often possible to save money in college.  Many student discounts exist, from travel passes to purchasing books and other student materials.
  • Keep your long- term goal in mind and make good choices.  Perhaps moving back home is something to be considered.  Saving money while you work and study can be a clever choice.

In conclusion

The success you achieve in life is not dependent on you receiving a degree.  It is much more about the choices and actions you choose on your path.  Whether you choose to go to college for that 4-year degree or study at a local college to gain that license needed to begin your career, know that both are valid options.

Everyone needs to know that a college degree is not the only way to go.  It is not right for everyone, and that is fine.  Success and happiness can be achieved in a variety of ways.  Know yourself and choose wisely.