The average college student will graduate with $37,172 in debt. College grads generally make around $50,000 once they enter the job market (if, of course, they can find employment.) This causes many people to wonder: Is university for everyone? Would entering a skilled trade be a smarter choice for many young adults?
We have this idea in our society that a college degree is the gateway to financial freedom and success. But the statistics don’t necessarily bear that out. Most college grads end up moving home after graduation to live with their parents, and it takes several months or more for them to find a job. In many cases, that job won’t be in their field of interest, and these young people end up spending a good chunk of their paycheck paying off their hefty student loans.
In contrast, skilled trade workers make $50,000 a year (similar to a new college graduate’s annual salary), and they have around $2,500 in student loan debt as opposed to $37,000.
Getting a 2-year degree can be a very smart move for many Americans. Baby Boomers are retiring in droves, and as they do so, they will be leaving many of their jobs in skilled trades like carpentry and electrical work. Companies will need trained workers to replace this staff, and those few that can fill these positions will be in high demand. Alternatively, a college graduate with a degree in communications will be competing with millions of other equally qualified and motivated young people with similar degrees.
It really depends on your goals. Some careers certainly will require a 4-year degree. However, the reality is that we need skilled workers in this country, and companies are willing to pay good money to get that. Some will even pay for your training…meaning you can actually get paid to learn invaluable job skills that will look good on your resume no matter what career you end up choosing.