To College or Not to College, That is the Question.

By David Straka, CWDP  Case Manager

I remember growing up and my Dad always saying, “You have to go to college to get a good job.”  Was his statement really true?  Does everyone really need to go to a four year college for a degree?  Is it a good fit for everyone?  I believe the answer is no.  Let’s take a look at some approaches to the career process.career2

The first approach is the traditional college route.  Unless you are going to be a Doctor, Lawyer or Indian Chief, you may want to give this very serious thought.  You have decided to take up a four year degree in Basket Weaving with a minor in Underwater Polo, you probably put yourself into a degree that will not get you anywhere and $40,000 in debt!  How do you keep from falling in this trap?  The answer is research!

Researching your career choices is critical if you are just coming out of high school or as an adult looking to become more marketable.  Make sure your degree area is going to make you competitive in the market.  A couple of good places on line include O*NET OnLine and America’s Career InfoNet.

A Masters in Business Administration will get you much farther than just a four year degree in Business Administration.  A four year degree in Mechanical Engineering will put you way ahead because it is technical and in demand.

The second approach is a two year degree at a community college.  Same rules apply with this approach.  A two year degree in Business Management is only as good as what type of specialty the degree includes.  When you include Business Management with Accounting, you have just put yourself ahead of the pack.

Community colleges and private schools also offer certificate programs that can lead you to marketable careers.  In Southeast Michigan, employers are in need of CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) Machine Operators.  Research!

Thirdly, self employment is an option but not for the faint of heart.  This requires great commitment, self discipline and a lot of planning.  You can make a lot of money doing this but remember you will be working more than an eight hour day.

I once had a brother in law that never went to college.  He started working with a guy he knew in a small town that did floor covering installation.  He learned the trade from this person and eventually went out on his own and established a customer base.  It was very tough going with two kids and a wife.  After years of hard work and determination, he ended up with a very nice income.  Why do I bring this up?  It’s very simple.  I went to college and spent a lot of money.  He didn’t go to college and now makes more than twice what I do in a year.

Research, talk to people in the line of work you are interested in entering, talk to a career planner/case manager at your nearest One Stop Career Center and make a good plan!  This way your degree will not end up drowning the horse when you are trying to do Underwater Polo!


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