Years ago, obtaining a four-year degree guaranteed a certain lifestyle. However, today as a result of the recession and changes in how companies in America do business is this really the right advice to give young Christian students?
Are we setting our child up with false hope for a "better" life? Do we understand the changes in our society and the needs of today's companies?
Many associate degree holders are doing just as well as their four-year college counterparts. If this is true, why should Christian parents take on such a financial burden? Are we really equipping our children for the future? What type of future are we trying to give them? Is it a future that is money driven or mission driven? Are you a failure in life if you do not have a Bachelor Degree?
President Obama has set a goal to increase the number of college educated graduates, but if there is no guarantee of jobs for college educated adults is this really a viable goal? More college educated people in the population will increase the demand for college level positions.
Realistically, how many college educated positions can a company afford? What are students with degrees in Communications, Psychology, Business, Child Development, History, and Theatre Arts Degree doing and making after graduation? How about three years after graduation, has much changed finacially? Do we need to encourage students to enter more skills driven fields?
The U.S. Labor Research have found that half the students who begin their freshman year actually complete college with a degree. The majority of students who attend college actually do so by borrowing money by taking out loans; however, this means that they begin their career in debt. College debt is a big problem in America which will affect everything else you try to do.
Unfortunately, A good number of college graduates find themselves working along side high school and associate degree graduates as they spend years paying their dues and trying to navigate up the corporate ladder which is filled with babyboomers who can't afford to retire. Many graduates are realizing that their salaries are not rising despite their additional education or work ethics. If you are lucky enough to get a good government job that is wonderful; however, the average American worker is not getting their raises.
There is a new movement called Blue Collar and Loving It. As a result of everyone going to college there is now a shortage in the blue collar arena. I am referring to skilled labors not manufacturing jobs. As a result of supply and demand, many blue collar workers are making more money than their college counterparts especially on the east coast.
Many do not have the added burden of repaying loans. Should Christian parents teach their children to be good stewards of their money by first attending a community college and then transfer? Do we need to encourage students to get into the job market straight out of high school and continue their degree online. Should college only be option for those who want to be teachers, doctors or engineeers? Lets be honest with our children, many people who own a business and work in the IT field do not hold a Bachelor Degree.
Here are some BLUE COLLAR Fields in demand that your child might want to explore:
(This data is according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Air Traffic Controller $100K
Funeral Director $70,000
Elevator Repair 69,000
Dental Hygienist 67,000
Registered Nurse 62,000
Real Estate Broker 58,000
Commercial Pilot 54,000
Real Estate Agents 53,000
Postal Clerk 51,000
Physical Therapist 46,000
HVAC Technican 45,000
Police Officer 40,000
Administrative Asst 40,000
Truck Driver 37,000
Insurance Clerks 35,000
Court Clerks 35,000
Dental Assistant 33,000
Bookkeeping Clerk 33,000
Phys Therapist Aide 30,000
Pharmacy Aide 22,000
Home Health Aide 21,000
Parents need to inform their children of all the options in society. Everyone does not need a Bachelor Degree to be successful. If one choose not to attend a four year-degree program they can still be successful. It is great to promote advance education but too many people are making their children feel that just because they have a Bachelor Degree they will automatically live at a certain level.
Many people have argued that this Skill Labors/Blue Collar Jobs is demeaning to minorities who should be going to college. Money is green, students should not be pushed into college if what they want to achieve can me accomplished on the associate degree level. There are too many young people in debt which is in itself a burden just as equal to being poor and not going to school at all. Living within ones means is not a sin.
Many parents need to also encourage their children to consider working and attending college on the weekends and/or online. Today, more parents are using retirement to pay for college and refinancing their homes. Living in debt is the same bondage as living poor, except that many of todays college graduates are pretending to be doing better than they actually are. The strategies of the past are not necessary going to work in the future. Let's teach our children to be good stewards and explore all options.