With rising college costs, student debt, and changing technology, many people wonder if a bachelor’s degree is actually worth it. The answer depends on your interests and career goals. To determine whether a bachelor’s degree is worth it to you, consider the following questions.
Can You Get a Job?
While some top companies like Google and Netflix don’t require a college degree, that’s not yet the norm in many industries. Some employers won’t hire people without a degree regardless of their skill level. In certain fields, some jobs will automatically reject you if you don’t have a degree. In other fields, it may be a case-by-case and employer-by-employer decision. If you are unsure about the field you want to pursue, the best thing you can do is look at some job postings around the country.
That said, the outlook on degrees are changing, particularly in some fields. Some skills, such as coding or graphic design, may not require degrees if you can prove that you know what you’re doing. If you can develop skills through a bootcamp, trade school, or your own experience and be able to prove your knowledge, many companies will be willing to hire you. Alternatively, you can choose a field where having a degree isn’t generally a requirement.
To determine whether you can get a job or not, consider your interests and if it is expected in that field to have a degree or if there are alternative paths that are acceptable.
What Is Your Earning Potential Like?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with degrees make more money on average and over the course of their careers than people without degrees. Employers in many fields are simply willing to pay more money to people with degrees. The Bureau also states that people with degrees are less likely to be unemployed and that people with degrees are more likely to have health insurance through their work.
But that doesn’t mean you have to have a degree to make good money. For example, people in trades like welding or plumbing may make more money than some with degrees because of the demand for those positions.
Earning potential is important to consider before getting a degree that will put you in debt. If you’re unable to get a job that will pay off the debt, the time and cost of college may not be worth it in the long run.
So, determine your career interests, research what people get paid in that career, and then weight the cost of the degree against your earning potential and lifestyle goals. If the average salary for someone in your field is $30,000, you might not want to get a degree that will put you in $100,000 in debt. In that case, you might want to consider other ways to learn the skills or a less expensive school.
Overall, whether a bachelor’s degree is worth it depends on an individual’s financial goals and what fields they want to go to. We think anyone considering a degree should also consider alternative paths to see what the right option is for them.