A college degree will always be an important path to work. But it’s not the only path, or even the best one.
The quarterly review of innovative applications in alternative education
“To get a good job you must have a bachelor’s degree.” This is a common myth that needs to be
debunked. For years, Americans have been told that, with the decline in manufacturing, the blue collar job that required a high school degree or less was gone for good.
The truth is that not all good jobs for people with less than a bachelor’s degree have been eliminated. Far from it. There are 30 million jobs in the U.S. that pay good wages without a B.A.: The median salary is $55,000 with an opportunity to move up the career ladder.
But it’s important to understand that today’s good jobs are different from those of the past. Job seekers without a B.A. in 2017 need to search beyond traditional blue-collar sectors and look to skilled-services industries. Nationally, a gain of 4 million jobs in financial services, health services, information technology and other skilled-service industries has more than offset the 2.5 million well-paying jobs lost in manufacturing since 1991.
There is a catch: To secure these roles, workers need to get some education or training beyond their high school diploma. Much of the growth in good jobs that pay without a B.A. (including in manufacturing) has benefited workers with associate degrees or some college education — 4.1 million since 1991.
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