Many people ask the question today of whether attaining a college degree is worth the price. The rising cost of tuition is causing this to be a highly debated topic, but one of the key problems with this question is a misunderstanding of the purpose of a college education. Undoubtedly you learn valuable information, but here are three additional important reasons why a college degree is invaluable.
1. Competition in employment. A large pay gap exists between college graduates versus others. In addition, when it comes to hiring for a new job position, most employers use education as the standard to filter quickly through hundreds of applicants. Companies view a college degree as assurance that employees have the background knowledge and skills for a position.
2. Relative pay of people without a college degree has stayed flat. The pay variation between those with college degrees and those without continues to increase. For instance, the average hourly wage for college graduates has risen steadily over the past decade while the median wage of non-degreed employees has remained flat when adjusted for inflation.
3. Economic returns go to people with four-year degrees. Education undisputedly generates an immense return. In fact, the real value of a college degree is negative $500,000, meaning that not going to college will cost you a half million dollars on average over your lifetime.
Return on Investment
When you ask the broad question of whether a college degree is worth the cost, that leaves out the differences in the value of degrees from one field of study to another. While it may be difficult for someone to find gainful employment with a degree in liberal arts, a more focused degree in healthcare, such as a bachelor’s in nursing (BSN), doctor of pharmacy (PharmD), or doctor of dental medicine (DMD), provides a specific career paths that allows you to get a great job upon graduation and increase your earning power.
For students in the healthcare fields, paying for college is not just paying for knowledge. It is paying for instructors who take an interest in you, for the drive and incentives to complete the tasks and for networking in a community that will enhance your prospects, and for clinical knowledge to provide patient care when you graduate. In the end, everyone must make an individual decision about the value of a college degree but attending college may become the best investment you make toward your future.