In spite of the rise in college applications across several universities in 2011, the popular saying “college tuition is a lifetime investment” may not hold in the current economy. With that being said, there are many factors facing the “unemployed” these days; one of which is the question of whether or not their education will suffice for the position they would ideally like to obtain; so much that many seem to be taking advantage of going back to school with hopes to obtain their “dream job”. If you happen to be someone in this position, an important consideration should be whether or not the education alone is actually going to place you in the career you want, and / or if it will really be worth the money spent.
In an article: http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2011/09/is_a_college_education_worth_t.html, it states “the average debt of a graduating student at $23,000 to $27,000”, which is a large financial investment. Being a Recruiter for 9 years, with exposure to the statistics in the economy, along with the hundreds of applicants I have met with; it is my professional opinion that there are some things that colleges are leaving out in the application process. Here are some things to consider when you are pondering going back to school.
Business is a Placeholder Degree
Choosing a degree should really be about focusing your skills in an area that builds on your own skill set. Most colleges and universities offer both broad degrees and highly focused degree. For example, going back to school for a major in “Business”, ends up being a placeholder on a resume. Yes, the candidate has a four year degree, but the narrative tends to stop there.
In Lynn O’Shaughnessy’s article 8 Reason’s Not to Get a Business Degree, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505145_162-37244200/8-reasons-not-to-get-a-business-degree/ she points out that the job market is crawling with Business Majors and their prospects of earning power post graduation as well as how they fare in MBA programs is fairly bleak.
Finance or Economics might be a better choice. For that matter, English or History might be better as well. O’Shaughnessy points out that: “Association of American Colleges and Universities found that 89% of surveyed employees said they want college students to pursue a liberal arts education.”
Health Care Isn’t Always Hot
“Health care is recession proof” is a term you may be accustomed to hearing. However, the medical field s also a very broad area, and it can be a confusing decision which area of study to choose. Unfortunately, those catchy ads for the popular yet costly business schools offering programs such as “Medical Billing”, “Medical Assistant”, or “Medical Secretary”, although can seem promising with their “Guaranteed Job Placement”, seem to be little more than catchy. Again, in my experience, and especially with the economy being so tight, companies seem to be mainly seeking applicants with the “actual experience” for the job. Are theresome companies which may hire on an entry-level basis? – Sure! However, given the number of graduates from these particular programs each year, the truth is that there are just not enough opportunities available to accommodate them all. Moreover, it is more cost-effective to hire a candidate with experience, than to train for the job.
The fact of the matter is that there is no easy path to financial security. A college degree can help increase earning power and lead to a higher standard of living. But your choice of what to study and where is a major investment. Choose a degree based on your own strengths and with a realistic view of the job market post graduation.
For more advice on this topic, below is a link to a list of “Top 25 Careers to Pursue in a Recession” to consider (accounting being one of them).