Most people are taught that getting into college is the only way to get a good job. The way most people justify this is because at the end of college you get a degree that automatically qualifies you for various jobs and pay grades. And although this is somewhat true, it’s not exactly how the world works and its impact is slowly making it more and more untrue.
The reason most people think that a degree is inherently valuable is because it is meant to be a measure of knowledge. College degrees are meant to be proof that you are capable of learning and that you have proven your proficiency in a particular topic. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In fact, many people with the same degree may not know exactly the same things. For instance, someone with a Bachelor’s degree in math at one institution may know applied mathematics in great detail with minimal knowledge of pure mathematics whereas another person with the same degree from a different institution may know more pure mathematics than applied mathematics. There is way too much variation in what a degree can represent for someone making it difficult to gauge exactly what a degree means for employers.
Furthermore, with the aid of grants and more widely available student loans, so many more people are going to college than ever before. Subsequently, more people are graduating college than ever before and more people are entering similar levels of the workforce than ever before. That is, the workforce is so over saturated with college graduates that the value of a degree has been in a stark decline. This becomes so much more clear when most “entry level” jobs require 3-5 years of experience on top of a degree. This is where the variation of degrees comes into play as well. Not only do more entry level jobs expect degrees, but they need to further identify the value and purpose of your degree by requiring a few years of demonstrated core knowledge. (Which is a paradox: you can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job)
This is not to say that degrees are worthless or not worth pursuing, but instead that there are other avenues to good jobs that are also worth pursuing. Although the current value of degrees may be declining or obfuscating, people can find it worthwhile to instead find certifications for the core knowledge required for good jobs to exactly indicate their qualifications and proficiency for learning. Additionally, I would like to highlight that college careers are not the only high paying career as careers in the trade have always had a steady value and opportunities for high pay grades as well.