Friday, October 22, 2010

17,000,000 Wasted College Degrees

I recently read this article on The Chronicle (which is the best higher learning trade publication on the planet) which asked why did 17,000,000 college students get degrees?

Richard Vedder and Douglas Himes at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) conducted a survey and found that over 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees (over 8,000 of them have doctoral or professional degrees), along with over 80,000 bartenders, and over 18,000 parking lot attendants.

This proves that we are headed in the wrong direction by placing emphasis on degree attainment, while we struggle mightily with job creation. It also uncovers a disturbing trend: It takes (in too many cases) a degree to get a job, but not to do the job for which the degree was required. Who is going to have the balls to make this admission (I guess I just did)?

Ironically, while our political conversations revolve around job creation and the need for greater degree attainment, 17,000,000 Americans with college degrees are doing jobs that the BLS says require less than the skill levels associated with a bachelor’s degree. They compiled the chart below which is also based on The Estimating Marginal Returns In Education report.

Don't be fooled, and don't get trapped, you can succeed without a college degree.

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