Giving Compass' Take:

There are alternative post secondary pathways besides college that educators should be talking about with students, acknowledging that a four year degree is not always the best choice.

How can educators formulate their teaching to include all types of learning paths?

Read about the importance of career and technical education.

The encouragement of a college education begins as early as middle school. Eighth graders take the PSAT to be evaluated for college readiness, to see scholarship opportunities and to prepare for taking the SAT. College Board even hosts college information nights at middle schools to share tips for improving PSAT and SAT scores prior to the junior year of high school.

Being prepared for college is a great idea - we should absolutely ensure our children understand the ins and outs of attaining a college degree. But is a college degree always worth it?

Here are three reasons why a college degree should not be the only career path recommended to our students:

  1. A 2015 survey found that the most important reasons students choose to pursue a four-year degree is for a high-paying job. Yet only 59 percent of those entering college will earn a bachelor’s degree within 6 years, and many of them will graduate with a nice chunk of student debt.
  2.  1:2:7 - Only one job out of ten requires a master’s degree or higher. Two out of ten need a bachelor’s degree. And the remaining seven? These only need an associate degree, certification, craft training or credential.
  3.  Forty-six percent of U.S. employers are having a difficult time hiring because they can’t find the skills that they actually need in the workforce. The push for a four-year degree is not filling the skills gap that our nation is facing.

Ultimately, what do we want for our students? Would we want to only focus on achieving the academic degree or rather see them succeed in a path that they may not have considered? Happiness should top the list — students should find a career that they are satisfied, happy and successful in, regardless if a four-year degree is required or not.

Read the full article about four year degrees at Education Dive