When is college worth it?

It's a debate a lot of families have: is the cost of college really worth it?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For decades, it’s been a pathway to life: go to college, get a degree and get a job!

But college isn’t for everyone, and the cost isn’t possible for many young people-- people like Lynette Munez, who says, “Being honest about where I am in life financially, I couldn’t say that college is the right choice, because it was not.”

Lynette graduated from Olympic High School and is one of the successful faces of their career academy. She couldn’t afford college so instead learned real life skills in the “Road to Hire” program, a partnership with Red Ventures. 

Today, she’s a software engineer and junior developer, earning the money she would have spent on four years of college.

Mike Realon runs the Career Academy at Olympic, and he is an education cheerleader and visionary who gives these kids real life experiences through his many partnerships with businesses. With him, it’s okay to say and think, 'college may not be for me.'

"There’s nothing wrong with a four-year degree, but you better choose wisely and pick a degree that has currency in the marketplace,” Mike says.

Mike echoes a recent Harvard study forecasting that 10% of jobs will be unskilled by 2025, 30% will need a four-year degree and 60% will need some type of post-secondary education. 

And the proof is in the pudding with the current batch of Millennials, adding, “Over half of them are unemployed or underemployed today despite 6 million jobs being available.”

Beau Pray is another successful Olympic student, realizing a healthy living can be made without the cost of that four-year degree. His apprenticeship and two-year degree will net him a guaranteed job at his current workplace.

Salaries expected? $40 to $70,000.

Beau says, “Every day I go to work, it's hands-on training from the time I get there until I get off.”

So how do you get started? Think about your options as you or your kids enter high school, be realistic about money and debt going forward, and encourage them to find a career path that has a job at the end of the rainbow. 

Wondering which careers pay but don’t require four-year college degree? In a 2013 study by Careercast.com, a dental hygienist makes on average $68,000 a year depending on location. Online advertising manager, $87,000. A web developer makes $67,000.

Copyright 2017 WCNC


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