Degree devaluation in today’s society

It’s probably safe to say that most BC students intend to either transfer to a four-year university or stay and earn their credits here. While the end result can be quite different, in either case, the goal is to earn a degree in order to be qualified for a skill-intensive, highly rewarding career later on.

As time passes and we move ever onward into the Information Age, however, there is a continuing trend beginning to emerge of growing numbers of people that seek skilled employment instead of unskilled jobs. It has been mathematically proven that people with college degrees make more money than those without. But as more and more graduates enter the global economy, the demand (and the value) of their diplomas begins to fall. College education is certainly still important, but we may soon find ourselves in a situation where our degrees are no longer worth the huge investment of time, effort, and especially money that they require.

The notion of high education being essential to success is a relatively new idea. Before the labor-saving machines brought about during the Industrial Revolution, productivity depended almost entirely on human labor. With the mechanization of most menial tasks like crop harvesting, factory assembly, and even construction, such jobs either disappear entirely or are exported overseas where labor is cheaper.  That leaves most unskilled positions in the United States in the service sector, which is comprised of low-paying jobs in retail and food service.

Even skilled positions are becoming harder to get.  A relatively large portion of the population can get a good education, but more often than not there aren’t enough jobs to go around for all these people, and college graduates may end up with a job no better than they would get if they hadn’t gone to college at all.

With the prohibitive cost of getting a degree, it might be wise to explore other options. Don’t buy into the myth that you need a liberal arts degree to be successful or a valuable member of society – many lifelong, rewarding careers are available to people that go to technical s or get other career training. The jobs open to those that pursue this training can be very rewarding, like nursing, piloting ferries,

Ultimately, the best metric for an individual’s success in life is their own happiness. If obtaining a degree would do nothing for you other than put you in crippling debt from your student loans, it might be a good idea to explore other options instead.