It’s a given that earning power is higher with a college degree. Yet, depending on the career path, the return on a college investment can look attractive or a bit iffy.
We have three kids in college right now. Fortunately, we have saved diligently for this and two of three were fortunate enough to get scholarships that help bring down the price tag a bit. College is a big investment and we hope it pays dividends—but it is a big unknown, especially with today’s job market and the salary potential for some majors.
Choosing a major in college doesn’t predestine you to a specific career or job or salary, but it does put you on a path where some doors open easier than others. I graduated with a social work degree (a somewhat reasonable choice for a return on my investment), but after a couple of internships, determined that my interests were better aligned with a human resources type role in a corporate setting. Now, the doors did not open easily for me, but eventually I found an employer that looked at my skills beyond just my degree.
My youngest is just finishing up his freshman year in college and is stressed about picking a major that will have plenty of job options when he graduates. This is an important consideration and I am pleased he has this practical approach to making a living. Yet, I have encouraged him to also consider what he enjoys and what his gifts are. In an ideal world, those would all line up—a career opportunity that leverages your talents and that you will enjoy.
I hope he finds that, but it may take a few turns and detours along the way.
Has your career path been a direct line from your college major to your current role? Feel free to post your comments below.