Never before have Americans been as educated than they are today. According to census data, 90% of people have a high school diploma and approximately 34% have a bachelor’s degree. A dedicated 13% stuck it out long enough to get an advanced degree. But what does a degree get you? Let’s say you get a bachelor’s degree. Does that mean you’re guaranteed life-long employment and success? The answer could be no.
Employment Statistics for Degree Holders
Employment statistics based on education are pretty clear cut. The more education you have, the more employable you are. Unemployment rates for bachelor’s degree holders was more than two percentage points less than that of high school graduates in April of 2018. Similarly, the percentage of people employed between the ages of 25 to 24 increased with each level of education achieved. While these statistics are encouraging, they do not tell the whole story.
These numbers merely represent jobs held, they do not show how many students are actually using their degree. Statistics show that nearly half of college graduates aren’t using their degree. Others spend months trying to secure a job in their field. Why? As mentioned, more people than ever before have a bachelor’s degree, which means there are more qualified people in competition for the same jobs. The job market is saturated with degree holders.
Employment Statistics for Trade School Graduates
Although trade school graduates are employed at a slightly lower rate than those with bachelor’s degrees, there are more than enough job openings in the trades to accommodate all graduates, and that trend is expected to continue. Some industries expect tremendous growth. What’s more, many trade jobs pay very well. This means trade school graduates can expect to find employment in their fields relatively quickly after graduation.
Are Bachelor’s Degrees Still Relevant?
It depends. If you plan to work in a field that requires a bachelor’s degree, the answer is a resounding YES! However, if you don’t have a specific career path in mind, getting a degree for the sake of having a degree might not pay off. Also, it’s very important to make sure you research job opportunities in your selected field before you decide on an education path. All the education in the world won’t help you secure a job that doesn’t exist or has very few job openings.
Degree holders are finding it increasingly difficult to compete in certain job markets. But that doesn’t mean degrees are irrelevant. Certain jobs and fields require a degree, so you will need one if you plan to pursue select career paths. However, many lucrative career paths only require a trade school education, and some don’t require any higher education at all. Be sure to take this all into consideration when deciding your next education move.