Why a College Education is Not Always a Guarantee for Career Success

By Luke Worli posted 05-18-2021 01:04 PM


The idea that going to college is the best path to follow for career success is a prevalent one. It can feel like this traditional path is the only one to follow. The truth is that there is more than one path to career success as many successful professionals who never graduated have proved. 

There are other career paths

If you want to be a professional like a lawyer, doctor or engineer, you will need a college education but an academic education is not the answer for everyone. Many jobs today require skills and experience just as much, if not more, than a college education. 

Doing an internship and shadowing someone already in a position is often a very good way to pick up skill sets and experience. Careers in the construction industry only require a high school diploma to get started and it is possible to get apprenticeships and earn while learning. 

Attending executive protection schools is another option. Pacific West Academy is a leading company in the executive protection field with locations in Los Angeles and San Diego. It equips trainees to be effective in any position in security and protection. 

A degree does not guarantee a job

The days when a college degree was affordable and graduates were assured of a high-paying job once they graduated are over. They are finding it increasingly difficult to get jobs when they graduate and less than 20% have a job lined up when they graduate. 

Changing social attitudes and the number of college graduates means that just finishing college is no longer enough to impress employers. Students invest a significant amount of time, effort, and money believing a good job will lead to a bright future but they may end up in jobs they are overqualified for. 

Student loan debt can be crippling

The price of college education has increased significantly and students may take on crippling student debt in the hopes of paying it off with the high salary they are not guaranteed to get. Student debt loan is outpacing credit card and mortgage debt combined in the U.S. It can take graduates at least ten years, if not more, to pay off their debt. 

Many degree programs may pave the way to a six-figure career but getting a degree does not guarantee someone will earn six figures. The promise that everyone will make more money with a college education is not necessarily true within the current economic environment. 

Hiring managers don’t just look at degrees

A degree is important for certain positions but hiring managers know that it is not the only factor to look at when it comes to success in the workplace. They want to know about the experience and training related to the job. 

Managers want results and so a well-presented portfolio and endorsements mean more than a piece of paper as they provide evidence of ability. Hiring managers will also look at soft skills which are just as important as hard skills when it comes to integrating and growing in a corporate job. 

College is not the real world

College is a protected environment and does not reflect what students will encounter in the real world. The classes students take in college don’t teach them the life skills they may need in a future career. 

Real-life experience is often more valuable than classroom experience on its own but many students complete their degrees with no hands-on work or internships. Having various life skills, such as leadership skills and communication skills, is essential in many top positions available today.