Do You Need A Four Year Degree?

According to a Harvard University School of Education report released this year, the U. S. needs to learn from several European countries which provide strong education and career tracks as alternatives to college.

Countries including Norway, Germany, Denmark and Finland see roughly half of high schoolers choosing training that combines books and hands-on education such as apprenticeships.

These programs lead to qualifications that are well-respected in their job markets.  In Finland, students choosing a three year vocational track gain employment skills and have a chance to return for college later in their lives.

Although not enjoying the same social support, there are careers in the U.S. which are growing in this recession and can be entered with an associate’s degree or post-secondary vocational training. These careers include court reporter, surgical technologist, pre-school teacher, dental hygienist, physical therapy assistant, veterinary technician, registered nurse, paramedic.

Notice how many medical careers appear as an expression of the aging baby boom generation and medical advances which extend life. The listed careers pay from mid-twenties to around 60,000 for experienced nurses and dental hygienists.

Clearly there are options to a four year college degree although that degree does offer the benefit of a general education prior to specializing.