All parents want their children to succeed in life. But now, with college tuition fees across the globe at an all-time high, many parents (and students) are questioning whether the benefit of going to college outweighs the cost. Vocational qualifications are becoming more and more respected, and job experience is increasing in value to match college degrees.
The default advice has always been to encourage your child to go to college, whether they are inclined towards it or not. This advice is shifting to cater towards new generations who want to start making money straight out of school to avoid student debt and build their skillset.
So – we’ve taken a look at whether college is worth it, and how you can help your high-school child who can’t decide what to do next.
The Cost of College Education
Attending a four-year college course in your home state costs on average $9,410, compared to an eye-watering $23,890 for out-of-state students. These fees can be crippling or impossible for parents with low incomes. Financial aid is available, but places the burden of student debt on your child which can be a stressful prospect for them and you.
Lucrative Vocational Careers
The rising cost of education has caused many to explore other career opportunities – of which there are thousands of pathways.
Here’s some ideas to suit a variety of interests and abilities that don’t require a college degree – some might surprise you.
- Pharmacy Technician – this route can be taken by anyone with an interest in medical careers and a caring outlook. Just a few exams are necessary to become a qualified pharmacy technician/advisor.
- Building Contractor – those interested in laboring can work with the Contractors Institute to get a license in their field and gain more work and skills than those operating without a license.
- Chef – chefs will never be out of work. Everyone needs to eat, and the restaurant industry is going nowhere. Talented foodies can climb the career ladder to make a lucrative living creating new dishes and running their own kitchens.
- Hairstylist – qualified hairstylists can expect to make between $21,000-$31,000 annually, and more if they get into personal styling for media and celebrities. Start as an assistant in a local salon and work your way up.
- Painter & Decorator – good tradespeople in this industry will always benefit from frequent work. Interior decorating is a profitable business due to people’s tendency to grow tired of their décor – a recent poll by Houzz.com showed that most people redecorate every 5 years, and some more often.
- Florist – birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and special occasions happen each day. Giving flowers is a staple gift for any occasion, and training as a florist is both a creative and rewarding profession.
- Mechanic – to become a mechanic after high school graduation, you’ll need to enroll in a Vocational Education Program while receiving on-the-job training. If your child loves problem-solving and working with their hands, this could be the perfect route.
- Dental Hygienist – this job is often ranked as having some of the most satisfied workers. The role mixes medical knowledge with caring for and educating patients, and is perfect for anyone with good people skills and a steady hand!
- Web Developer – the future is digital; and web developers are already making big bucks for their services. Think ahead and choose a career that will stay evergreen in the digital era.
How Can I Guide My Child?
Ultimately, it’s up to your child to decide what they want to specialize in for their career. What they choose at first might not be what they end up doing – it’s become easier and easier to change career over the last few decades.
The Financial Times published an article in 2017 advising people to ‘plan for five careers in a lifetime’. We now realize that, despite a difficult financial climate, staying in unsatisfying jobs is no longer as necessary as it once was.
Remind your child of this and allow them to be ambitious and experimental when deciding on their first job.