The idea that everyone needs a four-year college degree is a “myth,” writes Jerry Ice, president of The Graduate School, in the Washington Post. Many careers require education or specialized training, but not a four-year degree.
“Well over half of all students attending four-year undergraduate institutions are dependent on loans and graduate having incurred enormous debt” Ice writes. Community college students can earn vocational certificates or associate degrees without taking on heavy debt.
Community colleges now represent over 50 percent of higher education enrollment. Their affordability and accessibility are a significant part of their appeal, as is their focus on essential skills and job-related training. While many who attend community colleges do so with the intention of transferring to a four-year school and earning a B.A., it appears that more than half are there to complete technical or vocational training, or just to upgrade their job skills.
Distance education is flexible and often more affordable than classroom-based training, Ice writes.
“Explore the possibilities for short-term professional training and determine what will work best for you,” he advises.