Do You Really Need a College Degree to Get a Job?

CrownThomas's picture

Below is a breakdown of how many jobs were created in July by education level. Do you really want to spend $200k to get that MBA?



The US Government is full steam ahead in using our taxpayer dollars to make it easier for you to get in over your head in student loan debt though, so we've got that going for us.


After all, burdening all the youth with debt & no way to pay it off is a priority


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windcatcher's picture

Who needs a college degree when today the most rewarding and promising job out there is “dope dealer”?

shovelhead's picture

I'll bet those Chinese kids aren't majoring in ethnic / gender studies.

Just a wild guess, of course.

MachoMan's picture

The biggest issue is that prospective students really need to be forced to assess the likelihood of finding a job and what that job will likely pay versus the cost of education combined with the opportunity cost while getting an education.  There simply isn't any foresight utilized...  So you mean I get to be out of the house, drink 24/7, and get laid for 4 years????  HOLY SHIT MOFO, LETS GO TO COLLEGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  [and they give me a certificate at the end?  YES!].

There are an incredible amount of degrees offered by colleges that are cheap enough to be worthwhile...  the trick is incentivizing people to find them...  and we really don't do that.  We're too concerned about propping up the institutions selling the education (because they complete the work of the state, e.g. indoctrination).

Fred Hayek's picture

I'm a civil engineer and I could have done my job when I was 12 years old. College was simply a requirement for the job application, almost nothing more.

Kina's picture

Haha $200k for an MBA is money for nothing, about as worth much as a internet purchased degree.

FieldingMellish's picture

Getting an engineering degree was the best thing I ever did. Opened countless doors for me. My kids are going into hard sciences (geology/engineering) at a reputable university and I have no worries for their future. Many of the universities that have popped up in the last few decades exist solely to milk the public purse of funds. They don't give two shits if the student or his family ends up in debt. I'll agree also that many degrees are not marketable today but ultimately its down to the individual. I think the MBA field is oversaturated at the moment.

monad's picture

Its not about getting a job, its about advancement in statist TBTFs. Since the Clinton era the boardroom is all but off limits to those who don't own a pair of Mitt's magic panties with their name on it; since W, the small business alternative has been crushed by subsidy and discriminatory "regulation". DIY or die bitchez

entropos's picture

You don't need a degree to get a job, but you probably need a degree to get a good job. 
Who wants to wait tables or be in sales for the rest of their life?


entropos's picture

Lots of doors are closed to folks without that scrap of paper. 

Seer's picture

Yeah, like I'd really want a piece of paper that says "please corporate giant, allow me to be enslaved by you."  Used and then tossed out...

In years past it was those who didn't have pieces of paper that saw things in different perspectives and were able to do just fine.

It's all about "institutions," be they corporations, govts, or churches.  Conform to Their requirements so that They (the chosen few) can use you for their profit.

Uncle Remus's picture

And that too is part of the problem. On the other hand, it gets a lot of businesses started.

ElvisDog's picture

Right, and that's the answer to the guy a few posts above who writes about the future being self-learning and vocational school. If you want to become, for example, an engineer or pharmacist, you have to go to college. I think it's a lot harder to convince a highering manager that you don't have a diploma but learned what you need on-line than some people seem to think. Plus, you wouldn't even get to the hiring manager because the computer program that pre-screens applications would weed you out.

Seer's picture

"the hiring manager because the computer program that pre-screens applications would weed you out."

It should start becoming clear that the tech world is going to go anti-human on us.  All these linked dependencies are going to trip and blow everything up (think HFT).  And in this case pieces of paper are going to be meaningless.

Umh's picture

Programatic screening and screening by HR types before the hiring manager even sees the applicants resumes is mostly a CYA event. It does prevent the deluge when there are 1200 applicants for an entry level job. But; back to the CYA, screening on some objective binary check box like having a degree keeps hiring managers out of court.

Uncle Remus's picture

Does it take a college degree to become a registered engineer? AFAIK, it only requires the requisite knowledge. In any event, I'd venture a guess that the real hurdle would be professional liability insurance.

cbxer55's picture

My father was an engineer at both Lockheed California Company (L-1011 Tristar) and Rockwell International (B-1b Lancer). He never attended a day of college. His education was the "school of hard knocks", stuff he learned while working on aircraft. He made good money doing it as well.

Lednbrass's picture

And today there is a 0% chance of doing this anymore- without the degree nobody will talk to you regardless of the skill level. The HR chick goes down her checklist and when you don't get that box you go into the garbage, no matter what real life skill you may have.

HardAssets's picture

Education is priceless . . . you don't have to go to college to get it.

Some technical fields require the degree and you actually learn something worthwhile in college for those fields. For most people today, its a waste of time & money.  Had this discussion with parents, kids, and a few teachers at a recent h.s. graduation ceremony. (Upper middle class professional types). Most of them didnt get it and will go in hock sending clueless kids to university for nothing. 

MachoMan's picture

Basically 3 methods for future education: (a) trade/vocational school (i.e. learning something practical); (b) online (get away from the brick and mortar trap and infrastructure costs passed down to students); or (c) apprenticeship, probably though family business.

The only question now is how long it takes for universities to default...  it's really no different than the coming muni crisis...  realistically though, how can we one the one hand discuss the student loan bubble and then ignore the brick and mortar education store bubble on the other hand?  Doesn't make any sense...  there are an incredible amount of related/ancillary bubbles to the student loan bubble that must also be discussed...

The real question is whether we care about repayment of educational institution's debt so much that we allow them to educate the rest of the world trying to pay it off...

Seer's picture

Excellent summation!

MFLTucson's picture

You dont need educated people to collect food stamps and draw unemployment.

Long-John-Silver's picture

I joined the US Navy and became a Gas Turbine Systems Technician. The education I received in the Navy cost the tax payers over 1 million dollars during the two years I spent in those schools (in the early 80's). At the end of those schools we were able to apply for a bachelor's degree for the equivalent semester hour credits at an Engineering Collage. I continued my education over the next 4 years utilising off campus study through that Engineering Collage. The Navy paid for those courses. By the time I completed my 6 year enlistment I had a Masters degree, which cost me nothing.

MachoMan's picture

Clearly, he's discussing government waste when it costs that much to piece together a collage...  I'd say he's made a valuable point.

Long-John-Silver's picture

Couldn't have said it better myself. Another point on how I completed my education is just how inefficient collages have become. MY total collage campus time was about 2 weeks taking supervised qualification tests and various rounds of paperwork drudgery. My Navy education consisted of 12 to 16 hour days with only Sundays off. They stuffed 5 years of a typical civilian college education into 2 years. There were no party's or sports diversions. Failure at any point got you kicked out of school and sent off to the fleet at whatever level that was completed for a qualified slot. If you got kicked out to a ship early on you ended up on a Steam Turbine ship in a Black Gang ( ). If you completed the entire course of study you ended up on one of the new Destroyers or Cruisers with fully automated computer controlled systems and air conditioned engine and auxiliary rooms. You were also treated exceptionally well in an effort to ensure you would re-enlist. Junior Officers often complained that engineering Petty Officers were treated better than they were, and we were. Their efforts to get us to re-enlist generally failed. Why re-enlist when you can go to work the day after your honourable discharge in a job with a 6 figure income?

Uncle Remus's picture

English wasn't a core competency.

Long-John-Silver's picture

Try finding an "English" job with a 6 figure income. Engineers are poor at English due to it's illogical origin in pre industrial culture. We have our on language.

Uncle Remus's picture

You DO realize not everyone can qualify to enlist in the Navy and Air Force.

cbxer55's picture

You got that right!

I joined the Navy Delayed Entry Program in 78 while a junior in HS. When I went to take the physical, I passed all of it but the hearing, which I failed. Did not even know I had hearing issues. They 4Fed me and sent me home. After graduating HS, I went to work at Lockheed building aircraft, making good bucks. Never even thought of going to college, which I would have done had I gotten into the Navy.

Then again, I have not needed a college degree to do what I do, work on aircraft. Been doing it pretty much consistently since 1979. The exception being, for a few years after 09/11, aircraft jobs were kind of hard to come by.

Now I work as an AF Civilian, maintaining Navy aircraft.

Funny how that worked out.  ;-)

Seer's picture

Further, do people realize that not EVERYONE can do this at the same time?  Had this discussion with someone years ago, he was saying that "education" should be "free" to everyone; I told him that there are a LOT of details that could turn this utopia into a nightmare; what if, I asked, everyone went to school (at the same time), who would produce the food?

Reality ain't free...

JohnKing's picture
For-Profit Colleges: Predators in the Ivory Tower


geuss who????


The idea is to prey on people's hopes and desires, offering the yellow brick road to the American dream: an education and a better job. Workers are trained to identify emotional weaknesses and exploit them.


Argosy University, with 19 campuses, is owned by Education Management Corporation [EDMC], whose investors include Goldman Sachs and Providence Equity Partners, a Rhode Island private equity firm.

Gully Foyle's picture

Another misleading topic.


Then it gets narrowed down to MBA.

Then all the whiners and paid posters crawl out of the wood work.

Instead of asking a bullshit question, because in fact for certain jobs you definitely need a college degree, why not ask WHICH DEGREES ARE WORTH SPENDING THE MONEY ON?

Funny though we were watching an old episode of All in the Family and Mike makes the comment that he needs a Masters because a Bachelors just doesn't cut it anymore.

That was 1974.

Amazing how All in the Family covers the EXACT SAME ISSUES WE FACE TODAY.

Nothing changes.


ExpendableOne's picture

Much of what is taught is pure bs.  Stick to the hard sciences, get the degree and then build a business.  Or, skip the degree and build a business.  Either way, the future will belong to those who can adapt.

There are also numerous totally free learning institutions online.  Many are quite good, but just try putting those on your resume.

So, just build a business and crush the guy down the streen who hired a bunch of debt slaves...

Seer's picture

And how many degrees in "hard sciences" can be supported?

Listen, I appreciate "hard sciences," but this is about SCALE.  The current shit hit the fan because our relentless push on SCALE halted (due to insufficient resources to support continuing growth).  If everyone were to jump to this other side of the (sinking) boat it would still result in a severe listing (if not capsizing).

"just build a business and crush the guy down the streen who hired a bunch of debt slaves..."

So, you're going to start and compete against someone who is already established and has workers who are massively fearful of losing their jobs? ("stability in the family has a special importance for us." from the movie The Firm)

THINK OUT OF THE BOX!  Much of this is no more than a variation of the same, the same from a rapidly decaying paradigm.

FieldingMellish's picture

Just remember that the business you built... you didn't build that.

JohnKing's picture

Yes. If a story doesn't fit your narrowtive, it's "misleading".



Cynthia's picture

Obama is only speaking as an overpaid spokesman for the college-industrial complex.

Seer's picture

Uh... no, this is a side job, his primary overlords are the banksters (duh), who, like it's any surprise, are the primary beneficiaries.

LMAOLORI's picture



Next will be the student loan bail out the bubble govt. helped create...

The Student-Loan Bubble

Student Loan Bubble Sets Up To Be Subprime Disaster Part Deux


Same old, same old it appears obama wants to to screw investors rather then going after the banks who give SUB PRIME loans.

Private Student Loans Work Like Subprime Mortgages


Private lenders offered student loans without confirming that recipients could pay them back -- then sold them to investors, thus protecting the lenders against defaults, a government study finds.

in full


CFPB, Obama Administration urges Congress to allow students to wipe out private student loans in bankruptcy


MachoMan's picture

How is it that private lenders get eaten, but public lenders get to impose debtor's prison?  There needs to be a loud voice of an intercom that each time things like this are proposed says, "Mr. _______, this is exactly why there cannot be any recovery...  a clear lack of consistency in regulation and enforcement sufficient to build trust"


bigwavedave's picture

All you need to learn is Python and some Javascript. The rest is crap.

larz's picture

I hear Knight is hiring geeks

Meesohaawnee's picture

sure not one in economics or finance.. those have been rendered useless.. they should shut every single one of  them down. Its a profession thats dead. all you need to know is what they program the algos.

JeffB's picture

I think there are some good ones out there.

I never went to Auburn, but wish I had been able to take some courses in their economics department if Prof. Garrison is typical:

YouTube - Austrian Theory of the Trade Cycle

The University of Georgia appears to be another good one, if Prof George Selgin is any indication.


Seer's picture

And maybe some of the problem is that there are programmers designing the Algos and not folks whose primary education lies in economics/finance?  (NOTE: it's ALL predicated on a PONZI [perpetual growth on a finite planet], so any appearance of "legitimacy" is just that, an appearance)

I remember an engineering professor showing a satirical piece about the construction of a skyscraper from back in the 50s.  The picture showed a bunch of guys sitting around looking at a model of the proposed building on the boardroom table.  The "story" asked if no one was suspicious that the costs came in WAY under budget and took only a fraction of the time, AND, the building was delivered in a wheelbarrow!  The instructor used this piece to hammer home the importance of understanding what you're working with, to be able to spot problems in calculations that non-professionals wouldn't be able to spot (in the case of the piece it was an error in specified units- and, rather humorous to me, though not to the sponsors, this very thing happened for a nearby town's fireworks celebration many years ago- all the mortars failed to achieve any height, ejecting over the side of the barge and into the water [and on a breakwater jetty]- hm... was that Kgs or Lbs?)


billwilson's picture

If your college is Bob Jones or some other moronic reality defying Christian college, then it sure ain't worth it. The big problem is that 40% of Americans believe Noahs Ark was real. With that as a base it is clear more education is needed, the problem is can these people even be educated ... by anyone, or are they just too far gone to do anything but maybe work at a fast food joint.