College education in the history of the United States has evolved rapidly. Prior to World War II, just a few Americans had gained college education and this constituted a few among the elite in the society. This however changed steadily after the war and college education became necessary as most of the jobs in the United States required applicants to have college degrees. Today, more than sixty percent of jobs available in the United States require atleast a college degree. The need for a college degree has never been dire as it is today in American history.
Necessity of College Degrees in America
The need for college education for all Americans is clear to a majority of Americans, both in school and those out of school. Even the leaders are not left behind with president Obama being an advocate of college education for all Americans who graduate from high school. Almost every American goes to high school and graduates. It is however a different story when it comes to college as of today, out of five students who graduate from high school, two will join a four year college degree program and out of this an approximate of twenty two percent is likely to drop out.
Some years back, a fraction of Americans could curve their way into the American job market with basic high school education without seeing the need to progress further. This population still exists in American job markets but the trend is slowly diminishing. There is a culture of college education being cultivated in America and among Americans in that a good number of all those who are in school aspire to get atleast a college degree as the last step in their studies.
For those Americans who have gone through four year college degree programs and are actively in the job market, as compared to their counterparts also in the job market but only having graduated from high school, sharp contrasts can be drawn between them.
College graduates have a better quality of life as when they are absorbed into the job market compared to those who are taken in just after graduating from high school. Their salaries are much more than their counterparts, they are likely to afford good food and also live healthy lives. They are also likely to afford lucrative healthcare insurance and finally save for pensions during their ages of retirement. This simply goes to stress the importance of college education for every American citizen.
Some American may argue that college education is not that necessary owing to the numbers of people in the American job market with high school education. It is indeed true that in the nineteenth century most workers in the American job market were employed with basic high school education. However, these were taken into semi-formal or informal sectors of the market. Looking at their fortunes from the onset of the new millennium to date, their fortunes are becoming deem and a future without college education is unthinkable. To highlight this, most of them rarely get job promotions or even salary increment while economic times are changing and there is need to adapt.
To stress the importance of college education after graduating from high school, a good number of those who entered into labour market with basic high school education are seeking further education in colleges to better their chances not only in the job market but also in life.
The percentages of Americans enrolling into four year degree programs after high school is increasing but not at a satisfactory as many would wish for. To realize the dreams of many, including that of the American president, investment has to be made on the students still in school, coming through the pipeline of education.
The article ‘If you’ve got a trade, you’ve got it made’, which premised on is however taking a different school of thought when it comes to the need of transition from high school to college. There is a suggestion that vocational training in American High Schools can do just as better as enrolment in college. The rationale for this kind of argument is the unpractical nature of college education and major focus on securing white collar jobs and completely leaving out blue collar jobs.
It is encouraging that in as much as there is opposition to initiatives to drive all American high school graduates into colleges for four year degree programs, the opponents applaud the move. What those who oppose the move try to pass across is the deaf ear given to blue collar jobs in the high school curriculum. It is however clear that most of American citizens with higher education and in white collar jobs earn more and command quality leaving as compared to those in blue collar jobs. Thus, the need to increase the enrolment of American student into colleges offering four year degree programs is more imminent today than it has ever been before.
In a nutshell, most of the job opportunities available in America today require atleast a minimum qualification of a college degree. This requires those who are in school to enrol in colleges so as to qualify for these jobs. The life of a college graduate in the US is likely to be rosy, with good salaries, insurance and a pension plan. However, not all can make it into colleges and this calls for vocational training so as to aid them into various job opportunities. College education however has to be the primary goal of every high school graduate.
Mike Rustigan (January 13, 2010) ‘If you’ve got a trade, you’ve got it made’, Los Angeles Times