There is a higher demand for specialized workers than ever before, and waiting for a 4-year degree no longer meets market demands. On top of the student debt, it’s about time we really consider the value of post-secondary education.

Debt From University

Universities and colleges aren’t cheap, and everything that comes with them makes the total cost for a 4-year degree a staggering amount of money. Depending on if you are in-state or out of state or even international, colleges and universities can cost between 30 000 – 80 000 on tuition alone. Then there are textbooks on top of this that cost several hundred dollars per semester. This is without getting into the equipment needed for class, or the fees of living on campus. The total cost for going to post-secondary education can incur a lot of debt with the average per student being roughly $20 000. The current amount of collective student debt in the US and Canada alone is nearly 2 trillion dollars. It’s important to consider the financial aspect of getting a degree, especially considering student debt is the only type of debt that remains even if you declare bankruptcy with 39% of post-secondary students living below the poverty line in Canada.

What Does a Degree Actually Offer?

Well despite the financial burden of university, it’s still worth taking as it assures a good job with a successful career afterward right? Wrong, around 4% of graduates end up homeless, with additional amounts living below the poverty line. Canada has the highest percent of people with graduate degrees living in poverty. But these degrees are generally niche or not traditional degrees, right? Wrong again! Most job opportunities nowadays are niche as the competitive market continues to evolve, jobs are becoming more and more specialized. While the current trend in universities is to diversify and become more like liberal art schools rather than specialization, the trend in the workforce is the opposite. This means most of the learning done in university will not tailor to your future job description. In fact, most jobs you will have in your life will likely not exist before you graduate. This means much of the learning you do at university is ‘useless’ for your future job applications. This starts making sense for why companies are looking for an experience rather than education. It’s because almost every company needs to retrain college and university students to fit the job requirements.

Job Opportunities Outside of Uni and College

Fortunately, the bad news ends there, unless you’re currently in university and plan to keep going. Canada and most of the developed world are suffering from a severe lack of skilled workers, mainly in the tech industry. Due to this issue, new programs are out there to quickly specialize and train workers to fulfill these jobs. With the start of the pandemic, the shift to online work and advancement in the technical field has been estimated to have been sped up by 5 years. This means more programs will become accessible to reach these specializations in time for the growing market.

For better or for worse, more companies are letting workers telecommute to work, which means working from home. Whether forced and wishing to, creating a better workspace at home will bring great benefits for the remainder of covid and potentially afterward.