When College Isn't Necessary

...but ends up being a prerequisite anyway.


Over at Forbes, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry examines the Bureau of Labor Statistics' list of the fastest-growing jobs in America, then draws some conclusions. After noting that not all fast-growing, high-paying jobs require a college degree, Gobry adds that there are also jobs that

College (artist's rendition)

only "require" college because we're very dumb. Very few of those occupations require college in the sense that 90+% of people who pursue that occupation will benefit from having learned about it in college. But my guess would be that more than a few of these occupations "require" college in the sense that employers expect that applicants will have a BA. And this is our problem. A "Diagnostic Medical Sonographer" is a highly-skilled job that doesn't require college training in the sense that you can learn everything you need to do the job in a manner of months. But many colleges offer programs to help you become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. And when you compare unemployment rates for college graduates and non-college graduates, you see why someone might want to go to college to become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer even if it means taking on huge, unnecessary debt. And once there are enough college graduates who can become Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, you can see why employers would rationally toss out of the pile any resumes that don't have a college degree on them.

This is something that we urgently need to fix, because we're wasting ginormous amounts of money, time, and resources.

Read the rest here. Read Reason's forum on the future of higher education here.