Why A Four-Year College Degree Isn’t The Only Path To A Secure Lifestyle

By Gail MarksJarvis
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) According to a new study out of Georgetown University…while blue-collar employment has declined 30 percent since 1991, there are still solid jobs that don’t require a college degree and offer pay that supports a middle-class lifestyle.

Chicago Tribune

If you aren’t sure college is for you, consider this: You don’t have to get a four-year degree to make a good living.

Contrary to the common belief that everyone must go to college, a new study from Georgetown University comes up with a surprising finding: There are still 30 million good jobs that don’t require a college bachelor’s degree, and people in them earn an average of $55,000 a year.

There is no question that some of the best jobs of the last generation have slipped away.

Even after the recovery from the recession, there are still about 1 million fewer manufacturing jobs than there were in 2007 and about 1.6 million fewer in construction, according to researchers from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Yet, despite the fact that blue-collar employment has declined 30 percent since 1991, there are still solid jobs that don’t require a college degree and offer pay that supports a middle-class lifestyle.

Of the 30 million good jobs for people without a bachelor’s degree, over half, 16 million, pay over $55,000, according to the Georgetown researchers. About 24 million pay over $45,000 annually.

The researchers consider a good job one that pays people 45 and older at least $45,000, or $22 an hour. For younger people, $35,000 is considered good as long as people advance and make $45,000 when they are more experienced in middle age.

To be sure, there are more good jobs for those who earned bachelor’s degrees than for those who didn’t, 36 million compared with 30 million, according to the Georgetown research.

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