Asked by J.M. on May 16, 2018
Answered by Hector, Hiring Expert at Tenneco, on May 18, 2018
You have quite the dilemma. We all like to focus on the now, especially when it comes money. A good education is an investment, something I am sure you have told your son.
I would recommend pulling the data. There is tons of information on career exploration websites (pick a large University and look in their career services website - or just do a google search). These websites typically will have graphs that demonstrate the career and financial potential of different types of degrees: no degree, associates, bachelors, masters, technical degree etc. I have seen these charts and they make a compelling argument for how a bachelor’s degree will get him much further financially.
There is nothing wrong with the jobs he seeks, as someone that works in automotive, technical roles can be lucrative and we have amazing people doing them. That being said, if he has the opportunity to complete his degree he will definitely open up his financial potential.
Answered by Tom, Hiring Expert at VF Corporation, on May 18, 2018
Why do you want him to go to a four year college? Pursuing the community college route and starting a career earlier, may be the best thing for him. He can always go back and get the four year degree later as it makes sense. Certainly education is an important factor in our selection process, but experience is more important. Just having a 4-year degree is not the ticket to entry it once was, I am much more interested in what you did outside the classroom than inside the classroom...again, it's not about the degree itself, it's about the whole experience.
On a practical note, if you search for jobs that you think might be a good fit for your son or just think he might want to take a look at them, I would suggest that most of them will say something like "...Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience..." Yes, to be a doctor or a lawyer or a professor and so on, you'll need a 4-year degree and more, but it's a tradeoff. That's likely $100,000+ in education expense without a guaranteed payoff. If there is any doubt about what your son wants to do for a career long-term, the community college/technical college route is a great option. It will get him experience quicker which all employers value and that experience will help him decide what he likes to do, what he doesn't, what he's good at, what he's not and so on. Once he knows all that, he can make a more informed choice to go back to get the 4-year degree or not.
One other note, 15% of the Forbes 400 richest people in the world only have a high school diploma...