Colleges work on the basis that people need their qualifications to secure higher wages for themselves in the future. But how essential are they? Do they matter?
The Signalling Theory
The naive view of colleges sees them as places where people go to learn the tools of their future trades. But when you delve a little deeper into the subject matter, you realize that this is only true for a tiny subset of students. The majority of learners rarely touch upon the knowledge and skills that they need for the workplace.
It begs the questions, therefore, as to why colleges are in such high demand. It doesn’t seem to make sense. If you’re not learning the skills you need for work directly, then why are employers so keen to snap up graduates?
It all comes down to something called signaling theory. The idea here is that your degree classification and alma mater is a signal of your market worth. If you did well on your exams, it is a sign that you’re intelligent and conscientious – two things that are important in the workplace. And if you went to a top college, then it indicates an innate ability, perhaps from a young age.
These signals, therefore, are essential to businesses. But they reveal something interesting: it is not the training that they assess, but the student’s underlying characteristics as shown by their education.
That’s a significant difference. And it means that you don’t actually need a college degree for a career that rocks. What you need is the personal characteristics and professional accreditation that will ensure success.
The Importance Of Professional Accreditation
A college degree and professional accreditation are two fundamentally different things. A college degree is a signal that you have the personal characteristics the top firms want to fill roles. Professional certification, on the other hand, is a sort of guarantee that you have the skills required to perform the function. That’s a very different paradigm.
If you take a look at a page like https://www.athomeprep.com/product-category/florida-contractors-licenses/, you soon see how important these are across the economy. Everyone from plumbers to electricians can benefit. The courses are a passport to higher-paid work in a genuine sense. And, thus, many of these people can have highly lucrative and successful careers that meet their financial goals.
The Relationship Between Education And Pay
Of course, at this stage, a large group of people will argue that workers tend to do better overall in their careers if they go to college. But again, this could be a spurious correlation. The characteristics that lead people to invest in a long and arduous qualification could be the same that cause them to succeed in the workplace where others fail.
The point here isn’t to argue that college degrees are unimportant. Instead, it is to say that they might be optional. The added value isn’t as high as many people imagine. And there are now plenty of alternatives that enable people to get into top jobs, without having to go through formal channels. The rise of online courses and accreditation for tradespeople is just one example of this, according to https://www.lifehack.org/articles/work/.
Life experience is important – and universities provide people with this. Those who have the right personalities, values, and attitudes can probably begin making their way in the professional world from a very young age. Entrepreneurial talent isn’t something that you can learn in a textbook. It is either something that comes naturally to you, or it doesn’t.
There are plenty of examples of people who have gone on to have successful careers without any academic training behind them. And there are large cohorts of workers who have achieved great things, despite their backgrounds.
The beautiful thing about the marketplace is that it rewards both effort and skills. So even if you lack one of these, you can often make up for it by excelling in the other. Furthermore, if you excel in your relationships, then that becomes the thing that makes you valuable. Once you get good at dealing with people, it opens up a raft of management opportunities that you can then use to your advantage.
Professional accreditation may be a better route for many people for the added reason that it tends to cost much less. You don’t have to move away from home for years to study in a far-away location. And you can protect your long-term finances without having to accept lower wages either. It is surprising that more people don’t do it as a matter of course.