I’ve previously written about the idea of not going straight to a four-year school. In March of 2021, I mentioned Esther Eaton’s great short article on “Cutting Out College” https://wng.org/roundups/cutting-out-college-1617593393. Let’s relook at the article ideas and add to them.
The article talks about an alternative to college. I spoke of that in my book, “Say No! To College Debt”, but I didn’t cover what this article does, training courses with certifications. Google, Coursera, Facebook, Apple, and even traditional textbook publisher, Pearson are offering courses of study that can lead to certifications in many career fields.
While the delivery of these courses is new and innovative, this kind of study track is not new. Growing up, I saw comic books and magazine advertisements for self-study courses and certifications. What’s new is that many companies will now hire for entry-level jobs based on achieving those certifications. When I graduated from college, a degree was required for most of those entry-level jobs.
The downside of the certification is that having only the certification will probably mean a lack of promotability. The significant upside is something that I made use of to earn three of my four college degrees, graduating each time with no debt. I used company tuition reimbursement plans to get my education at night while working during the day. My companies paid for sizeable chunks of my education while I worked for them, and I brought home a good wage simultaneously.
Sure, it will take a little bit longer to get that degree. But not having the crushing debt that many are suffering under is worth some delayed gratification and a bit of hard work along the way.
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