The college push
College is a choice that students are prepared for through out their entire primary and secondary school education. With standardized testing based on core curriculum and ACT practice classes so you can get into the most competitive colleges, it is the strongest choice presented to students in Williamson County. However, as stated by counselor Mrs. Sullivan, “It certainly isn’t a one size fits all. In my opinion we have succeeded as a school if students are able to and prepared for whatever their next level is.”
According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, 35% of jobs will require a bachelor’s degree or higher, 30% require some college or an associates degree, and 36% don’t require anything but a high school diploma. So, there is an even divide in level of education required. However, the pay difference is substantial. The Association for Land Grant Colleges found that those who have a bachelor’s degree earn, on average, $32,000 more than those who only receive a high school diploma. While a technical student generally earns less than someone with a bachelor’s degree, they aren’t paying as many student loans. This led the American Institute of research to conclude that sometimes technical associate’s degree people make more in the first few years of their career.
What is technical school?
Technical, trade or vocational school refers to a two year institution that prepares a student for a job in the trades. This can include cosmetology, tourism, construction, hospitality, automotive engineering etc.
In Tennessee, these schools are tuition free for the first two years. This could lead a student to graduate with no debt and a job.
College is for some
However, despite all of this, college is for some. TN Promise also pays for two years of tuition-free community college as well. College provides a wealth of opportunity for more career advancements and a stable income. It also gives you a platform for networking with people in your ideal field so that you have already made connections when you enter the workforce. This also is a path for career advancements. If you are looking to climb the ladder in the business world, a degree will be to your benefit. Ally Jackson, who is going to a four year college said, “I definitely think college is super important to consider for everyone, but there are a lot of kids who know for sure early on that they don’t want to go to a university. In the case of kids who have other plans, I do feel like their decisions are a little bit scrutinized.”
Whether you plan to go to college or not, there is one thing for certain: get some sort of post-secondary education. This sets you up to be more competitive in the work field. If you are set on going to college but there are obstacles in the way such as finances or transportation, a gap year is another path you can take. Here, you can gain valuable life and work skills while doing a job, mission or internship that will set many people up to be more successful in the future
Technical school is a viable option for many people. It is the essence of the mechatronics and agricultural programs at our school. It provide work specific skills, career specific guidance, and is more affordable. If you are a hands on student who has ideas and goals other than college, talk to the counselors about your opportunities.
“Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2020.” CEW Georgetown, January 31, 2018. https://cew.georgetown.edu/cew-reports/recovery-job-growth-and-education-requirements-through-2020/.
Edelson, David. “How Does a College Degree Improve Graduates’ Employment and Earnings Potential?” Association of Public & Land-grant Universities, October 7, 2016. https://www.aplu.org/projects-and-initiatives/college-costs-tuition-and-financial-aid/publicuvalues/employment-earnings.html.
“Technical Education vs. Four-Year College.” Ranken Technical College. Accessed February 6, 2020. https://ranken.edu/why-choose-technical-education/technical-education-vs-four-year-college/.
Lbogle. “Higher Pay for Technical Associate’s vs. Bachelor’s Degree Graduates.” American Institutes for Research, September 27, 2018. https://www.air.org/resource/higher-pay-technical-associates-vs-bachelors-degree-graduates.