“I Spent Four Years To Earn a College Degree, and Still Owe $100,000 in Student Loans, but NO Employer Will Hire Me!
DO YOU HAVE THE SAME CAREER PLAN?
That’s the question that my older brother asked me at my high school graduation.
That simple question has enabled me to kick-start my adult life .
I took the time to research my options while serving a hitch in the Army after I graduated from high school.
I learned that 80% of students graduating with an academic Bachelor degree were unemployed or under-employed two years after graduation, while 96% of students who earned a vocational Bachelor degree related to a specific career path were employed in a career of their choice within 90 days of earning their degree, if they elected to be! I learned that more than 53,000,000 Americans have started college, but withdrew prior to earning a credential, and almost half of those are unemployed while still working off their student loan debt.
While serving three years in the Army I not only developed physical and mental maturity, but I also learned a job skill (computer programming),put away some money, and earned some GI benefits. While serving in the Army ,I enrolled in an Online Vocational Business College “Fast-Track Program” that awarded me college-level credit toward a Bachelor of Vocational Education degree, based on what I already had learned and my limited work experience. The program included a college equivalency exam, which upon passing, completed my requirements for a Bachelor of Vocational Education degree with a major in Adult Education .The program also included a 90 day Exam-Preparation Course that assured that I would pass the exam, and by devoting extra time to study, I finished the course and passed the exam in only six weeks instead of the 90 days that was allowed.
Within 8 weeks of being honorably discharged from the Army, I was offered a job in the training department of a high-tech corporation as an Instructor, earning $68,000/yr, plus full benefits. When I applied for the Instructor position, I was asked a key question… “ What is your highest level of education?”…
…My answer: “ I have a Bachelor degree in Adult Education”.
Nobody asked me if my degree was from an academic university or from a vocational college ! They just asked to see my diploma, and then gave me the job! They didn’t hassle me over the fact that my degree came from a small private business college, or that it was accredited by a non-academic accrediting authority specializing in accreditation of online distance learning schools. It was an entry-level job and management expected me to grow into the job as I gained experience. PERFECT !
The most amazing part of this story is that I did not waste four years earning my degree. I did it within three months! Even more amazing is that I am not dragging a $100,000 student loan debt into the beginning of my adult life, because the total cost of the “Fast-Track Vocational Degree Program” was less than $2500, which I was able to pay-for in a few installments from my meager Army salary, and graduated DEBT-FREE ! By my calculation, I earned almost $150,000 by working during the years that I might have wasted attending a four year college, plus the $100,000 of student loan debt that I avoided, thus starting my career at almost $250,000 to the good (not counting the value of my corporate benefits package which includes full medical/dental care, a retirement savings plan with employer-matched contributions, and a stock investment program).
I’m married now, with a baby on the way and have had two promotions since starting my job as an Instructor . I don’t expect this formula to be right for every graduating high school student, but for many it makes more sense than spending time and treasure on an education that you may never make back. I owe my older brother for saving me that time and money. A degree is important to your career, but the traditional path isn’t the only path.
( Paraphrased from a story told by Phillip F. to the graduating class of his high school Alma Mater. 2015)
For information about the Fast-Track College Degree Program go to: www.collegeboardexams.org
or email to: Degrees@CollegeBoardExams.org
or phone: (888) 877-5922.