If you had to list 5 worthless degrees . . .

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by NorCal, Aug 23, 2021.

  1. Acolyte

    Acolyte Active Member

    Yes - this is my point exactly. You gain all kinds of skills really, you just have to understand the value of them and how to apply them - that's what I thought college was supposed to do.
    But at the point that you've graduated from college - you aren't a child anymore.
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Because we lack a national qualifications framework.
    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  3. smartdegree

    smartdegree Active Member

    How is that bad though? (Not addressing this to you sanantone but to everyone on this board). Why is it bad that universities are now viewed like vocational schools?

    The goals of a university education have changed over many years.

    Yes, universities starting in the middle-ages (Oxbridge) did start with teaching the classics (philosophy, etc) but we no longer live in that era. I am aware that as late as the 1800s, many in society viewed the goal of a degree was to give a "proper" education to the children of the elite. The elite have a lot of free time to discuss philosophical matters with their elite peers while drinking expensive wine and being waited on by the household help.

    Today in the modern era, with the democratization of higher education, a degree should provide a financial return (unless you are being completely funded by your trust fund or mommy/daddy's bank account). The vast majority of people today cannot afford to view university degrees as anything other than career enhancers. Otherwise how can you justify the insane tuition?

    If you're the type who can afford to spend time reading about Plato and discussing the intricacies of existence with your "elite" compadres, then kudos to you. You must belong to the 1%. For the rest of us 99% of the population, a university degree needs to deliver some financial value. If all you want is the education, there are alternatives to degrees that are better suited to you - you can join a Drama / Reading Club or go online for free courses in whatever artsy/human courses you fancy.

    A good education doesn't require a degree (go watch goodwill hunting lol). But pursuing and paying for a degree necessitates a financial return (unless daddy/mommy or sugar daddy/sugar mommy is there for you lol).
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2021
  4. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Community colleges and technical colleges are designed for vocational training. 4-year degrees include general education courses. If you have no interest in a well-rounded education, then enroll in a certificate or AAS program. If that isn't enough, there are now BAS programs.
  5. smartdegree

    smartdegree Active Member

    What exactly is a "well-rounded education"? That term sounds elitist, like something an academic would say. It almost sounds like everyone else is second class and not well-rounded. You can get a well-rounded educational background without a degree.

    What is so bad with vocational training that people here seem offended when universities are compared to them? Are vocational schools so awful that you are basically left as an uneducated simpleton?

    An MBA, for example, is really vocational training that is provided by universities. In fact, in the early days of the MBA, the old guard of academics hated the idea of a business school because they might be mistaken for (gasp) vocational schools. Good grief, what elitists.
  6. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I disagree. MBA programs are applied professional programs, but I wouldn't call them vocational. They don't train you for a specific career, there's a lot of theory in management and economics courses, and it's not uncommon to leave a business administration program with little to no hard skills. Honestly, business administration programs might actually be one of the worst examples for vocational training just because they're a mile wide and an inch deep.

    Ironically, drama programs are more vocational than business administration because they specifically train you for an acting career. However, one does have the option of taking drama classes at a community college or paying for private or group lessons.

    You can receive a well-rounded education from anywhere, including high school. It's all a matter of which level you want to study. If one has no interest in a university education, then don't attend a university.

    There's nothing wrong with vocational training or vocational schools. Universities are simply not vocational schools, and most are not designed to provide vocational training.
  7. smartdegree

    smartdegree Active Member

    I got confused by your earlier post that implied that an accounting/law/counseling/therapy/etc degrees are vocational.

  8. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't say that business administration and accounting are interchangeable. I only needed two lower level accounting courses for my business administration degree, but more would be required for an accounting concentration. Just a general business administration degree or one with a non-accounting concentration isn't going to be adequate preparation for an accounting career.

    My point was that some people don't know how to think outside the box, or they only think in black and white.

    Police officer = criminal justice degree
    Teacher = education degree
    Counselor = counseling degree
    Tax specialist, compliance, or analyst = accounting degree or law degree

    So, when I say I have a social science degree, those types will tell me, "You can't do anything with that degree." HR specialists often get things wrong, but they know what a social science degree is.
  9. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    Yes! As a manager of a programming group. I would get applicants from HR mostly with Computer Science or Software Engineering degrees. One of my best programmers I got from the publications group. He had a degree in Systems Information. I think it had more to do with laziness on the part of the HR folks along with plenty of applicants with CS and SE degrees. When I got hired on in 1975 there was only two folks out of a couple dozen new hires that had CS degrees. Everyone else mostly had Mathematics with a small number of other various degrees. At that point in time only two colleges in the country offered Bachelor's in DS, Berkeley and Purdue, IIRC.
  10. smartdegree

    smartdegree Active Member

    I empathize with your situation. I would have a chip on my shoulder if that had happened to me.

    You are right, you can probably end up being anything you want with any degree, but you lower your odds of achieving that goal if your degree is not related. Qualifications/training etc. do not guarantee you anything, but they improve or lessen your odds.

    You gave the Ivy League humanities example earlier. Yes, a lot of Ivy League humanities grads get into Investment Banks and Consulting firms. But who do you think had an easier time finding those jobs? The ones who graduated from Wharton or the ones who graduated with an American Studies degree from Penn? Any college grad report will show you that the business or CS grads will have a higher percentage getting into high-paying jobs than graduates of the college of arts and sciences. That pay gap continues throughout a person's entire career.

    Does that mean humanities degree recipients are "worthless" and are destined to work as Baristas at Starbucks? Of course not. But frankly, you would have to work much much harder and be a lot luckier to achieve the same financial or career goals.

    I am pretty sure it took a lot of personal drive and commitment from you to work in Tax without an accounting degree and you deserve to pat yourself on the back with that accomplishment. But it doesn't change the fact that it would probably be easier for the average person to find a job in Tax with an accounting degree and a tax concentration.
  11. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I have seen many resumes came across my desk for the Cybersecurity Analyst roles. The positions are not entry-level, and I have seen people with a non-technical degree with one or two years in tech support or IT-related jobs. It has many limitations unless they have an Information Technology/Computer Science with cybersecurity or information security concentration. Twenty years ago, when I was in high school, almost every teacher I spoke to advised me to follow my passion. Now, I realize this is a mistake that Americans learn; passion does not pay bills.
    smartdegree likes this.
  12. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Thanks, but there's nothing to empathize with, and there's no reason to have a chip on my shoulder. These are uninformed individuals who are not in application/resume screening or hiring positions. Employers don't have an issue with understanding what my degree is.

    Neither one of my tax jobs required nor preferred an accounting or tax degree; they just wanted a degree or equivalent experience. They tested for math, reading, and reasoning skills and said the calculations will be taught in training. If I wanted to enter the private sector, I'd just have to earn the EA designation.
    nosborne48 likes this.
  13. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    There's a balance between doing what you like, doing what you're good at, and doing what's in demand. You might not find a job as a cartoonist, but you may find one as a graphic designer. Most people don't end up working in their field of study for various reasons, but one of them is that they found something they liked more. Some people would rather earn $60k and be happy than earn $100k and be miserable 40+ hours per week until they retire 30 years later.
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  14. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    I would hope that most people understand that there is more to life than paying bills. You can pursue your passion, pay your bills, enjoy life, and have peace of mind.
    JoshD likes this.
  15. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    I am not a Real Estate expert but I know a ton of Real Estate agents here in Oklahoma who have nothing more than a high school education. They paid the $500ish for Real Estate classes, took the licensing exam, and pay the annual fees.

    That said, I’m not discounting a Communications degree. Just stating that, at least in my state, a college degree is not necessary to break into the Real Estate Sales industry.
    NorCal likes this.
  16. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    I did not read this far before my first response. Lol Appreciate the clarification! :)
  17. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

  18. smartdegree

    smartdegree Active Member

    I'm veering off-topic here, but that position still arguably pays better than adjunct salaries so there will still be a ton of applicants applying lol. Also, I guess you can view this as a paid internship to get "Asst Prof" on your resume (lots better than Adjunct experience on resume) while you look for your ideal job?
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  19. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Good point. As far as benefits go, I think it's better than being an adjunct. However, many adjuncts make more than 44k by teaching a full load or teaching at multiple school. One of my Ph.D. faculty members, who retired from the federal government, told me he makes over 55k teaching online at multiple schools.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  20. Acolyte

    Acolyte Active Member

    I had an ex that had a BA in American Studies. She got a job at our regional planning commission and immersed herself in the policy side of things, later she got a job at the Brookings Institute in DC working with policy analysts, then came back to Ohio to work with different lobbies, and finally she started a 3D printing business with a couple of colleagues and now she's semi-retired at like, age 49. At some point, your experiences are going outweigh the importance of your degree in many fields. It's just the price of admission.
    sanantone and Dustin like this.

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