Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) just published five-year projections about the job market. The Star Tribune’s lead on the story was, “Health Care’s a Gold Mine.” I’m not sure the story supports that headline.
Here’s what I’d think about if I were career planning for the next five years: More than 40% of jobs are “middle-skill” level; in fact, high-skills jobs are the smallest slice of the pie, at just around 20%. As the story notes, the percentage of jobs that require a college degree is unchanged–even though the percentage of college graduates has increased. That should make people think twice about college debt–but it probably won’t.
Nevertheless, the story’s graphic on “fastest-growing jobs” is for high-skill occupations only. Orthotists and prosthetists topped the chart at 71%, followed by interpreters/translators and meeting/event planners at 70% and 68%, respectively.
But there’s plenty of growth for stonemasons, CNC operators and sonographers–all occupations that require an associate’s degree or less.
Research continues to show that a four-year degree will provide higher lifetime earnings, but higher tuition costs make the ROI calculation trickier.
One point in the article I do agree on: “a liberal arts degree has benefits beyond the financial.” Anyone who feels drawn to the study of literature (as I was) or religion (as I was) should commit to that study heart and soul. But if it’s money you’re after, don’t assume that a four-year degree is the only–or even the best–way to go.