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Saying No To Student Loan Debt – Education Without the Financial Hangover

September 18, 2013


One of the rising problems in the economic future is a society encumbered with educational debt. Whether or not we are a smarter society I will leave to others to debate. But, one thing is for certain, the next generation of bread winners will find it more and more difficult to map financial success due to the anchor of student loans. At the beginning of a college career, one is not staggered by the thought of paying off debts higher than the price of his and her new Fords in the driveway. After all, a picture is painted that the incredible amount of income you will make (because you are now intellectually superior to anyone else in the field), will be more than enough to repay the student loans. But, is this a myth or reality?


The reality is more and more college graduates are faced with accepting entry level jobs that do not pay enough to justify huge student loan bills. That is why the approach to education has to morph. Now, I want to secure a caveat that this article is by no means disputing educations value, or trying to give higher learning a black. My goal is simply to present options that can lead to happier, healthier lifestyles for young adults in America.


In the late 1800’s America was engaged in transition from being an agrarian society, to that of an industrial culture. Times were changing, and education was to play a key role. After the civil war, reconstruction was an uphill battle. After General Grant left the presidency, he was followed by President Rutherford B. Hayes. President Hayes is remembered for little. But, he was indeed the visionary to see vocational education as the engine to America’s growth to industrial power. It was under his watch that America began pursuing paths to career training for the working world of the future.


Is it possible that vocational education will be a new wave of the future? The vocations have changed. But, job specific skills are in high demand (even when liberal arts degrees are not). The conclusion that a four year degree is a must may be presumptuous.


A recent article by ‘Yahoo’ revealed top paying jobs for those without college degrees in America. Among these careers were Paralegals, Police Officers, Nurses, Health Record Information Specialist, Computer Programmers, and dental hygienist. Although the article mentioned 2 and 4 year college degrees as helpful, it was cited that they were not all together needful. And each of these careers had median incomes north of $50,000 a year.


Another point of interest is that some jobs, such as Pharmacy Technician, actually pay more on average for Job Specific Certifications than they do for workers in the same profession with Bachelor Degrees (data from This can be said of a growing number of jobs. The big difference, is how much is the student in debt when they go to work?


When speaking to career minded young people, I also point out a practical option of learn your career before buying it. The cost of a vocational certificate program can be afforded without creating large debt. Also, it provides job skill that can be put to use within 6-12 months after graduating high school. It opens doors to vocational opportunities that call for job specific training. Whether a 19 year old vocational certificate holder, or a 4 year college graduate, the keys to the company are not likely to be handed over on your second day. What is the difference? By entering the field quickly, the vocational certificate holder can build job related skills making them more valuable in their field. As well, some employers provide tuition reimbursement programs, now allowing the young worker to add additional education…WITHOUT DEBT! And if they decide the field is not their lifelong passion after all, they can move on without a ball and chain of a bad decision into their next career pursuit.


It’s time for us to get real with the next generation. Education is the key to America’s future. But, so is financial freedom, which includes avoiding student loan debt.


Enjoy the journey. Climb higher, and expect more!


by James Anderson

Career Tech Internet Recruiting Consultant




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