College Graduates Choose Community Colleges in Pursuing Advanced Degrees

College graduates are slowly coming to the realization that their liberal arts degrees provide limited job opportunities. As the demand for technical jobs has ascended throughout the nation, many with liberal arts degrees are either deciding to accrue specialized, technical training or pursue the option of an entirely different career. However, in supplementing the generalized training with a more technical training, graduates are looking at community colleges rather than choosing a traditional master’s degree program.

For Margaret Terp, a college graduate holding bachelor’s of art degrees in both English and Spanish, her first post-collegiate job as the strategic initiatives program director of Social Services Administration allowed her to become familiar with issues surrounding healthcare policy and health programs. As a result, Terp grew fond of the healthcare field and reconsidered a career path in nursing, a field that is projected to have a 26 percent growth over the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

“I really like my job, but was coming to a place where I knew that it was time to transition into something different, and I really wanted to be in a place at this time in my life where I could enter a into role that was very active and that tangibly improved people’s quality of life through healthcare,” Terp commented.

In exploring the options of the healthcare industry and specifically nursing, Terp attended Ivy Tech Community College, which became financially manageable and offered her the flexibility to maintain her current job in addition to attending her nursing classes. Not only did Ivy Tech’s course schedule accommodate her budget and 40-hour workweek, but the college also supplied her with the academic rigor typically associated with a bachelor’s degree program or even a master’s program. <Read more.>

Via Cherise Lesesne, Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

One thought on “College Graduates Choose Community Colleges in Pursuing Advanced Degrees

  1. While many of us appreciate and enjoy exploring knowledge for its own sake, the reality is that we all need to find employment to support our desires and interests at some point In life. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 1.7 million new and replacement doctoral-level jobs and about 0.9 million master’s jobs will open in this decade, comprising 4.7% of the total openings for new and replacement needs. In addition, 8.5 million openings are projected for bachelor’s degrees, at 15.6% of the total.

    If we consider that over half of high school graduates enter college, “following their heart’s dreams”, most of them will be disappointed when they encounter a job market that can accept only one-quarter of ALL the jobs available, at best. Many will be stuck with huge loan obligations, while being over-qualified and under-paid in positions that only allow them to “just get by”.

    This is a major reason why I believe that we must redirect the STEM emphasis in the high school curriculum away from the “college-degree pipeline” into a more flexible approach that uses additional dimensions of “Basic Workplace Skill Sets”, and “Applied Career Preparation Pathways”. These would slice up the core content information and knowledge needed for each of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subject areas into additional levels of complexity, and into a variety of workplace applications.

    A ladder of “Basic Workplace Skill Sets” would clearly identify the methods, practices, and “habits of mind” needed for entry into several occupational levels. These six levels would be progressive in the complexity of the content topics, and in the mathematics preparation needed for each. The “Master/ Professional”, “Engineer”, and “Scientist” skill levels would require extensive post-secondary effort, of course.

    But if the STEM course content were also identified at a “Technician” level, students would know that being competent at that level is a requirement, along with post-secondary training, for that kind of career. Likewise, developing skills at the “User/ Operator” level would have expectations for graduates entering the workforce right after graduation. Finally, the “Home & Consumer” level would match the core content standards for ALL students upon high school graduation.

    By labeling or tagging each specific topic, lesson, or textbook page with an identifier of what the achievement expectation is for knowing that “nugget” of essential information, learners could set realistic occupational goals, and follow more efficient pathways in pursuit of their futures. They can become successes as they step up the achievement ladder, according to their efforts and interests, rather than being failures for not having exited out of the college pipeline into a waiting job.

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