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Will Education Get You Where You Want To Go?

Author: Loren Beckart

Does an education really buy you anything in the job market?

Most people have pretty firm opinions on this and believe that degrees are vital to landing good jobs. But is this true?

Let's look at the idea that "Yes, you must have a good education to get a good job." That's one possibility. If you're in education yourself you can make an excellent case for needing degrees to get a job in education. That is definitely what most people do. Most job requirements for teachers, professors and administrators require anything from a four year college degree to a doctorate in the field in which you will teach or work. But do all jobs in education require a degree? No.

When people are outstanding in their field, they are often invited in as guest faculty, no matter what their qualifications. Can you imagine learning about relativity from Einstein? He had no advanced degrees. Or what about learning business and computers from Bill Gates? He has no degree and he is worth billions. The same is true of Steve Jobs. No degree there, either, and he didn't do so badly.

According to, "at least 108 members of The Forbes 400 Wealthiest Americans never graduated from college. Their average net worth: $4.3 billion each!" Hmm. No degree? That's not what we were told would lead to success. It seems pretty clear that a degree is not required for wealth or success. In fact, this site gives a very long list of successful and famous people who have no degree at all. Their list includes such luminaries as Walter Cronkite, Steven Spielberg, Ted Turner and John Glenn. Debra Fields of Mrs. Fields Cookies and Rosie O'Donnell are two of only three women listed, but there are undoubtedly others.

A degree does not even guarantee an entry-level job in your chosen field. Ask anyone in California or Colorado with a master's in counseling or a massage therapy license. Nothing can really guarantee wealth or success.

Entrepreneurs in many lines of business who do not have formal education have been recruited to bring their expertise and knowledge to related businesses, programs and schools. Some people even "invent" their career due to their ability to perceive the world in a unique way.

Getting a degree could be fun. You could learn things you won't take the time to learn any other way. You may meet people who will be influential in your career and make friends with similar interests. But your degree does not guarantee your success. It doesn't even guarantee a job in your field. And that's okay. As they say, "Success is a journey, not a destination."

Loren Beckart, business consultant and internet publisher, is a contributing writer for Yes Education, offering valuable free information to help you make informed choices about your education and career. Articles by Loren can also be found at You Go College.