TAMPA, Fla. –
Many of us have always been told that you need to go to college to be successful. But now, education experts say that’s not necessarily true.
A four-year degree can land you with thousands in debt and few ways to pay it back. Student loan debt has now surpassed both credit card and auto debt, as of 2012, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Ashley Perkins, 28, of Brandon, looks at the world a lot differently now that she has her five-week-old daughter Journii.
“It’s changed a lot,” she said. “I want her to go after her dreams and her goals.”
But to do that, Perkins knows she has to attain her own goals. Ashley has been at Hillsborough Community College but has been unsure of what she wants to do as a lifelong career.
Perkins took this test through the Pinellas Education Foundation to help hone in on what her strengths and interests may be in terms of a job.
“You just find out a little more about yourself and what field you should be in,” she said.
That’s becoming more important than ever, especially since many college graduates now leave to find themselves under-employed.
A staggering 48 percent of adults with college degrees are under-employed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means 48 percent of Americans with a four- or six-year college degree are working in jobs that require only a high school diploma, a two-year college degree or a certificate program.
“It may lead to a degree that puts them in the unemployment line,” said Terry Boehm, president of the Pinellas Education Foundation.
Predictions show that in 2018, about 57 percent of jobs will require some kind of skilled trade. Just 33 percent will require a four-year college degree, according to the Pinellas Education Foundation.
The Pinellas Education Foundation has crafted the Future Plans Assessment . It breaks down your interests, strengths and what will ultimately satisfy you at work.
Each person who takes it gets a custom book of their results and a list of in-demand, local careers that align with those results. They also get a career counselor to help them take the next step.
The assessment takes about two hours to complete and is being provided for free to ABC Action News viewers.
“You can walk away from taking this and your response is, oh, I am good at something!” Boehm said.
Perkins found to her surprise that she will most likely do well as a surgical technician, according to her assessment results. It’s a skill she can learn at a local technical school.
“I just really want to find something that I’m good at and I’m passionate about, so whatever it is, I don’t feel like it’s work,” she said.
She now is gearing her education toward training in that field.
Take the Future Plans Assessment for free.