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With so much emphasis on students earning a 4-year college degree, it seems the vocational careers get lost in the mix. Many jobs now require at least a bachelor’s degree, if not a master’s, if you want to be competitive in certain fields.
But what if you cannot help your kid pay for college? Or what if they are afraid of graduating with a huge amount of student loan debt, but feel it’s their only option to getting a good-paying job? How can you encourage your kid that a vocational career choice can be financially stable, and rewarding?
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You only have to look at some of the wealthiest people in the world in the last decade or two (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs etc.) to realise that a college degree is not the only route to job satisfaction and a financially rewarding career. In many instances, vocational careers that allow you to start your own business can be far more rewarding than the kind of job that requires a degree but keeps you climbing the corporate ladder for decades before reaping any rewards.
When it comes to career direction though, I do think that you should be guided by your child's interests and strengths. A very academic child that is not good with their hands is not going to enjoy training for a job where being dexterous is advantageous. At the same time, a curious teen, interested in how things work and why should know that an engineering degree is not the only route to pursue a career designing, building, or fixing things.
Even if every person on the planet had a college degree, we would still need people to take on the vital roles that keep our homes, communities, and societies functioning smoothly. Regardless of how the world changes in the future, these roles will always be necessary and for someone with an entrepreneurial streak, vocational careers can be ideal. Perhaps it would be a good idea to let your kid do some job shadowing with people from various vocational career backgrounds.
It is a sensitive question, because it can give a direction to the life of the child.
There are different ways of addressing this issue. First: If the financial constraints are the only hindrance in going for formal academic qualification, while kid is aspiring for a college degree. Study loan combined with some support from the parents might help them in realizing this dream.
Second: if there is no financial support available at the moment, the kid might consider going initially for a vocational program (of their interest) and start a career. Learning is a lifelong thing, later in life they can save enough funds or generate ample resources to pursue the dream of college degree.
Third: there are kids who have aptitude for technical and vocational training. They want to pursue a vocational training program to adopt a career based on their aptitude.
For a long term successful career and happy life, it is vital that the deciding factor for selection of a program is primarily based on the aptitude and interest of children.