Most of what students learn at college isn’t used for their jobs

College Fix: As more and more students attend higher education and as government spending on education remains high, a professor of economics is calling for a fundamental shift in how American society approaches college.

Bryan Caplan, an economics instructor at George Mason University, released a book last month titled “The Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money.”

Caplan, who has blogged prolifically at EconLog for over 15 years, wrote the book in order to make the case that “our education system is a big waste of time and money.”

In a phone interview with The College Fix, Caplan said “the payoff of education that the student enjoys isn’t a payoff for society.”

Most of what students learn at college “isn’t what you use for a job, you just get certifications and stickers that you can use,” he said. “These certifications and stickers help the individual get a job one day, but they do nothing for society, because they aren’t actually learning anything that will make them more effective at their jobs.”  read more

7 Comments on Most of what students learn at college isn’t used for their jobs

  1. College is based on the 18th century learning model. Been there, done that.
    It is similar to taking a course flintlock repair. This particular item has not been used in the real world for hundreds of years!

  2. My oldest son normally works as a machinists. But he’s done a couple summers on NFS Hot Shot Crews running a chain saw. He’s currently back on the east coast some where knocking down trees for the pipeline making $50.00 plus an hour.

  3. I went to school and got a BS-EE. OK…think Animal House…damn it was fun. In the next 43 years I used nothing from school (which amounted to applied math) doing logic design at NASA, programming power control centers for utilities, and satellite control centers. I knew at least 10 non-degreed guys that were outstanding. School only opened the doors for the next job.

  4. The fact that EVERY trained monkey (Bachelor’s) degree, REQUIRES 60 hours of “general ed (i.e. – the stuff people before 1960 learned in GRADE SCHOOL 🙄 ),” should be the FIRST tip-off, that a collej ejumakayshun is long on INDOCTRINATION, and short on EJUMAKAYSHUN… 😳

  5. There is certainly value to a Bachelor’s degree, particularly that it is proof one can stick to a program for 4 (or so) years. But no need to pay exorbitant tuition for that. In fact, I am more impressed by someone who put himself through a 4-year program at a lower-tier university than one who had it paid for or graduated with a large debt at a higher-tier university. And nothing wrong with trade schools – and if a person has the necessary skills and is capable of doing the job that is what matters most.
    I talked last summer to a 21 year-old who dropped out to train others in VR programming. Extremely sharp guy, does not need to have the bachelor’s degree on his resume.

  6. A lot of this has to do with race and lawyers.

    It wasn’t all that long ago that companies often administered their own tests to determine if an applicant was literate and numerate enough to do the job. These days, an applicant who doesn’t get the job just might claim the test is racially (or otherwise) biased, get a lawyer, and squeeze some money of the company.

    As a result, many companies now rely on college degrees to establish that a candidate for a job has the basic general knowledge needed for the job. That’s why in many cases you often need at least a bachelor’s to get a job as simple as general office work. Companies want those degrees as protection against lawsuits.

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