Do all college degrees bring the big bucks? - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Do all college degrees bring the big bucks?

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A recent report from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce suggests that "all majors are not created equal."

The report says that some degrees will do well right from the start while others take time to build up income levels and some are pretty stagnant.

So when a student gets ready to graduate from high school what are they looking at for college and life beyond the ivy walls?

"I've always wanted to do theater since my first production in seventh grade." Says Valley View Senior Brooke Thomas. After college, she intends to head out West to California to seek her dream.

Senior Rhiannon Boling also has a plan. "I want to be a Psychologist."

Boling's sister, who is ten years older and a practicing psychologist has had a great influence on her.

Boling, "In junior High, I really started thinking about it and what I would have to do to get my bachelors, masters and doctorate and where I wanted to go and financially."

Boling already has a plan and money. She wants to work with trauma victims and has scholarship offers from several schools.

Two Valley View seniors, two defined career paths.

According to the Georgetown University report, the earning level is about the same for both, but the unemployment numbers are quite different.

For psychology, the unemployment level is about 3 percent while theater people could be looking at an unemployment rate of nearly 8 percent

Valley View high school counselor Robyn Ford says some of the students she advises are already locked into a career path.

Ford, "Some are pretty flexible, it just depends on their experiences and what they are interested in a lot of times."

Boling says the financial end is important. "I've definitely thought about that and researched what locations make the most and stuff. I mean money is always the factor."

And unless you get that big break, acting can be a tough career to make a living off of.

Thomas, "I don't think any actor or actress doesn't think about the money side of it. My fall back is like graphic design and getting a degree in business."

Planning ahead in high school is an important key. Choosing the career, school, and money sources can save a lot of pain in the wallet later.

Ford, "Students start to think as early as 8th or 9th grade what direction they want to go, what courses they want to take. Say for instance a student interested in the medical field who has a "C" average and comes in near the middle of his or her last semester, not a good plan. " Ford says students like this have a hard way to go and lots of catch-up to make good on.

Ford says she never steers students in any direction but makes sure they have all the information they need before making a decision about college and career.

She pointed to the wall behind where I was sitting. "There's a chart of what income categories students can fall into with different kinds of education."

Having been working for a long time with and without a degree I personally, have a hard time buying what these charts say. A student needs to check closely into their own career path that  to see if this is an accurate representation. Because in many cases it may not.

Ford, "We all know a four-year degree or Master's degree does not always guarantee a high salary."

The Georgetown report recommends internships and part time jobs in the chosen career field can add to the resume's value

Bad choices now, can cost your child thousands in student loans, a low income and perhaps even a career that they could have shined in.

Ford says it's a rough world out there for the graduating class of 2012.

"I have an obligation to help students see a realistic picture."

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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