$33,000 worth of debt; the first two years spent taking general education requirements that have no relationship to a major field of study; the pressure to go to grad school because the Bachelor’s does not mean much. This is college education in the U.S. today. In many other countries it would not matter, because all of that education is free. But in America, it does all matter – both in time and in money. We are fast approaching a time when we can say that a college degree, obtained in the traditional way, is probably not a good idea for many and certainly no longer predicts success in life.

There is no doubt that the degree is necessary for certain professions, until things drastically change. A doctor, a lawyer, and a teacher still need those certifications. For the majority of the rest, however, personal, professional, and financial success can come in many other ways. Here are five reasons why a college education may not be your ticket to success.

1. High-Paying Jobs Require Skills, Not 4-Year Degrees

Companies in the U.S. today have job openings that they cannot fill because they cannot find applicants with the skills. They are not looking for degrees; they are looking for technological skills that come out of vocationally-related programs, and we have too few of those or those that are focused on the wrong skills. There is a big disconnect between what is needed and what our schools are actually producing.

This situation is beginning to change, but the wise young person right now will choose a path other than a 4-year degree program. Getting high-tech training related to health care, IT, robotics, etc., will allow a young person to begin a career far earlier with less debt, and earnings potentials are high. Once in those positions, moreover, employers are willing to provide training upgrades, as the skill sets require.

2. Entrepreneurship is Easier than Ever Before

The Internet has changed so many of the ways which we do business. It’s not just Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg who have made it without a degree. While not on the scale of wealth of these two, young people are discovering that they can use their creative ideas and self-learned skills to produce products and services that are in high demand. Just in the field of developing computer apps, things are exploding. Young people are finding that they can freelance as web designers and developers, writers, etc. and enjoy the freedom and flexibility such work offers. And if they need additional skills they will do it through self-education. Others are finding that even low-tech ingenuity pays off. One young man began mowing lawns in high school. By the time he had graduated he had a crew of 4, high-end equipment and decided not to go to college. He loved what he did. Today he owns a nursery and landscape business and continues to expand. Young people are starting their own businesses at a growing rate and finding that the freedom and flexibility allows a lifestyle that they only dreamed about. And they can market their products and services at minimal cost because of the Internet.

3. Education Itself is in a State of Flux and Transformation

Employers are now making a transition in their belief systems about a college education. Why? Because online coursework is allowing young people to gain the skills and training they need to perform well without that traditional degree. MOOC’s and other online educational programs allow people to focus only on that coursework that makes them employable – not the general education and elective courses that traditional colleges require. It’s cheaper, more in-depth, and is becoming highly valued in the workplace.

4. Success in Life is Far More than a High-Paying Job

While older generations complain that millennials are lazy and self-centered, millennials are enjoying their lives. They have discovered that the traditional life path of previous generations have created too many people who have “lived to work” rather than “worked to live.” There is a big wide wonderful world to explore and it does not necessarily involve owning a large home in the suburbs, with two late model cars, 2.4 kids, and car pools. They are not buying homes; they are getting married later; they are changing jobs every 1 ½ years; they love their mobility and their life experiences more than the eye candy.

5. There is no Job Security

Baby boomers and those who went before them were used to beginning with a company right out of college, armed with that degree, and remaining with that company until retirement. Those days are gone. First, the training and skills that college students are acquiring today will be useless soon – that is how fast things are changing today. Forecasters predict that young people entering the workforce today will change entire careers, not just jobs, 4 times in their lifetimes. Add to this the fact that companies that were once considered mammoths are folding, reducing workforces or moving overseas. That college degree does not guarantee any more security then a technical or online education does.

Author's Bio: 

Jonathan Emmen – freelance blogger, marketer and passionate traveler. You can find more on his Twitter.