LPNs Often Fare Better Than Some Degree Earners - page 5

by TheCommuter 18,362 Views | 88 Comments Senior Moderator

Some readers might be aware that a college bubble is forming in the United States. Since so many people in this day and age have earned college degrees when compared to previous generations, the value of having one has decreased... Read More


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    Let's try this again (think the computer ate the first one)...Before throwing higher education to the side, look up Steve Jobs commencement speech on youtube where he talks about dropping out of school because of the burden on his working class parents-and how he proceeded to 'loiter' on campus, living with friends and take whatever interested him- like, caligraphy. Certainly this would be a fluff class- but his point was that seemingly random educational opportunities can add up to great ideas- case in point, the creation of fonts for the Apple/Mac computers all because of exposure to this one class.

    The point of higher education is not simply a bigger paycheck. The point is to learn to think. Exposure to various disciplines supplies a chance to exercise this thinking ability. You never know how things are going to add up in the mind of an individual and what great invention will be the result of a spark of inspiration based on some random educational experience.

    Another post said it well-what we need is actual education, not just a diploma and large debt bill. We need to get what we are paying for. Todays educational degrees often feel like the trophies handed out at childhood sporting events to everyone just for participation. The system need to get back to the business of providing a real education!

    I shutter think of living in a country where people have only job training, but no education. You can always get trained to work in a new field. But higher education should prepare you to succeed in any number of fields because you have attained the ability to think, not just do technical skills.

    Having spoken up for the value of a college education, I would like to add that I find it extremely practical to also attain a skilled trade. Shouldn't we do both? Just keep in mind, when advocating only for skilled training- those that are trained are the worker bees, those that are educated are the Queens running the hive!
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    Quote from TheCommuter
    Some readers might be aware that a college bubble is forming in the United States. Since so many people in this day and age have earned college degrees when compared to previous generations, the value of having one has decreased in the employment market. Graduation from college or university no longer paves the road to good income, success, or the easy life. This is evidenced by the numerous college graduates who are unemployed or underemployed during this economic climate.I worked as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) from 2006 until 2010 and did reasonably well during those years. No one is ever going to become rich by working as an LPN, but a comfortable life with decent income and middle class comforts are definitely within reach if you do not squander whatever money you earn. My 12-month diploma of vocational nursing and LPN license enabled me to earn a decent income, buy a newer construction house, park two vehicles in the driveway, amass a five-figure nest egg, save for retirement, and avoid living from paycheck to paycheck. By the way, I was accomplishing these things as a single female in my mid-twenties with no spouse or significant other.I feel that practical education, hands-on job training, and the learning of trades have all been pushed to the wayside. Politicians, educators, and many parents are encouraging all young people to go to college without much regard to the chosen major or concentration. According to Cohan (2012), half of freshly minted college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. And the story does not stop there, because many grads are underemployed in jobs that do not require degrees. Young adults with bachelor's degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs — waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example — and that's confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans (USA Today, 2012).Many of the university graduates who have earned baccalaureate degrees in art history, classics, philosophy, humanities, religious studies, liberal arts, psychology, sociology, women's studies, literature, human ecology, sculpture, fashion design, or any number of majors and concentrations are not faring that well in today's super competitive job market. The ones who do manage to find jobs must contend with very low pay and minimal career mobility. Also, many people who have attained postgraduate education, such as masters and doctorate degrees, in these types of majors are not exactly doing well. According to Cohan (2012), those with majors “in zoology, anthropology, philosophy, art history and humanities” don’t stand much of a chance of getting jobs requiring a college degree. However, according to the BLS, the median annual wage of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses was $40,380 in May 2010, and LPN employment is expected to grow faster than the national average.By no means am I bashing higher education, since it instills a broader view of the world and inculcates critical thought. However, many young people are blindly pursuing educational pathways without an end plan or goal in sight. It is so sad to read about individuals with nearly six figures in student loan debt who must work low-paying jobs in the service industry to make their staggering monthly payments.Stand proud, LPNs. Your licensure will eventually lead to a middle-income job and a path to a respectable life, if it has not already. While the bachelor of arts or masters degree tends to carry more prestige in society than a career certificate and practical nursing license, you will typically earn more money and struggle less than people who did not select their majors wisely. In summary, LPNs often fare better than some degree earners.
    I just graduated from my LPN program two weeks ago, and I know without a doubt I made the right decision to go this route.
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    Quote from whatdoIdonow?
    Let's try this again (think the computer ate the first one)...Before throwing higher education to the side, look up Steve Jobs commencement speech on youtube where he talks about dropping out of school because of the burden on his working class parents-and how he proceeded to 'loiter' on campus, living with friends and take whatever interested him- like, caligraphy. Certainly this would be a fluff class- but his point was that seemingly random educational opportunities can add up to great ideas- case in point, the creation of fonts for the Apple/Mac computers all because of exposure to this one class.
    I love that speech, and coincidentally I have a link to it in my signature line. I believe you missed the point about the college education issue and in fact Steve Jobs said just the opposite.

    So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
    If you audit classes you pick and choose, you aren't technically getting "a college education". There are no grades, no prerequisites, homework assignments or deadlines. You can use whatever you want as a textbook. There is no degree. It's as if you took an adult education class to follow your heart. I'm sure Steve would agree that those who took the classes that didn't interest them, etc should not be seen as equivalent to his calligraphy class, or whatever other class piqued his fancy.

    Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this
    Politely, college-level coursework does not teach you to think any more than a challenging high school class, an internship, or a lively non-personally attacking discussion here on allnurses. I trust the vocational or trade-school educated person who arrives with a lot of confusing colored wires and circuit-breakers and whatnot knows how to think. He may even go home and debate monetary policy online with a guy in Peoria.

    One day I'd love to see people get off the degree war and talk about how you can be a lifelong student of all things. How to stay curious, how to reduce the amount of garbage you read every day, and how once you have a degree of any kind you are still standing in the entrance-way.

    She wasn't saying to throw education to the side of the road. She was talking about the risk-benefit of going to vocational school as far as your job prospects are concerned.
    Last edit by nursel56 on Aug 16, '12 : Reason: readability factor
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    I currently work an office job in the construction business. People have no clue how much earning potential an electrician, plumber, HVAC installer/repairman, carpenter, or other skilled trades jobs have. Same for car mechanics. Even an *apprentice* at one of those jobs earns way more than a fast food or retail worker.

    People always say to "do what you love".... Well, there's nothing wrong with taking a "blue collar job" that you can tolerate and using that income to pay the bills so that you can do something else that you love!
    nursel56 and BrandonLPN like this.
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    Quote from GrnTea
    "Anecdote" is not the singular of "data." Sometimes ... like in the long run ... they seriously don't. More education is never wasted-- ask the person who has some.
    Perhaps I would agree more emphatically if education were free. But the working class needs student debt like they need a hole in the head. I have some, and I gladly return it in exchange for student loan erasing. There are many inexpensive ways to educate oneself off the record.
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    Quote from whatdoIdonow?
    Just keep in mind, when advocating only for skilled training- those that are trained are the worker bees, those that are educated are the Queens running the hive!
    Well, I've seen plenty of people with degrees in philosophy or journalism whose jobs involve wearing a smock and a name tag with the company logo on it. Sounds like "worker bees" to me.

    I work with more than one CNA who has a MBA or something similar. They got tired of being unemployed (or underemployed) and are pursuing a nursing degree. Some are content to stay CNAs and draw a steady pay check. Do they have a lot more education than me? Yep. Does it matter? Nope. Heck, in LTC, what degree one has matters almost zero. Many LPNs are unit managers. Most DONs Ive met have are ADN or diploma trained. At my job, I don't consider myself a "worker bee". (I don't consider myself a "queen" either, but perhaps that's best left alone...)
    tinikilpn2 and prettymica like this.
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    I think many of these academic major would benefit from having MUCH stricter standards. Take architects, for example. Very high unemployment rates for grads with this major. And why not? The world undoubtedly needs architects, but not any where near as many as the universities are churning out. The schools should ONLY advance the very cream of the top of the talent. Weed out any one who falls short of this. Harsh? Maybe. But only the most talented architects are going to find gainful employment anyway, right? Only the most gifted minds can actually find employment as "philosophers" and make any sort of contribution to that field. All the other kids in this program are just wasting their time and spinning their wheels. Why not, as a society, try to shunt theses kids into vocational programs where they will actually find jobs upon graduation and contribute to society?
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    I feel my LPN pay was enough to live comfortably within my means, but my RN affords me even more. My LPN education and five years experience helped me also with my RN education and NCLEX. My classmates always would asked what was I studying differently from them.. I have no regrets on how I pursed my career.. And all my education was FREE.. so I don't have any bills from loans.
    Tflowers34907 and shudva like this.
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    this article has really encouraged me...as i am about to begin an LPN program next month! wish me luck!!!!!
    prettymica and rayshettabrown like this.
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    Thanks alot for this article! Very enlightening and hopeful.

    Hopeing to be in this better place somewhere in the near future!

    LPN's keep the faith!
    prettymica and rayshettabrown like this.


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