More than 250,000 bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education have been awarded each year since 2000, including 280,000 in 2009.
Yet only 539,100 teaching positions will be available from 2010 to 2020, including for elementary, secondary, high school, and special education, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Employer demand for degrees in some fields is expected to decline through 2020, despite the fact that colleges are producing thousands of graduates in those areas,” according to Pamela Villarreal, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.
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Another example: Nearly 240,000 people will receive advanced degrees in psychology from 2010 to 2020, but only 38,000 jobs will become available.
On the other hand, a number of jobs that require only an associate degree, or no college at all, are expected to see large growth this decade.
Opportunities for brick masons are expected to grow 40 percent to 146,000; jobs for plumbers and pipefitters, 26 percent to 527,000; positions for construction equipment operators, 23 percent; and insurance sales agents, 22 percent.
Other fast-growing jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree include medical sonographer, dental hygienist, medical equipment repairer, and occupational therapy assistant.
Yet the federal government continues to encourage Americans to seek a college degree by making below market-rate loans, replacing loans from private banks. In 2012, the government made $166 billion in student loans and grants available, and the average college graduate today carries a loan balance of $25,000.
Pointing to the “mismatch” between education and the job skills demanded by the market, Villarreal opines: “The federal government should stop interfering in employment and education markets, and allow supply and demand to achieve equilibrium.
“Government student loan programs should be severely curtailed and the private loan market should be restored.”
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