Do Welders Really Make More Than Philosophy Majors? The Real Value of a Diploma

family studies majorDuring the Fox Business News Republican Debate earlier this November, presidential contender Senator Marco Rubio made a now-famous remark. It was one of the top sound bytes of the night.

Rubio said, “For the life of me I don’t know why we stigmatize vocational education. Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders than philosophers.”

Although it was a powerful statement, some of the philosophy majors of the world have since taken issue with that statement — like, say, philosophy major Carly Fiorina! According to various fact checks (and with all due respect to welders) philosophy and religious studies majors in the U.S. earn an annual mean wage of $71,350 compared to $40,040 for welders.

We certainly don’t want to stigmatize vocational school, or minimize the important work done by the welders of the world, but the facts still show that a college degree — yes, even a philosophy degree — increases graduates’ chances of reaching financial success. So let’s not stigmatize philosophers either.

As of 2012, Pew Research found that the median annual earnings of Americans with a bachelor’s degree was $45,000; those with only some college earned $30,000; and workers with high school diplomas made $28,000. That trend has continued since 2012; millennials with higher education earn about 98% more per hour than other full-time workers. That’s why 21 million people enrolled in college last year.

Step 1: Enrich Yourself, Step 2: Enrich the Family, and Step 3: Save the World
While most college applicants are teenagers and other young people, we believe it’s never too late to start or finish your college career with adult education. But if like Senator Rubio you believe there’s nothing more important than family life — but you aren’t interested in philosophy — then consider a family studies major.

Many schools have a combined program focusing on human development and family studies degrees, which focus on human and family life in all its stages, from the cradle to end of life. More specifically, URI family studies majors learn:

“At URI, Human Development and Family Studies (HDF) examines this amazing process of growth and development, emphasizing the impact of family and community on quality of life. Here you’ll gain the skills and tools to make a difference in people’s lives, working with them in early childhood or youth programs, at colleges and universities, through personal counseling or family therapy, or at senior centers and long-term care facilities.”

If helping people and families are your passion, then a family studies major might be right for you. Help infants who need a little extra TLC in their life, while also helping to care for aging Americans in geriatric care.

No matter what you study, a college degree of any kind can drastically improve your chances of getting ahead in life. If you’ve been thinking about applying or returning to college, then it’s time to start planning for your future.