Dave Ramsey Has Outspoken View On the ‘Lie’ About College

Dave Ramsey wants to be sure parents and young adults understand there are many options available after high school.

The radio host and author says there are a significant number of career paths open to those who are receptive to alternative means of pursuing them.

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At the center of attention is the perceived societal expectation that a four-year college degree is of paramount importance.

“I think the lie we’ve told people in the marketplace is that a degree gets you a job,” Ramsey wrote, according to UpJourney. “A degree doesn’t get you a job. What gets you a job is the ability to carry yourself into that room and shake a hand and look someone in the eye and have people skills. These are the things that cause people to become successful.”

The personal finance personality also has a message for parents about the difficulties of saving for college.

“You’re not a bad parent if you don’t save for your kid’s college because instead, you had to choose to feed them and clothe them,” he said. “Those things come first. They can go to school and do this thing called ‘work’ while they’re in school.”

While examining opportunities for young adults without four-year degrees, Ramsey Solutions explored a number of occupations available to them.

“While you may not need a bachelor’s degree, you do need an education,” wrote Ken Coleman on Ramsey’s website. “Some of these jobs we’re going to talk about require an associate degree, some trade school, and others specific certifications or apprenticeships. But here’s the bottom line: You can earn good money and enjoy meaningful work without spending four years at college.”

Following are seven of the occupations, each including a brief description, that Ramsey Solutions suggests are worth a look. 

Real Estate Agent

Median salary: $48,770

Education needed: high school diploma, licensing requirements vary by state

Real estate agents (or brokers) work with clients to buy and sell homes. The neat thing about real estate is that it’s commission-based, so you eat what you kill. You can put in lots of hours and effort to grow your business, or you can work on a more flexible and part-time schedule. To really succeed as a real estate agent, you must enjoy sales and working with people.


Median salary: $59,880

Education needed: high school diploma, apprenticeship

If working with wires sparks your interest (sorry, dad joke), then you might consider becoming an electrician. You can attend a technical school or find an apprenticeship for on-the-job training. Electricians bring power to buildings, homes, transmission lines and a variety of equipment.

Web Developer

Median salary: $78,300

Education needed: associate degree

Web developers blend a unique set of technical and creative skills to design and build websites. This is a high-demand job that you can find in a variety of agencies or businesses. Or you can even strike out on your own as a freelancer if you’re willing to make solid connections. And the pay is great!

Police Officers and Detectives

Median salary: $66,020

Education needed: varies

Law enforcement is a demanding, exciting and rewarding career. Obviously, it’s pretty straightforward: Protect those under your care, get the bad guys, and solve the case. Most positions do not require anything beyond a high school diploma, but certain positions prefer hiring candidates with an associate or bachelor’s degree, so going back to college might be worth it.

Radiologic and MRI Technologists

Median salary: $61,980

Education needed: associate degree

Both x-rays and MRIs are diagnostic tools that help physicians and patients understand what is going on inside the body. Techs are the workers who actually run the tests and work with physicians to get the information needed in order to make a diagnosis and treat patients.

Elevator Installer and Repairer

Median salary: $97,860

Education needed: high school diploma

This is one of those random jobs that most people take for granted! As it turns out, elevator installers and repairers make good money working with their hands. It’s no surprise that they often work in cramped spaces around heavy machinery. They’re often required to be on call 24 hours a day for repairs. But if you’re afraid of heights, this probably isn’t the job for you!

Air Traffic Controller

Median salary: $129,750

Education needed: associate degree

Air traffic controllers have the exciting, high-stakes job of directing air traffic from the ground. They sit in those towers with lots of windows that you see at airports. Air traffic controllers often work nights and weekends to keep up with travel schedules. It’s a demanding job with a rewarding result — making sure people take off, travel and land safely!

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