In St. Louis County, a college degree no guarantee of the job you wantWhen Andrea Simmons was studying psychology at the University of Minnesota Duluth, working as a debt counselor wasn’t what she had in mind.
By: Brandon Stahl and Michelle Van Dell, Duluth News Tribune
When Andrea Simmons was studying psychology at the University of Minnesota Duluth, working as a debt counselor wasn’t what she had in mind.
But that’s just where the 25-year-old finds herself now. After graduating in 2008, she failed to find a psychology-related job, so she began working for Lutheran Social Service.
Simmons isn’t alone. In St. Louis County, having a college degree doesn’t always equal a job, much less one in your field of study.
The top job in the county for people with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology: unemployed. Second: cashier. Third: maintenance or repair worker.
If you were an elementary education major — the most popular degree in St. Louis County — you were more likely to be a receptionist, a retail salesperson or unemployed than you were to have a job in education.
That’s according to the 2009 U.S. Census’ American Community Survey data released last month and analyzed by the News Tribune.
This is first year the Census polled residents about their college majors, allowing a gauge of whether graduates were able to stay in their fields or had to look elsewhere for a job. Included in this set of information are people ages 24-65.
For college grads like Simmons who had to look for work out of their field, having a degree still gives them a better chance of getting a job and getting paid more. County residents with bachelor’s or master’s degrees were more than four times more likely to be employed than residents with high school diplomas to associate’s degrees. College graduates also made an average of 64 percent more in salary.
Simmons said she enjoys working for Lutheran Social Service and can incorporate her psychology degree into the job.
“A lot of our clients are in very stressful situations, and sometimes suicidal,” she said. “I’m able to practice empathy and talk them down off that ledge.”
Still, she said she hopes to find a job that’s more directly related to her degree.
“This just isn’t what I see myself doing in the future,” she said.