Recently in the United States employers have started to require a degree for most jobs and will not necessarily accept alternative forms of higher education. For example my husband learned how to work with computers while in the Army and was successful at it for the eight years that he was in the Army without ever getting a college degree. When he was discharged from the military, he learned very quickly that it did not matter what his accomplishments in the Army were and that the only thing that mattered was having a college degree. On multiple occasions, he has been told by potential employers "we want to hire you, you are perfect for the job, but we cannot hire you since you do not have a degree. We do not care what type of degree you get as long as it's a degree." What could possibly be wrong with employees' skills counting towards their job qualification?.
Not every career can or should accept alternative training such as medical doctors, lawyers, and architects; however, for many jobs alternative education produces competent employees. In 2011, nationwide 15,158,000 young adults age 18 through 24 years old enrolled or graduated from college ("Young Adults"). In this same demographic there were 5,184,000 who were not working or going to school and who did not have a degree past high school ("Person Age 18 to 24"). For graduates of 2011, the average salary was $50,034 (Ellis 2011). Most graduating students of 2011, have a student loan debt of $26,600 (Ellis 2012). One way for a person to become competent in a job without going to college is through an apprenticeship, and this form of education should not be easily dismissed.
The history of apprenticeships is long and vast. The first known mention of apprenticeships was 1800 BCE in Egypt and Babylon. The Babylonians had a code which mandated that the next generation be trained in a trade by the craftsmen.