No easy career path for many students

For many students these days, college isn't exactly a direct path to a dream job.

In fact, a good chunk of class of 2014 college graduates have ended up in jobs that don't require a degree at all, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.

The good news for this group is that 65 percent of them are employed -- no small feat in an economy that has seen an unprecedented rate of people dropping out of the workforce completely. But of that group, some 51 percent are in jobs that don't require a degree. And only about half of working graduates say they're doing something related to their college major at all.

It's enough to make some parents wonder if college is worth the money. The average cost of one year of college in the last academic year was $40,917 for private schools and $18,391 at public schools, according to The College Board.

If the cost of college rises at a relatively modest rate of 2 percent a year, in 25 years a four-year education is expected to cost nearly $300,000.

In some ways, it's too early to make any real assumptions about the career prospects of the 2014 class, who are only a few months out of school. Some are planning to return to school for advanced degrees, and may have not begun to climb the career ladder. Others may have found themselves crowded out of entry-level jobs by older workers who haven't been able to advance during the slow economic recovery.

It can take time to land a great job after college. Still, the statistics for those who just graduated from four-year programs this year are a bit discouraging:

  • 49 percent are in full-time jobs
  • 15 percent are working part-time jobs
  • 10 percent are in temporary or contract positions
  • 5 percent are in internships
  • 22 percent are not working

Still, most students say they're glad they went to college. Some 87 percent say they don't regret their college major, and 89 percent say a degree is worth the money in the long run, according to CareerBuilder.

  • Kim Peterson

    Kim Peterson is a financial journalist covering business and the economy. She has written for several online and print publications, including MSN Money and The Seattle Times.