What is important are having skills, having a mentor, having connections/people you know in the field you want to get into, and having necessary qualifications. If you're talking about a kind of licensed professional, then a degree is obviously necessary for the licensing (teacher, counselor, doctor, lawyer, etc.). But if you're pursuing some field where skills matter but a degree doesn't, you can simply learn the skills without the degree through free online classes, working with tutors, iPhone apps, learning software, library books, etc. Foreign languages, programming, web developing, medical billing, etc. would fall into this category. And if you just want to be well rounded or learn about something like art, philosophy, anthropology, history, etc., I would argue that informal learning through museums and books can accomplish just as much as any degree and the degrees are too expensive to be financially advisable in those subjects, since very, very, very few people can get decent jobs in those fields even with a Ph.D. I pity the fool who gets an anthropology Bachelor's and expects a well-paying anthropology job, but there is some value in using that degree's well-rounded background in various social sciences, applying those skills in an unrelated job. But I think, if you're going to pay $50,000 to work as a gardening shop clerk who knows a lot about anthropology, why not simply skip college and pay $2 in library fines to be a gardening shop clerk who knows a lot about anthropology? I feel like I got screwed over by assuming that if I worked hard even an art history major could pay off.