Education of course is quite important when you want to land that dream job. While in college I was under the impression when I finished college I would go straight into that career when I came out. I was wrong; instead I spent over 5 years as a retail salesperson before I got my opportunity.
First when you choose a career, research it. Find out what is the best educational path for that career. For example someone doing banking and finance would be best off with a college degree but a certification in that field may also improve you job chances. A mechanic however may be better off in more of a technical school so they can get more hands on experience.
While education is important do not feel because you had the best grades, that you will get the job 10 times out of 10. A lecturer once told me that he would rather a C student work for him than an A student. It was a shocking statement and he explained that the C student knew what is to fail and the A student did not. He felt that failure was a part of working and he did not know how the A student would react to failure. Definitely I am not telling you a C is better than an A student but I am telling you that more than grades are necessary when it comes to getting a job.
A lady was in one of my computer theory classes and she got 100% on most of her tests. However in our hands on programming test she absolutely failed. At the end of the day I am sure her graduating GPA was probably near the top. However if a company hired her based on her GPA alone for a programing job it may take her awhile to catch on.If you want to get your college degree or some other kind of diploma then a young age is the best. As you get older, life and responsibilities makes it more challenging to pursue your dream.
Some friends of mine when I was in college said they were taking a semester off and they never went back. The truth is when we start making that money the appeal of college decreases. It is sometime difficult to spend money on college when you know you have bills. The college degree does not always give you immediate financial reward but it is a future investment. Going straight out of high school to college is the best option if possible because that is when you can focus more.