Scot gives the reasons most people become interested in word origins.
Linguistically, historical linguistics, which includes etymology, is one of the major disciplines. Language is one of the fundamental characteristics of humanity, and studying where languages come from and how they change over time is important for this reason alone. Although historical linguistics has been deemphasized in the study of linguistics in recent decades. In the 19th century, nearly all linguistics study was in historical linguistics.
Courses in etymology are vanishingly rare, even at the graduate level. More general courses in historical linguistics are available, though. You won’t find it in high school at all, although there may be a unit or two on etymology as part of an English curriculum.