If you aren’t happy with your current job or salary, then consider furthering your education. Earning potential and job opportunities tend to increase with each level of education, so consider trying for that associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree.
Most Degrees Actually Pay for Themselves
The amount you can earn each year typically increases along with your level of education. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2007, workers with a high school diploma earned an average salary of $33,609, but those with an associate degree earned $41,447, bachelor’s degree holders earned $59,365, and workers with a master’s degree earned an average salary of $70,559.
How does this equate to a degree paying for itself? Let’s look at the bachelor’s degree, one of the most common degrees earned among full-time workers. During the 2007-2008 academic school year, undergraduate tuition, room, and board was estimated to cost $29,915 at private institutions and significantly less ($11,578) at public institutions. A person with a bachelor’s degree earns an average of $25,000 more annually than someone with only a high school diploma–you can see how quickly the cost of tuition is essentially earned back.
You can reduce the cost of your degree further by starting out at a 2-year community college, with even lower tuition rates, and then transferring to a 4-year college or university for a bachelor’s degree. An associate’s degree only requires a 2-year program. And you can earn an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree online, which again typically costs far less than attending a traditional university. This option has become particularly popular with older students, those who want to work full-time while studying, and students with family obligations.
A Degree Gives You More Job Opportunities
When it comes to employment, college graduates often have more options than those who don’t have any post-secondary education. In this current economic climate, you should expect to compete with many qualified candidates when applying for a job. A degree can help enhance your resume and thus your job opportunities. Of the 30 jobs expected to have the fastest employment growth from 2006-2016 (according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), 20 require an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree. These include:
- Network Systems and Data Communications Analyst
- Computer Applications Software Engineer
- Veterinary Technologists and Technician
- Personal Financial Advisor
- Medical Assistant
- Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor
- Financial Analyst
- Physical Therapy Assistant
- Forensic Science Technician
- Dental Hygienist
- Mental Health Counselor
- Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker
- Marriage and Family Therapist
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Database Administrator
- Computer and Systems Software engineer
- Environmental Science and Protection Technician
- Physical Therapist
- Physician Assistant
Overcoming Excuses for Not Getting a Degree
What if you don’t know what you want to do with your life? Is going to college then a waste of time? No! College exposes you to a wide variety of subjects and possible professions, including some you may not have previously known about. Freshman year, whether at a 2-year or 4-year school, is all about exploring your options. So many students change majors in their first year or two of college that some universities don’t allow freshmen to declare a major–to let students figure things out before committing.
You may worry if you struggled in high school that earning a degree might prove too difficult. Nearly every college offers free tutoring and student support that you can use if you need it. You may surprise yourself. When you start studying a subject you love, you may find it’s easier–and more fun–than you expected.
Publish date: July 21, 2009