Importance of Education for Career AdvancementIf you are among the post-recession cynics who think a college degree is an expensive,but worthless, piece of paper, here’s some food for thought.In 2009, the unemployment rate was the lowest for those who held a professionaldegree, at 2.3 percent, while it was the highest (14.6%) for individuals whoseeducational qualification was less than a high school diploma.(bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm)If that doesn’t convince you of the importance of education, here are some morenumbers to do the talking.The average weekly earnings of a high school graduate in 2009 were $626, which was$135 less than the weekly wages of professionals who held an Associate’s degree, $399less than those who had a Bachelor’s degree, and a whopping $631 less than those whohad a Master’s degree. (bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm)Now spread that figure across a year, and then over a lifetime. That’s a lot of moneyyou’re missing out on because you chose to skip college!Education Pays and How…The reality is education pays and the sooner we realize the importance of education, thebetter will be our future. Contrary to what the recession and consequential depressed jobmarket would have you believe, getting higher education becomes even more importantin a tough economy.In today’s job market, many employers look for individuals who have some kind ofpostsecondary education even for low-end clerical roles. The higher your careeraspirations, the higher should be your level of education.For example, most entry-level white collar jobs are available to those who havecompleted an Associate’s degree. But Bachelor degree programs are the basicqualification for higher paying and more responsible roles. For more complex andleadership roles, graduate degrees are essential.Students are encouraged to think independently, contribute to classroom discussions,and make important decisions on their own. This cultivates skills that are useful not justin their professional, but also personal lives.Promising CareersEven though the importance of education doesn’t begin and end with a fancy job, it isonly practical to make academic choices that will lead to promising careers.One field that has emerged unscathed from the economic downturn is healthcare.According to the Department of Labor statistics report 2010-2011, 10 of the 20 fastestgrowing professions are healthcare-related, and the sector is projected to add 3.2 millionnew jobs by 2018. (bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs035.htm)
While nursing and healthcare administration remain evergreen career choices in thisfield, some non-conventional jobs such as medical coding and billing, medical assisting,and laboratory assisting are also gaining in popularity.The good news is that none of these careers requires extensive schooling. While a lot ofthese jobs are open to those who have an Associate’s degree, some, such asHealthcare Administration, might have Bachelor’s degree or higher as the minimumrequired qualification.IT careers have also recovered some of their lost sheen, and students are attracted to awide range of computer-related jobs, especially networking and programming that canbe broken into with a two-year Associate’s degree. More sophisticated roles likesoftware engineering still require a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.These careers are just the tip of an iceberg that’s yours to explore only if you would takethe time and effort to pursue a college education.