Make Education Your Mission | Learn Big to Earn Big
Published in the May/June 2012 issue of print Search & Employ®
The word “learn” contains the word “earn.” That sounds like something you would find on a poster in a high school career counselor’s office. But older people should appreciate the message as well; there is usually a direct correlation between a person’s educational attainment level and his or her income level.
Here’s a fairly narrow example from the medical field, but one that also applies to job seekers who are looking in almost any other field: In most parts of the country, medical jobs that do not require a college degree tend to pay between $20,000 and $40,000 a year. For jobs that require just a two-year college degree, the pay goes up significantly – to between $40,000 and $60,000. Advanced nursing jobs that usually require a master’s degree pay upwards of $90,000. And we all know that doctors – who spend a lot of time in school – make the big bucks.
The value of education goes beyond what students read in books or hear from their professors. Employers understand that people who have earned higher education degrees know how to learn and will be quicker to pick up new skills and knowledge on the job. And students interact with many other people, something that often teaches them communication skills such as persuasion and conflict resolution.
Students also have to develop time and task-management skills to handle the many projects, deadlines, and other demands of obtaining an education. In addition, students have the advantage of learning from others – not just professors – while they are “hitting the books.”
The phrase “knowledge is power” applies in good times and bad. It shouldn’t shock anybody that, while the recession hit almost everybody in one way or another, people without college degrees tended to be hit the hardest. Education, at the very least, can often help be a shield against economic adversity.
Education offers an opportunity value as well as a dollar value. Earning a degree beyond high school widens one’s range of career opportunities and chances for advancement. Many jobs that did not require a college degree before the recession now require it. Many jobs that required a bachelor’s degree now call for a master’s degree.
Many people gain valuable education through on-the-job training and independent study. But more and more employers are looking for college degrees when it comes to hiring for open positions. That is especially true now that there are more ways than ever to get a college degree. The traditional way is to learn on a college campus with ivy on the buildings and Frisbee on the quad. But as the non-traditional student becomes more traditional, colleges of all kinds have learned to adapt. Colleges are offering more and more classes online and at night so that people who work day jobs can further their education at their own pace.