The value of continuing education increases every year. Without a college degree, including a degree from two-year program, the prospects of finding a high-quality job with excellent earnings is difficult at best. The level education for the average person in the United States is increasing, making it essential to complete additional education beyond a high school degree.
This increasing average level of education of the general working population causes earning potential increases (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Demographics of Labor Force). An additional indicator of the value of continuing education is measured as follows for full-time workers age 25 and over (Usual Weekly Earnings for First Quarter, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics):
Using the monetary figures provided above, a comparison can be quickly made regarding the value of continuing education. For example:
The difference equals $19,832 and over a ten year period this difference may equal more than $190,000.
This potential ten year difference more than pays for the average cost of a bachelor degree from a public university. The average cost for four years is $56,000 (U.S. News & World Report, Paying for College). This cost takes into consideration tax breaks, grants, tuition, room, board, fees, books, and other typical out-of pocket expenses.
The return on investment of $56,000 equals over $130,000 and this is only after ten years. The earnings difference continues to increase over time. In fact, education pays!
There are many reasons why people change jobs or careers and often it is because of upward mobility after earning an additional education degree or certification. However, when considering a job or career change it is essential to bridge any gaps between education, essential job skills, and experience.
With the high level of education for the average worker today, employers can be selective in who they hire. This means, more often than not, adults with a college degree are hired before those without a degree. This increases the value of continuing education.
Most people have heard of businesses closing overnight and layoffs without prior notice. This is another reason why it is essential to remain current in job skills, along with pursuing education in the latest trends and techniques related to a career field. Waiting until an employer closes its doors or passes out layoff notices, may lead to long term unemployment.
According to a news release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Number of Jobs Held – A Longitudinal Study) the average person changes jobs 10.8 times during the ages of 18 and 42. These numbers indicate employment stability is unsteady at best for everyone, including those with college degrees. This is another reason why the value of continuing education remains a positive career step for everyone.
These facts lead to the question - "Is there real value in continuing education?" The answer, Yes!
However, the success of any college graduate is based strictly on their personal performance, determination, and responsibility. Everyone in society needs continuing education, because education is a valuable asset which should never be taken lightly. Obtaining additional education opens doors which remain firmly closed for those with less education.