If you’ve been thinking about what higher education can do for your career, it’s always good to look at how many different ways having a degree could affect your life. Maybe you’re feeling stuck at work and moving up just isn’t possible in your current job. Maybe you’re curious about changing to a new field, but you’re not sure how to make the leap.
From changes in the US economy to taking charge of your professional growth, here are six reasons it may be your time to get a college degree.
1. The US unemployment rate is lower than it has been in years
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US unemployment rate is at its lowest since July 2008, and it’s expected to continue falling.
When fewer people are looking for work, hiring managers aren’t buried under hundreds of resumes for one open position. Right now, employers have more time to review applications. They’re more likely than before to consider applicants with more diverse backgrounds, including those with fresh degrees who are looking to make the leap to a new industry. This is a good time to combine your skills and experience with additional education and advance your career path or try out a new field.
2. Bachelor’s degrees can be a good investment
A September 2014 study from the Hamilton Project found that workers with bachelor’s degrees earned more across their careers than those with only a high school diploma.
It’s always a good idea to look more deeply into earning statistics for your field of interest and location. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a great research resource. For example, 2014 numbers on earnings by education level from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show a sharp difference in earnings for those with and without a bachelor’s degree.
3. More jobs require college degrees each year
The world is changing, and job prospects are changing with it. A degree can help you get the qualifications you need for the jobs of the 21st century.
A few decades ago, a high school graduate with a solid work ethic could make a good living in manufacturing or agriculture. However, these jobs are changing as technology advances, and once-secure jobs such as meter reader, mail carrier, and tax collector are becoming rarer with each passing year, based on a study by CareerCast. Today’s jobs are more likely to be in industries such as business and management, healthcare, information technology, design or even specialties within those fields.
4. The competition is getting better educated
Employers are changing what they’re looking for in employees and the workforce is responding.
Georgetown University reports that between 1967 and 2012, the number of employed high school dropouts fell by 28 percent. During the same period, the number of workers with at least a bachelor’s degree grew by 20 percent. If more employers require bachelor’s degrees and more qualified applicants are applying, having a bachelor’s degree yourself can make you a more competitive candidate.
5. More education leads to professional growth
Most employers are willing to support their employees’ advancement, but most company-provided training can’t supply the same value as a formal degree.
Even if your employer does offer extra on-the-job training, it will most likely be related to your current position. A higher education degree can help you move up to a higher-paying role in your company or in another industry or location. If you want to move up at work or switch fields entirely, education is the strongest foundation you can build for your employability.
Keep in mind that what you learn in school also benefits your employer. You’ll bring in fresh industry knowledge that will help you in your current role as well as new contributions for your team, boss, and company.
6. Advanced degrees boost soft skills
Whatever your field of study, a degree helps you step up your game in other areas.
Learning the skills employers list in desired qualifications sections of job ads are a big part of degree programs. Higher education advances skills employers increasingly demand from employees: critical thinking and reasoning; better written and spoken communication; and teamwork and collaboration skills
Getting a degree will net you new experience and expertise, but it also teaches more general skills that can make the difference between professional excellence and feeling stuck in your career.
Whether you’re looking for more out of your current job or a chance to try a new field or industry, now is definitely the right time to see if a college degree is right for you.
Stevens-Henager College offers a wide variety of degree programs designed for some of today’s fastest-growing career fields, such as business, healthcare, information technology, and graphic arts. Call 1-800-622-2640 or visit http://www.stevenshenager.edu/ today to learn more.