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Karen Dwyer: Three Reasons to Consider Higher Education

Attending a college or university can pave the way to better job opportunities

People are divided on whether pursuing an advanced degree in these economic times is a smart investment. According to a recent poll conducted on Movin’ On Up, the Express Employment Professionals job blog, 50 percent of respondents believe that higher education is worth the cost. The other half don’t believe that a college degree is worth the cost or they’re undecided.

Karen Dwyer
Karen Dwyer

In any economy, attending a college or university has its disadvantages, including the cost of tuition, books and the time spent studying. But it also has its advantages, beyond the piece of paper given at graduation.

Whether you attend an Ivy League university or a community college, there are many benefits of continuing your education. Here are three to consider when deciding whether to go back to school this fall.

Better Job Opportunities. In today’s competitive job market, a college degree is often required just to get your foot in the door at a certain company or within a certain field. Some fields even require a master’s degree to land an entry-level position, depending on the specialized nature of the job.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 27.2 percent of the population has earned a bachelor’s degree. That means, if you receive a higher-education degree, you’ll be ahead of nearly three-fourths of the population when you apply for a job, opening the way for better job opportunities that otherwise are hard to come by.

Increased Knowledge. When you choose a specific field to study in college, you’ll be required to enroll in specific courses to meet graduation requirements. While attending school and studying for those courses, you’ll gain a greater understanding about that particular subject.

Many higher-education programs require a general education base in addition to specialized classes. So, you’ll also gain knowledge about a variety of topics, from psychology to health and fitness to history. While you’re in school, you’ll also gain a wealth of knowledge beyond your textbooks. You’ll have the opportunity to work in student groups and practice leadership and teamwork skills, which can help hone interpersonal skills. Whether you realize it or not, you’ll be learning from all of your experiences and interactions in the classroom, gaining skills you’ll be able to use in the professional world.

Guided Experience. During your specific educational program, you’ll probably have the opportunity to gain experience in your field, whether through an internship, a practicum or on-the-job training. If you take full advantage of those opportunities, you’ll be able to put much of your education to work while gaining feedback and guidance from a supervisor. After all, practicing is the best way to get better at what you do.

You’ll also receive the benefit of working with experienced professionals who can share their experiences with you and teach you a thing or two about the occupation. Then, when you begin to look for a job using your new education and skills and enter the work force, you’ll be able to draw on your experiences and provide potential employers with examples of your work.

Continuing your education has many benefits beyond the three listed here. By finding an affordable college or university that’s right for you, you can attain a higher-education degree that can help your opportunities soar. But remember, you can only get out of your education what you put into it, so be sure to pick the right time, place and occupation before you hit the books.

— Karen Dwyer is owner of Express Employment Professionals, 9 W. Figueroa St. Click here to contact her or call 805.965.6900.

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