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Debating if going back to college as an adult is a wise investment or a waste of time?

Written by Ashworth College on Wednesday, 27 December 2017. Posted in Career

Debating if going back to college as an adult is a wise investment or a waste of time?

At some point in time in most every working adult's life, they've wondered, is going back to college worth it? It may be that they're looking for a promotion or raise at work. Or perhaps they've realized their dream career is in another field. Maybe it's that they want the satisfaction of finally earning the college degree they never finished. If these feelings sound familiar, then you might be asking yourself that same question: When it comes to college, is it a wise investment or a waste of time? 

It's not an easy answer. But considering carefully the industry you are in (or want to be in), your employer, and the skills you want to learn is a good place to start.

The industry

Every industry values education differently. Finding out as much about your current industry or the one you want to switch to can provide excellent information. Remember to consider what the industry is like now, as well as where it's going. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook is a great place to start. 

The employer

Looking to stay with your current company? Make sure going back to school will help you get ahead. Having an honest conversation with your employer about your goals and what will help you reach them can help you decide if college is the right choice.

The skills

The type of skills you need to learn can help tell you whether or not you should go back to college, and what type of program you need. Are you training for an entirely new field? Looking to learn additional skills to help you advance in your current role? Or, are you brushing up on the basics after being out of the workforce for awhile? Thinking about these questions can help you decide what path is right for you.

Still can't decide? These 6 numbers can help

Beyond these key factors, there are hard data points that can help. Several research studies focus on whether or not a college education is a good investment. Here are six numbers from those studies that can help you decide whether college is worth your time, money and effort.

8,100,000

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 8.1 million college students over the age of 25 enrolled in college in 2015. That's about 41% of all students enrolled in college that same year! The largest grouping of adult students were those over the age of 35. This trend of adults going back to college signals that the decision is one worth considering no matter your age.

56

As reported by the Associated Press, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) says the earning gap between high school graduates and college graduates is widening. According to EPI, college graduates typically earn 56% more than high school graduates.

2,800,000

Measuring the worth of a college education on increased income alone can give you an incomplete picture. Income, even among people with the same level of education, can depend on the industry, job and geographic location. Plus, as the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) points out, gender, race and ethnicity play factors as well. Still, the CEW reported that over a lifetime a bachelor's degree is worth $2.8 million in earnings. 

30,000,000

However, having a good job does not necessitate having a bachelor's degree. Another report from CEW found there are 30 million "good jobs" that do not require a bachelor's degree. These are positions that are commonly known as middle-skill or skilled service jobs and require some college, such as an associate degree.

34,000

The average college graduate leaves school with $34,000 in student debt! That's what analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found. How to pay for tuition is obviously a big choice for all students, but especially adult college students since they often have families to care for and may continue to work while pursuing an education. But, taking out student loans is not the only option. Following a strict budget, finding scholarships, searching for a flexible program that allows you to work while going to school, and research into affordable payment plans are all ways to pay for school without student loans

62

When it comes to deciding whether college is worth it, it helps to talk to people who've been there. That's exactly what the Pew Center for Research did, and they found that 62% of college alumni feel their time in college was “Very useful in helping them grow personally and intellectually.” On top of those responses, 53% said college was helpful in receiving job opportunities and 49% said college helped them develop skills and knowledge they use at work.

No matter what you decide, preparing to go back to college is a personal choice. Think it overand be sure to define success beyond just increased income. There's a lot to be gained fromcollege that can improve everything you do!

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Career When Hard Work Isn’t Enough, Here’s What You Need to Succeed

You’ve been studying hard and working towards that 4.0 GPA. But, is that what employers will care about most? While good grades will get you far on your career journey, soft skills can get you even further. Excellent grades don't guarantee spot on performance, but developing soft skills can show potential employers that you have what it takes to adapt, learn, and confidently take on new tasks as they’re given to you. In fact, 31% of teachers think it’s more important to develop soft skills. Here are the skills you need to impress employers.

Succeed with a strong work ethic

Companies across the United States are finding it difficult to find applicants with soft skills, according to the Wall Street Journal. Some skills are difficult to teach and work ethic is one of them. Employers will be impressed if you possess this skill right from the start. Having a strong work ethic means you’re organized, timely, and dedicated. But, that’s not all. Work ethic also means you budget your time wisely while being able to work independently or with a team. Either way, you can be trusted to get the job done every time and without excuses.

Think outside of the box

Employers want candidates with critical thinking and problem-solving skills. That means you need to be creative and curious. Stand out from other applicants by showing you can make informed decisions and analyze situations. No matter the field, you’ll need to think critically and understand problems while providing solutions. You’ll also need to adapt to new challenges and take ownership of problems as they arise. Thinking outside of the box can go a long way. Set yourself apart by approaching challenges in a critical way through analysis, open-mindedness, and creativity.

Communication is key

Communication skills go beyond talking. To be a good communicator you need to be able to effectively articulate your needs and also listen to the needs of others. Employers look for candidates who can communicate their ideas and receive the ideas of their coworkers with an open mind. No matter the career, you’ll need to communicate with coworkers, clients, customers, or vendors. As an employee, you may find yourself discussing problems, giving instructions, and working in teams. Being able to do so effectively can help you advance your career. By bringing forth clear ideas, plans, and processes for how to improve goods or services in your company in an easy to understand manner, you'll show your employer how invested you are in what you do.

There’s no “I” in team

Teamwork really does make the dream work, and employers recognize that. That’s why employers look for candidates who work well with others. As an employee you’ll often work with your colleagues on projects and you may not always see eye to eye. Being part of a team doesn’t just mean working together. It also means you give and receive feedback and constructive criticism. Collaboration skills are essential and employers look for candidates who can work independently while also contributing to overall team goals.

Spread positivity

A smile goes a long way. While you may not think a positive attitude is the key to succeeding in the workforce, employers are genuinely interested in candidates who are optimistic and are refreshing to be around. As an employee, you should be friendly and eager to work. It’s especially important to remain positive in a less than ideal work environments. Your enthusiasm, patience, and overall energy won’t go unnoticed.

Go beyond your grade

While a high GPA is certainly something to celebrate, remember that employers are looking beyond your grade when considering you for a position at their company. Job candidates who can think outside of the box, understand teamwork, can come up with creative solutions, and possess leadership skills are in demand. Work to strengthen these skills like you would any other lesson you learn at school. With hard work and a dynamite set of soft skills you can succeed in work you’re passionate about!

woman walking down a road

Career Career Programs You Can Start & Finish This Year

If you’re ready for your next career adventure or if you’re looking for something new and exciting on your current career path, you don’t have to take the long road. Ashworth is here to help you embark on your journey towards a rewarding career. Here are 10 programs you can start and finish this year.

Child Care Provider

The need for child care providers is increasing. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 1,298,700 people will be employed as child care providers by 2026. Parents rely on child care providers to help keep their kids safe while also aiding in their intellectual growth. As a child care provider you may work in a daycare center, before- or after-school program, preschool, or home visit. Through our Child Care Provider Career Diploma program, you’ll develop skills to care for children from birth to school age in as little as four months.

Upon completion of the program, you’ll become a member of the National Association of Family Child Care (NAFCC).

Medical Billing and Coding

Learn in-demand skills with our online Medical Billing and Coding Career Certificate. This program will help prepare you for work in doctor’s offices, medical practices, hospitals, and clinics. With a growing aging population that requires medical treatment, medical billing career opportunities are expected to grow by 13% by 2026 according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

You’ll learn the responsibilities of a medical biller/coder, the purpose of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), billing guidelines for medical needs, the life cycle of insurance claims, and the need for accurately coding diagnoses and procedures using industry-standard coding systems.

Heating and Air Conditioning

Commercial and residential buildings require HVAC systems, leaving a need for qualified professionals to install, maintain, and replace those systems. In our online Heating and Air Conditioning Career Diploma program, you’ll learn skills such as how to identify systems and components used for heating and air conditioning, understand standard installation procedures, and troubleshoot and maintain HVAC installations and commercial refrigeration in as little as four months.

This program also offers students the opportunity to complete the EPA 608 Certification Exam.

Bookkeeping

If you’re interested in financial data, spreadsheets, and statistical reporting then a career in bookkeeping may be for you. Our online Bookkeeping Career Diploma program will help prepare you to meet entry-level bookkeeping needs for businesses of all sizes. You’ll learn the basics of bookkeeping and accounting practices, to explain the concepts of cash and accrual accounting, to prepare payroll transactions, and assist in basic internal controls to prevent theft, embezzlement, and check and credit card fraud.

Dog Obedience Trainer

If you have a furry friend who you trained or if you enjoy helping friends train their new pet then you might want to consider starting our online Dog Obedience Trainer Career Diploma program. As dog owners seek help training their pets, animal trainer careers are expected to grow 20% by 2026, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In this program, you’ll learn the roles and responsibilities of dog trainers, different breed characteristics, problem behaviors, and critical periods of dog behavior in as little as four months.

Event Planning

If you’re detail oriented, organized, and enjoy working with people then you may want to consider a career as an event planner. In our Event Planning Career Diploma program, you’ll learn the role of an event planner, the importance of the interview process and how to determine the budget, size, and style of events, how to plan various events, such as birthdays, religious celebrations, showers, and more, and business considerations involved in running an event planning business.

Enrollment in this program also comes with a one-year student membership to Meeting Professionals International.

Graphic Design

If you have a love for art and design and want to turn your passion into a rewarding career then our online Graphic Design Career Diploma program may be right for you. In this program, you’ll learn the elements and principles of design and how to apply them to print and web projects. You’ll also learn to use graphics software from Adobe Creative Cloud®, including Photoshop®, Illustrator®, InDesign®, Muse®, and Edge Animate®.

Retail Management

If you’re looking to enhance your resume and are interested in being in a role that combines leadership and interpersonal skills with sales knowledge, then consider enrolling in our online Retail Management Career Diploma program. Growth in managerial roles in expected to increase with 77,300 new jobs expected for first-line supervisors of retail sales workers by 2026, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In this program, you’ll learn the basics of retail management and merchandising, including organizational structure and key positions, growth and expansion, consumer communication, and merchandise layout and presentation.

Wedding Planner

You love love and you’re a people person, but most importantly, you enjoy planning parties. Newly engaged couples often seek the help of professionals to plan their big day. By enrolling in our Wedding Planner Career Diploma program you can turn your love for love into a career. You’ll learn the role of a professional wedding planner, wedding customs, rituals, and traditions, planning wedding events, including parties, showers, and ceremonies, and how to run a wedding planning business.

In this program, you’ll also receive a one-year membership for the Association of Bridal Consultants® (ABC).

Small Business Management

Whether you’re interested in launching a home-based business or opening your own store, the Small Business Management Career Diploma may be right for you. In as little as four months, you’ll learn how to plan, structure, and run a small business. You’ll cover topics such as business plan development, sales and marketing basics, and the fundamentals of small business accounting and finance.

Why Ashworth?

Ashworth programs are self-paced and available online, allowing you to study when and where you want.

When you enroll you’ll have access to your Student Portal dashboard, which provides instant access to your lessons and support. You’ll also join an active online community of students, staff, and alumni.

Contact Ashworth to start your journey towards finishing your program this year.

What Kinds of Jobs Can You Get with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education?

Career What Kinds of Jobs Can You Get with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education?

An online Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education is designed for aspiring educators who want to develop a career focused on teaching children age 4 and younger. Though you may have stayed at home with a sitter or guardian, or attended a loosely-programmed preschool or play group at that age, it’s now the 2010s and expectations for life pre-K now include structured education by teachers who have earned degrees specifically for this field.

Become a preschool teacher

If you have a heart for little kids and patience to boot, consider earning your online Associate Degree and preparing for a job as a preschool teacher! The main goal of preschool is for toddlers to gain language, motor, and social skills while having lots and lots of fun.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for preschool teachers is projected to increase 10% between 2016 and 2026.* That’s a faster-than-average growth projection for all occupations during the same time period. Since the typical requirement for launching a career as a preschool teacher is the completion of an Associate Degree, that leaves plenty of time to get started, graduate, and secure a position in this growing field.

Positions for preschool teachers are available through Head Start programs, private early childhood education centers, churches and faith-based schools, as well as through tutoring, nannying, and at-home childcare services.

The need for preschool teachers is projected to increase 10% between 2016 and 2026—a faster than average growth for all jobs!

Bilingual or want to be? Teach ELLs or become an au pair

As more school systems throughout the U.S. enroll first-generation citizens from non-English-speaking homes, there’s a growing need for trained teachers who can help the youngest of students learn English. Becoming a preschool teacher who works with English Language Learners (ELLs) is a unique way to apply your passion for ECE to a demographic of children who can greatly benefit from your language skills.

If private childcare and teaching is more your style—and you have a sense of adventure—use your ECE degree to become an au pair for a family outside the U.S., or nanny for a foreign family that’s recently moved to the U.S. In both situations, your training will bolster the children’s English-speaking skills and you’ll gain a world of knowledge about another culture.

Ready to learn how to play with purpose? Check out the curriculum of our Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. Or practice your ABCs and enroll today!

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Preschool Teachers, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm (visited October 31, 2018).

 
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