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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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).
Look at you! You got swole and you loved it so much you’ve decided to help others get swole. What’s your next step? Professional certification! You already look the part of a legit personal trainer and that’s excellent for marketing your skills. But it’s a professional certification that really shows your potential clients that you’re qualified to train them. In other words, it gives them permission to trust you right from the start.
Don’t worry, training your brain for certification won’t take as long as training your body into the best physical shape of your life. You also don’t have to go anywhere to get it done; you can learn everything you need to know with online personal training courses at Ashworth College. Our Personal Trainer Career Diploma program can be completed in as few as four months and you can study at your own pace.
The program curriculum aligns with the standards set by the National Council on Strength and Fitness and helps prep you specifically for their Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) certification exam. Because of the NCSF mission to promote high levels of professional competency, ethics, and safety, their CPTs are considered highly-reputable industry wide.
There are nearly a dozen well-known certification programs available for aspiring personal trainers. They feature a range of costs, time commitments, and reputation levels. Here are some reasons why Ashworth College chose to base our program on the NCSF-CPT exam:
By the way, when you enroll in the Personal Trainer Career Diploma program at Ashworth College, you’ll also have the cost of the NCSF-CPT exam, practice test, study guides, and a 1-year membership covered by tuition! Once you graduate, you’ll be ready to sit for your exam without jumping through hoops. We’ll help you get prepped and get done so you can start pursuing your passion for personal training with confidence.
If your job no longer excites you as much as it once did, you may need to consider changing careers. It seems like an intimidating idea at first, but no matter where you are in your work life, making a career change could be the solution that leads to a happier, more successful you.
Before you can find success tackling something new, you have to understand what you’re leaving behind. Acknowledging that you are not happy with your current job–and figuring out why–is the first step to making a career change. Many people who are unhappy at work fall into one of these categories:
Feelings of discontent are extremely common when it comes to the working life and nearly everyone feels them to some degree at one time or another. But if you’re feeling unhappy at work more often than not, for your own health and well-being, you need to be proactive about making a change on your own terms.
Step one of finding a new path is homing in on what exactly you want to change and why. Write down your "wants" and your "don’t wants” about work. You’re not signing any dotted lines here, you’re just making notes for your own personal reference. Put everything on the table no matter how selfish or outrageous it seems because drawing hard lines between what you want and don’t want makes every step towards a new career much more likely to result in success.
If you need some guidance thinking through your feelings about your work, take this quick quiz to find out what kind of a career change might best suit your needs. You may benefit from a little tweak or you may be inspired to tackle something totally new.
One you figure out what kind of career change will inspire you, you can start taking steps toward it. In some cases, you may just need to ask the boss for a new opportunity or project that will challenge you without taking you too far from your current role. That could require a refresh of your skills, or a few steps into a new subject area. Earning a career-specific certification can be a smart investment here. You can expand your opportunities at work by digging deeper into a creative skill, business skill, trade, or something totally new.
If you’ve determined you need to make a drastic career change, you may need to start a new degree, or finish one you didn’t complete. Don’t worry! Returning to college is not as scary as it seems. The right school can be affordable and flexible to fit into your already busy schedule.
Check out the opportunities here at Ashworth College. We provide online diploma, degree, certificate and career training programs that give you freedom and flexibility to pursue additional education on your time, from your own home, and without the need for Federal student loans. You may find yourself in that dream career a lot faster than you thought possible.