For any professional, the importance of education should not be understated. Education and training can be vital keys to securing employment and advancing in your career. According to the US Census Bureau, individuals with a bachelor’s degree make nearly twice as much annually as those with a high school diploma, while those with a master’s degree earn roughly $10,000 more per year than those with bachelor’s degrees. Professional degrees and doctorates add even more to your average annual salary.
Unfortunately, such obstacles as time and money can often stand in the way of receiving the education and training you need to advance your career. However, with online education, it can be more convenient than in the past to enhance your knowledge and skills. Each year, more and more people are taking advantage of this invaluable resource.
Far and away, the vast majority of online students, over 83%, are working to complete undergraduate degrees, which have become basic qualifications for professional employment (Sloan Consortium). In addition, continuing education and training opportunities allow professionals to add skills to their arsenal in fields that may not even have existed when they completed their degrees.
A College Education and the Job Market
The importance of education when it comes to employment could not be clearer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a college education means you are more likely to have a job, hold it longer, and make more money.
In today’s tough job market, high school grads have a 9.7% unemployment rate, as compared to 4.6% for workers who have completed at least a bachelor’s. Since 2000, employment for college degree holders has expanded by 8 million jobs in the US, while during the same time, jobs held by people with only a high school diploma have decreased by 2 million.
Education and Training are Invaluable Assets
If you are planning to use your online degree towards getting a job, the field in which you choose to pursue education and training matters. Of the 20 fastest growing occupations, a stunning number require a level of post-secondary education, ranging from professional certifications to the doctoral level.
Given the evolving nature of the American economy, the demand for professionals who can run our technology infrastructure is constantly increasing. By 2018, 155,000 new jobs for network systems and data communications analysts are projected, and 175,000 new software engineers will be hired. Entrants into either field are expected to have completed either a campus or online IT degree at the bachelor’s level.
Half of the growing occupations are related to healthcare, which should come as no surprise as the baby boomers head into retirement. Often medical tasks are delegated to the support staff, increasing the demand for medical technicians, physicians assistants, dental hygienists, and home health aides.
However, the most new jobs in the next ten years—over half a million of them—are expected to be created in the nursing field, which requires at least an associate’s degree, making online nursing programs particularly popular. Additionally, 280,000 new accountants and auditors will be called for, and a quarter million new jobs will be added in elementary education, where early childhood education degree online programs are already strong.
Choosing Your Field
If your online degree is your chance for a better job, choosing the right field of study will enable you to move into a growing occupation with the right credentials to compete for a job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps citizens informed about the labor market, but choosing a degree is about more than just selecting a program that will lead to a job.
You need to find a program that you will be able to complete, one that complements your abilities, and hopefully, one that you enjoy. Partial completion of an undergraduate degree does little for your employment prospects, but with strategic planning and reflection on who you are as a potential student and worker, online education and training targeted to a growing field can be a huge leg up in the career market.