The Importance and Value of a College Degree

With an economy only slowly recovering from a deep recession, and jobs still scarce those seeking employment are increasingly realizing the value and importance of a college degree. Oftentimes, because of such an overwhelmingly large pool of seekers, an applicant without an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or even a Master’s degree can automatically be thrown out of an employer’s search, all for a simple lack of certifiable credentials. Whether you have never set foot in a college classroom, or whether you’ve taken a few courses but never completed a degree, this may be the time to start thinking seriously about your education and further, your career goals.

Relationship between Unemployment and Degree Completion

Data from the government proves that higher education degree completion is important for job seekers; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009 the unemployment rate was more than twice as high for persons without a high school diploma than for persons with an Associate’s degree. That gap widens to three times in comparison to persons who hold a Bachelor’s degree. The unemployment rate for persons with Master’s, professional and doctoral degrees was the lowest, at 2-4 percent.

 

college-graduates

 

Salary and Degree Completion

Better, a completed undergraduate or graduate degree will not only help you get a job, it has been statistically proven on average to boost pay.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that persons with a high school degree make, on average, $626 weekly. In comparison, persons with an Associate’s degree make $761, workers with a Bachelor’s degree make $1,025 and those with a Master’s degree take in $1,257 a week. According to these numbers, a person with an Associate’s degree is likely to earn nearly $7,000 more per annum than someone with just a high school diploma, a person with a Bachelor’s degree is likely to earn nearly $14,000 more a year than someone with an Associate’s degree, and a worker who possesses a Master’s degree is likely to earn nearly $12,000 more annually than someone with just a Bachelor’s degree.

Obtaining your Career Goals

Is money not your only priority? Perhaps another one of your hopes is to gain credibility; you want those above you and under you to respect your input, ideas and position on a daily basis. In these manners, completing an undergraduate or graduate degree will also help you meet your ultimate career goals. Moving up in the workplace—a common occurrence after attaining your first or another degree—typically comes not only with a pay raise but also with greater responsibility; more tasks to complete; and more connections in your field and beyond.

Indeed, it has been shown that skills that are often honed during a student’s higher education incorporate proficiencies that will help them fully reach his or her respective career goals. These aptitudes include the talent to write effectively and convincingly, the ability to fashion a supported, valid argument, and the wherewithal to persevere in the face of overwhelming workloads, challenges or adversity.

Networking Opportunities

Finally, in the job search most applicants notice that connections to people inside and outside their field are a great, almost unrivaled resource. Persons you meet during your career as a student—whether they be professors, instructors, fellow classmates or school administrators—can have a very positive effect on your future prospects. They can recommend your work, mention your name to others, and provide the resources necessary to find the perfect job. So, when calculating the cost-benefit ratio of continuing on or returning to school next semester, be sure to take into mind not only the future possible salary implications, but also the other skills and resources you may attain during the education process.  

Source:

Bureau of Labor Statistics. <http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm>. Retrieved 15 January, 2011.

External links provided on Rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

This article was written by Caroline Gulbrandsen, Dean of Faculty at the Rasmussen College — Rockford, IL college campus. In this position, she oversees degrees in business, allied health, education, technology and more. She brings 20 years of experience–working as Assistant Director for the Professional Development and Training Office at the University of Miami and has designed numerous faculty and professional development programs. Caroline holds a M.Ed. from Florida Atlantic University and a B.A. in English from the University of South Florida.

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