The value of a higher education can be measured in many ways. It may bring increased self-esteem, respect from friends and family, and a heightened awareness of the world in general.
But one place a higher education can be measured in dollars and cents is in the workplace. The American workforce has gone through some rather dramatic transformations in the last generation or so and one of the biggest transformations is the value of a good education.
Many jobs that were once considered entry-level positions with no formal education required now do require a college degree of all job applicants. This trend is especially evident in the clerical profession. Many people seeking work as secretaries, bookkeepers, and administrative assistants must have a bachelor’s degree to be considered for employment.
The world of education itself rewards higher education with higher pay. Many school districts offer higher pay to schoolteachers who hold master’s degrees than to those with identical job descriptions and only a bachelor’s degree.
Many industries require higher education in the form of certifications and licenses dependent upon classes focused on a specific occupation. In many industries, employees with journeyman certification can start a job at a higher rate of pay than someone without certification but who has many years of experience on the job instead.
The nursing profession is one where the value of a higher education is clearly defined. Someone may start as a nurse’s aide, but salary increases every educational step along the way as this same person progresses to a licensed vocational nurse (LVN), to a registered nurse (RN), to one who specializes in a particular discipline such as surgery, emergency care, or neonatal care.
Today’s job market is increasingly competitive, as budget cuts, mergers, and hiring freezes threaten every industry. When facing these distressing situations, there’s no guarantee a level of higher education will secure or save a job but it certainly won’t hurt. And it’ll very likely make finding the next job a bit easier.