You don’t have to go far to find people extolling the virtues of education, and we at Strayer University are certainly in the business of making sure people can get the skills and knowledge that we think are so valuable. But how does earning your college degree actually benefit you as a student and a professional? I’ll tell you, it’s more than just the ability to find a good-paying job. Higher education is a life-changing force in people’s lives, and it will transform the way you live your life.
Increased Opportunity Come Your Way
An education elevates your skills and experience to a level where you have a lot more doors open to you professionally, but it also expands the types of experiences you’re likely to have in your chosen industry. And that’s what your work life is really about, applying your knowledge, skills and expertise to real-world problems.
When you have an expanded skill-set, and the ability to grow professionally through continuing education, promotions start to become a common occurrence. You’ll see opportunities on the job and in your industry where you can solve a problem, try out an idea or simply do things better than anyone else is currently. Education at online universities expands your horizons, and it opens up more challenging, satisfying work than you can participate in without any advanced training.
Higher Education = Higher Earning Potential
Of course, money isn’t everything. But the lack of it certainly throws up a lot of roadblocks to your happiness, security and even your health. We all want to achieve a certain quality of life, embodied in whatever your particular idea of the American Dream is. And the statistics show that earning your college degree is key to establishing yourself firmly in the middle class.
Those people on the higher end of the income scale overwhelmingly got there overwhelmingly thanks to higher education. Software developers with a bachelor’s degree in computer science earn around $90,000/year, for example, significantly higher than the US median household income, which is around $52,000 a year. And computer science majors who go on to gain a master’s degree and move into senior positions, the earnings potential pushes into the six-figures for mid-career salaries.
If money and financial security are part of your American Dream, your best bet to achieving them is to get your degree online.
In-Demand Skills Lead to Career Freedom
Not only do college graduates experience less unemployment, they also find jobs faster when they do become unemployed. That ability to keep working, and get back to work faster, has big implications for your ability to save and your potential earnings over your lifetime.
And when you have skills that are in-demand in the marketplace, you have the ability to leave a job that doesn’t fit, or that doesn’t challenge you. You can find other opportunities, and opportunities may even come looking for you in the form of recruiters who want your valuable skills for their own clients.
You’ll Encounter More Challenges
Private companies, government organizations and even non-profit groups are looking for skilled people to help them solve problems that nobody else has found an answer for yet. When you are one of those people, you can be on the bleeding-edge of your industry, applying what you’ve learned to find real-worlds solutions.
Everyone wants a puzzle to solve, and I don’t think you can underestimate the satisfaction that comes, not just from coming up with new solutions, but from working with other competent people who challenge you every day.
More Knowledge and Fulfillment
There’s a real feeling of accomplishment that comes from completing your online degree and taking what you’ve learned out into the world. Our students feel a true sense of pride and self-confidence when they leave with a Strayer diploma, and that satisfaction translates into confidence in everything else they do.
All of what we’ve already talked about—better job security, flexibility and earning potential—changes how you think about yourself, which in turn affects your relationships at work and at home. Self-satisfaction is the root of real happiness, and it enables you to be a positive force in the world, both professionally and personally. You can’t really measure the worth of that, I think.
For those of you who have graduated, how has higher education changed your life, and what do you recommend for people who are still working toward a degree?
Author bio: Jennifer Cook writes on student life, going back to school and online learning technology for Strayer.edu. When she isn't writing, you can track her down in the library, trying to check out more books than her card allows.