Dear Andrew: I’ve been a working professional for more than 20 years and was recently laid off. I’ve been following your site, applying for jobs and networking like crazy. My problem? I don’t have a college degree. Seven years ago, I was half-way through college and began an internship my junior year and it quickly turned into a full time job and I put my degree ambitions on hold. I always told myself I was going to go back to school, but never did. Now, I find that many of the jobs I know I’m qualified for require a college degree. I can’t lie, but how do I make my real-world experience count for something. Should I get a college degree?
Bottom line – yes! Get a college degree!
The dilemma of not having a college degree is faced by many job seekers. It becomes particularly difficult because of those dreaded Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that are programmed to ask qualifying questions. In the case of a college degree, if that’s a requirement, even if you have ‘real-world’ experience, you most likely will never be considered if you don’t have one.
In today’s economy, the skills and expertise you obtain from going to college pays off in big ways.
If you are from the baby boomer generation, you are one of about 76 million people that were born in the United States between 1946 and 1964. Baby boomers make up more than a third of the nation’s work force and fill many of its most skilled and senior jobs. However, these college-educated, highly skilled boomers will be leaving the workforce in droves over the next 10 years and as a matter of fact, the first class of baby-boomers reached retirement age last year.
Now consider this:
There were only 46 million born in the era following the baby boomers, known as Generation X.
While this huge gap is one of the things work force planners worry about, it also provides the greatest opportunities for younger workers, particularly those with a college degree.
If you have a college degree, your chances of finding a job are improved overall. I know a lot of people whose liberal arts degree has no connection to their current career. In these cases, employers might require a degree simply an indicator that you took the time and dedication to get the degree, or it is simply an across-the-board equalizer for employees or job candidates. In other cases, degrees are required because they are specific to the position, whether it be scientific or technical in nature or requires a specific training and accreditation, such as teaching.
Now I know there are stories of great and successful people who never got a college degree. I know of a few successful people who never earned a college degree. But these are the exceptions; the majority of professional, white collar jobs require you have a college degree and your chances of success are improved greatly by having a college degree.
For those who think that obtaining a college degree is too expensive think about this: According to the US Census Bureau, during a lifetime, the average earnings of a person with a Bachelors degree is $2.1 million. The average lifetime earnings for a person whose education stopped at a high school diploma is $1.2 million – almost $1 million less!
How do you complete that degree program you started? Here are some suggestions:
If you are currently employed, find out if your employer offers a tuition reimbursement program. Often, employers are willing to foot part of the bill for you to gain new skills. Now is the time to take advantage of this benefit. It is often as simple as filling out the paperwork.
One big advantage is that the traditional culture of college today is very different than what you may have experienced 10 years ago. For example, you can earn or complete a Bachelors or a Masters degree from one of Colorado’s most respected colleges through CSU Global.
Part of the Colorado State University system, CSU Global is Colorado’s only online-oriented campus. While many colleges might allow you to take a few online classes as part of a degree program, CSU Global is designed specifically as an online campus and is set up so that you can get the most from an online educational setting.
CSU Global offers an 8-week course format and multiple start dates that allow students to start when the time is right for them. For the adult learner, the convenience of 100% online classes is ideal, particularly for those who work full time, have families and are unable to get to a traditional campus.
CSU Global’s degree programs provide real knowledge for real world applications in career-relevant, accredited degree programs. A quality degree from a reputable institution really does matter to employers and also provides you with the competitive edge you need to succeed.
Recently, CSU-Global announced five new online bachelor’s degrees and two new online master’s degrees designed to provide students with career-relevant skills and knowledge. Each new online degree was developed for an industry of rapid growth where highly qualified employees are in demand and each has been fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The new degrees are:
- Bachelor of Science in Accounting
- Bachelor of Science in Communication
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration and Management
- Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Professional Studies
- Master of Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
- Master of Healthcare Administration and Management
Their Bachelor’s degree programs are designed specifically for students who either have Associates degrees from a 2-year college or for students who want to complete a degree program they may have already started earlier in their lives. CSU Global allows credit hours already earned at another college to be used towards the completion of your degree at CSU Global. In addition, the online campus experience is designed to provide the maximum interactivity. All of the classes are online and through this unique experience you communicate with your professors and other students from throughout the globe in tailored online chat rooms at times that are most convenient to you. CSU Global is also one of the most affordable ways to finish your degree and provides a full range of assistance to help you apply for student loans and scholarships.
Click below to find out more about CSU Global.