Benefits of Earning a College Degree
Earning a college degree is such an important step in life that it has become a central part of the "American Dream". Go to college, get a job, buy a house, raise a family. It may not always be that simple, but it all starts with your college education.
Earning a college degree is all about opening up opportunities in life. It prepares you, both intellectually and socially, for your career and your adult life. The benefits of a college education include career opportunities like better paying and higher skilled jobs, but studies have shown that it also leads to overall happiness and stability.
Many people know that they want to attend college, but don't know exactly why, or how it will enrich their lives. Below are some of the many benefits of earning a college degree.
1. Make More Money
For most people, the ability to earn more money is the driving force behind going to college. A post-secondary degree, whether it is a bachelor's, master's or PhD, is the most common route to careers that demand higher skills and offer higher pay.
Studies show that college graduates earn significantly more money throughout their lifetime than those with only high school education.
According to a national report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (sheeo.org), high school graduates earn an average of almost $30,000 per year. Bachelor's graduates earn an average of just over $50,000 a year. And those with a higher level degree (master's, doctorate or professional) average nearly $70,000 per year. This translates to a significant earnings gap over the course of one's life.
Earnings potential varies depending on what field you work in. For example, a master's degree in education or nursing won't lead to nearly as much wealth as a master's degree in engineering or business. But education and nursing are far and away the most in-demand professions out there. If you enter one of these fields, you're likely to find a good job somewhere – even if it doesn't pay as well a job in engineering or business.
There is still an income disparity in gender and race. White males tend to make more money than their non-white-male counterparts. But relative to all gender and racial demographics, earnings potential still increases dramatically with a college degree.
2. Benefits for You and Your Family
Obviously, higher income is a primary benefit of earning your college degree. But most jobs that require a bachelor's, master's, doctoral or professional degree tend to also provide more benefits. This can include health care, retirement investment, travel and other perks. These types of benefits are rarely offered for high-school-level jobs.
Part of the reason employment benefits are so important is because they offer stability for your family, especially in the case of health care. They are called benefits, but in reality, they are a vital part of anyone's salary. In some cases, the value of benefits even exceeds an employee's take-home pay.
The benefits of a college education also extend beyond generations. Families of college graduates are generally better off economically and socially. But it is also more likely that the next generation of children will attend college. So you can look at it as an investment in the future of your family.
3. Better Career Opportunities
Earning a college degree is the most common pathway to a better career. Entering college, not everyone knows what they want to do when they grow up. But most know they want to have a better job-not only one that will pay more, but one in which they are more satisfied and secure. That combination of benefits is why so many people make the investment of time and money to go to college.
Often times it's not necessarily what you study, but the fact that you studied something at all. Aside from training you in an expert field, college trains you to think analytically, understand complex subjects and communicate your own critical ideas about them. It also instills crucial skills like organization, self-discipline and the ability to complete tasks from start to finish. In other words, college helps mold you into a more professional individual.
Because college gives you a broad range of skills, many college graduates end up in fields that are not what they studied in school. College can open up unexpected opportunities that aren't always there for those who haven't engaged in a higher level of education.
In today's economy, employment options are shrinking for people who only have a high school diploma. A large majority of high school graduates work in the service industry, in low paying jobs that don't offer many opportunities for advancement. College graduates, on the other hand, tend to have skills that qualify them for a broad range of employment in fields that offer more upward mobility.
4. Job Security and Satisfaction
Having a post-secondary degree typically leads to better job security. Let's face it: if you don't have a degree, you're probably not as valuable to your employer. When push comes to shove it will be much easier to replace you with someone else who only completed high school.
In fact, an educated staff is so important to some companies that they will even pay for employees' tuition. This is how valuable a college degree can be. It is seen as an investment that will bring substantial rewards, not only to the employee, but to the company as well.
Data shows that in an economic recession, college graduates are less vulnerable to layoffs. The people who suffer the most from job cuts are lower level employees who only have high school diplomas. There are no guarantees, but if you have a college degree you will be less likely to suffer long-term unemployment.
As a college graduate, it is also more likely that you will enjoy your job. All the factors listed above-higher income, employment benefits and advancement opportunities-lead to better job satisfaction. But a college degree also gives you more freedom to pursue a career that interests you, maybe even inspires you.
5. An Investment in Your Future
Attending college is a major commitment of time and money, but it is also a down payment on success. Earning your college degree will help you realize your goals in your career as well as life in general. It requires a lot of hard work, but that work prepares you for a challenging and rewarding career and a more fruitful life.
Written and published by EducationCorner.com Editorial Staff.