Go back to school and advance your career

Deciding to return to school is not a light decision for many non-traditional learners. They must assess factors such as the value of immediate job security versus long-term earnings potential. In this instance, an advanced degree is advantageous, as non-degree holding workers experience unemployment at twice the rate of their degree-earning peers who also earn considerably more during their career cycle. Ultimately, an investment in learning is an investment in one’s self.

In 2015 alone, 8.1 million adults over the age of 25 – called non-traditional students – enrolled in American colleges and universities, proving you’re never too young to go back to school. For workers who’ve already found their passion, an advanced degree represents an opportunity to accept more responsibility in the same field. Other workers may find that they feel unfilled in their current industry and want to change professions entirely. For these kinds of reasons, a large segment of non-traditional students is finding their way back to the classroom. The savvy learners have made the smart choice to further their education in a marketplace that appears to evolve by the minute.

The following passages present 5 more awesome benefits of going back to school.

Benefit 1: Career Advancement

An advanced degree is a great way for experienced workers to secure that promotion that seems perpetually elusive. Depending on the field and the level of job visibility, select employers may require career advancement hopefuls to earn a degree. This is especially true for executive leadership roles. Other professions, such as medicine or health law and policy, may require a minimum amount of education before job candidates can transition into a more significant role in their organization. By going back to school, career-minded professionals make the next rung on the corporate ladder more accessible.

Benefit 2: The Chance to Pursue a Dream

With a graduate degree, career hopefuls learn skills that qualify them for specialized employment. The training shows employers that the candidates possess the required skills to perform successfully in their roles. Employers hold the skills and expertise possessed by advanced degree graduates in high regard. In fact, in a recent Gallup report, nearly 90-percent of firms expressed that advanced knowledge is very important, and nearly 80-per cent of respondents felt that transferable skills are a valuable employee asset.

Benefit 3: Increased Career Opportunities

A graduate degree is a powerful tool for remaining competitive in the workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that workers who’ve earned Master’s degrees or higher experience 12.5-per cent less unemployment compared to their Bachelor’s degree-holding peers.

Where learners receive training can also improve the persuasiveness of graduates’ degrees. A graduate who trained at an institution located in, or near, Silicon Valley will look very enticing to technology employers. Alternatively, financial services hopefuls may improve their employability by going to school in Charlottesville, NC – the top financial services and healthcare hub in the region.

Benefit 4: Enhanced Value in the Marketplace

Employers demand more from their top-level employees as the United States marketplace grows more competitive and complex. In the career marketplace, an advanced degree gives career hopefuls a significant advantage over competitors, and graduates who’ve earned a Master’s degree or higher have learned skills that help them to stand out among a sea of job candidates.

A graduate degree is a door opener for advancement, new opportunities and powerful peer networking connections. A survey conducted by Career Builder revealed that 33-percent of firms planned to replace employees that held Bachelor’s degrees with new, Master’s degree-holding job candidates.

Benefit 5: The Opportunity to Start Anew

An advanced degree is a critical means for gaining the knowledge needed to pursue a career in a more interesting industry. Some colleges and universities provide opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in their newly chosen career field. This kind of background looks great on a resume and shows potential employers that the job candidate has skills that will transfer well into a new role. Going back to school is a great way for employees that want a fresh start to switch to an entirely new field.

As predicted, automation is changing the face of the employment landscape. However, this phenomenon opens up the opportunity for displaced or dissatisfied workers to enhance their skills and pursue a promising career. With employers vying to fill approximately 6 million job posts, plenty of work is available, but ambitious individuals must take the first step toward gaining the skills needed to fill those positions.

Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He is currently writing a book about scaling up business and his experience implementing lean methodology.