College degrees continue to be required for careers in many professional fields. One of the main benefits of obtaining an associate, bachelor’s, or even a master’s degree is to become qualified for ideal jobs in your field, and secure a more desired salary. However, there are other benefits that come with earning your degree beyond just the financial, including a broadening of your world-view, expanding your critical thinking and research skills, as well as the inherent value of increased knowledge.
Benefits of Earning Your College Degree
Your earning potential could increase with a college degree.
College graduates, on average, earn 56% more than high school grads, according to data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute in 2015. Multiply that across the many years you’ll spend working, and it becomes clear that getting your degree will likely increase the numbers on your paycheck. The value of earning your degree goes beyond salary however, and right to the heart of continued employment. In a report issued by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, the number of employed college grads rose 21% since 2007, while those with a high school degree saw an 8% decrease in employment overall.
Ashford* graduate Michael Collier decided to earn his bachelor's degree after losing his job during the Great Recession. Degree in hand, he was then re-hired at his former company at a better salary.
A college education has benefits no matter your stage of life.
For Zack Brown, getting his undergraduate degree took a bit of time due to military deployment, but it ensured he was able to develop “into the well-rounded and educated individual that [he] need[ed] to be to succeed in both personal and professional life.”
Your degree also has value that extends to your family in current and future generations.
For Ashford* alum Agaba Nassi Bisengo, who was raised in Congo-Kinshasa by her grandmother in Ugandan refugee camps, pursuing her education is one way to show her son “he can do anything he puts his mind to."
Benefits of Online Learning
The ability to pursue a college degree is easier now than ever before, thanks to universities that offer online learning. These days you can complete your degree around your existing schedule and at your own pace, opening up the opportunity to work and focus on your ongoing life pursuits while getting your college degree.
Will Receiving a College Degree Improve Your Career Opportunities?
Aside from the obvious potential financial opportunities, there are three main benefits to having a college degree:
1. Getting a degree could help you get promoted
If you’ve been waiting on a promotion, a college degree could be the deciding factor. According to Donna Baviello, pursuing her accounting degree has “given me a better understanding of the financial aspects of my current position. It has also given me the opportunity to take on different challenges at work.”
2. Your degree could help you land your dream job
A lifelong passion or hobby can become your full-time work, if you have the specialized education to back it up. Daughter of the American Revolution Valerie Neidich Moran earned her undergraduate degree in history, which led to her dream job at her favorite museum.
3. A degree could make you more competitive
For many employers, a degree can help hiring managers make a decision on two qualified candidates.
With so many different areas of study, the question quickly becomes not whether you should pursue a college degree, but instead which degree should you pursue. Explore a variety of different college majors with our handy college degree finder.
Written by University Staff
*Ashford University is now the University of Arizona Global Campus