Education

HOW DOES A COLLEGE DEGREE IMPACT YOUR WORKING FUTURE?

Posted on Friday, March 18, 2011

HERE ARE SOME ANSWERS, HIGHLIGHTED IN THE OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK QUARTERLY (FALL 2002) ARTICLE BY ARLENE DOHM AND IAN WYATT, "OUTLOOK AND EARNINGS FOR COLLEGE GRADUATES", 2000-2010.
THE BIG QUESTION THESE AUTHORS RAISE IS, "ARE YOU WILLING TO PAY NOW, IN TIME AND MONEY, FOR THE FOLLOWING LONG-TERM REWARDS?"
• MORE JOB CHOICES
• HIGHER EARNINGS
• LOWER UNEMPLOYMENT
• OPPORTUNITIES FOR PROMOTION
EVERYONE KNOWS WORKING TOWARD A COLLEGE DEGREE IS TIME CONSUMING AND CAN BE EXPENSIVE. THE PAYOFF MAY NOT BE YOUR DREAM JOB RIGHT AWAY, BUT IT DOES GUARANTEE MORE JOB CHOICES. WE ALSO KNOW THAT DEGREES OFTEN EQUAL HIGHER EARNINGS. THE AVERAGE WEEKLY SALARY OF WORKERS WITH A COLLEGE DEGREE IN 2000 WAS $834, COMPARED WITH $507 FOR WORKERS WHO HAD A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR GED. THAT DIFFERENCE IS INCREASING, OF ALL OF THE NEW JOBS NOW BEING CREATED, MORE THAN HALF WILL REQUIRE EDUCATION BEYOND HIGH SCHOOL. IT'S ALSO WORTH NOTING THAT THE FASTEST GROWING JOBS ARE EXPECTED TO REQUIRE MUCH HIGHER MATH, LANGUAGE, AND REASONING CAPABILITIES THAN CURRENT JOBS.
JOB PROMOTIONS ARE USUALLY BASED ON EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION, QUALITY OF WORK, AND THE ABILITY TO GET ALONG WITH OTHERS. BUT SUPERVISORS ALSO CONSIDER WHETHER OR NOT THE EMPLOYEE HAS A COLLEGE DEGREE; IT'S A SIGN THAT THE WORKER IS SERIOUS ABOUT THE JOB, KNOWS HOW TO LEARN, AND CAN ACHIEVE GOALS. ALSO, GROWING INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION HAS FORCED COMPANIES TO EMPHASIZE SALES AND CUSTOMER SERVICE, WHICH MEANS THEY ARE LOOKING FOR EMPLOYEES WITH STRONG COMMUNICATION SKILLS. EMPLOYERS OFTEN SEE COLLEGE GRADUATES AS MORE MOTIVATED, ABLE TO LEARN TASKS MORE QUICKLY, BETTER ABLE TO MEET DEADLINES, BETTER AT COMMUNICATING AND PROBLEM-SOLVING.
SO, AS YOU CAN SEE, PAYING FOR COLLEGE NOW IS A GOOD INVESTMENT IN YOUR FUTURE.
S
SALARY: MEDIAN EARNINGS OF BACHELOR'S DEGREE RECIPIENTS WORKING FULL- TIME YEAR-ROUND IN 2008 WERE $55,700, $21,900 MORE THAN MEDIAN EARNINGS OF HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES.
JOB SATISFACTION:
IN 2008, ABOUT 58% OF COLLEGE GRADUATES AND INDIVIDUALS WITH SOME COLLEGE EDUCATION OR AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE REPORTED BEING VERY SATISFIED WITH THEIR JOBS, WHILE 50% OF HIGH SCHOOL GRADU- ATES AND 40% OF INDIVIDUALS WITHOUT A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA REPORTED BEING VERY SATISFIED.
HEALTH:
WITHIN EACH AGE GROUP, COLLEGE-EDUCATED ADULTS ARE LESS LIKELY THAN OTHERS TO BE OBESE. IN ADDITION, CHILDREN LIVING IN HOUSE- HOLDS WITH MORE EDUCATED PARENTS ARE LESS LIKELY THAN OTHER CHILDREN TO BE OBESE.
SMOKING:
DURING THE DECADE FROM 1998 TO 2008, THE SMOKING RATE DECLINED FROM 14% TO 9% AMONG ADULTS WITH AT LEAST A BACHELOR'S DEGREE, WHILE THE RATE FOR HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES DECLINED FROM 29% TO 27%.
PARENTING:
AMONG PARENTS WHOSE HIGHEST DEGREE WAS A BACHELOR'SDEGREE, 68% READ TO THEIR CHILDREN DAILY IN 2007. THIS COMPARES TO 57% OF PARENTS WITH AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE, 47% OF PARENTS WITH SOME COLLEGE BUT NO DEGREE, 41% OF HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES, AND 26% OF PARENTS WHO DID NOT COMPLETE HIGH SCHOOL.
BUT SOME QUESTION THE VALIDITY OF THE REPORT'S FINDINGS. ACCORDING TO INSIDE HIGHER ED, FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S COMMISSION ON THE FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS SYSTEM BOARD OF REGENTS CHARLES MILLER CRITICIZED THE REPORT AS "FLAWED" AND "ILLOGICAL."
IHE HAS MORE:
"..THE BENEFITS INDIVIDUALS DERIVE FROM A DEGREE RESULT NOT FROM THE DEGREE ITSELF, BUT FROM THE ECONOMIC AND REGULATORY POLICIES THAT CREATE JOBS AND INCOME OPPORTUNITIES, WHICH COLLEGE GRADUATES ABSORB [MILLER SAID]. AND WITH FINANCIAL AID GOING TO STUDENTS WHO DON'T NEED IT, "THE FINANCE SYSTEM OF HIGHER EDUCATION FAVORS THOSE WHO HAVE SPECIAL PRIVILEGES AND THEREFORE MAINTAINS AN UNFAIR COMPENSATION FOR THOSE ABLE TO GET A DEGREE."


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