How Earning an Associate Degree Can Change Your Life
One of the main questions everyone faces in life is whether to attend college. What’s changed dramatically in recent years is that even if you made the decision not to earn a degree in your younger years, it’s not difficult to reverse that decision later in life.
More working professionals than ever are joining the ranks of those earning a two-year, associate degree. It’s a great starting point for boosting your career.
Online learning has made earning a degree more convenient than at any time in the past. Technology has made it possible to earn a degree while also maintaining your current professional and personal obligations.
Students can attend lectures and read assignments from anywhere if they have a computer and an internet connection. Advanced learning systems such as those used by New England College also offer students the opportunity to meet with professors and communicate with fellow students online.
There’s a wealth of choices for earning an associate degree. New England College alone offers two-year degrees in many different career fields, including accounting, business administration, criminal justice, healthcare administration, and cybersecurity.
So, why take the step of earning an associate degree? The following outlines some of the main reasons.
It’s a simple fact that those with a college degree earn better salaries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has put numbers to the issue. According to those numbers, those earning an associate degree make $124 more per week than those without a college degree. That translates into $6,448 per year.
Better Job Opportunities
Many people read the overall unemployment rate but fail to look at the details. The truth is that high unemployment rates impact those without a college degree more than those with a college degree. And during times of lower unemployment, college graduates still get jobs at a faster rate than those who did not graduate from college. For example, the BLS reports that those with an associate degree had an unemployment rate of 3.4% in 2017, while those with only a high school diploma had an unemployment rate of 4.6%.
A Stepping Stone
In addition to the immediate, practical benefits, earning a college degree also sets your feet on the path of self-improvement. It’s a challenging path – only around a third of all Americans earn a degree and about half of all college students drop out. By starting with a two-year degree, students – both young and those already in the workforce – show a commitment to improving their careers and lives. And once they earn that two-year degree, they are only a two-year commitment from earning a bachelor’s degree, which also can be done online.
Expand Your Horizons
This is an area that less quantifiable, but equally important. No matter what degree program you enter, there is always a component of core classes that provide you further knowledge in areas such as literature, history, science, psychology and math. Students are exposed to ideas, theories and philosophies they may have never previously considered. While there is no way to tie that in a concrete way into making more money or earning a better job, it certainly leads to a more expansive view of the world.
In addition to all the above, earning an associate degree also can provide your more security and peace of mind that you can make your own way in the world. And the friendships you make with fellow classmates often last a lifetime, not to mention creating a network of business contacts that can support you in your career.
These are some of the reasons to consider earning an associate degree. It’s certainly a commitment of time and energy. But it also can significantly change the direction of your life in a very positive way.