Investing in Yourself Through Continuing Education
Educational pursuits no longer end when you turn 21 with a college diploma. Technological advances are rapidly changing employment requiring workers to continually update skills to remain competitive. This changes the way education is viewed. Continuing education may include anything from a single class to learn a specific skill directly related to your job, yearly continuing educational requirements in your field, or advancing skills through additional degrees. As the need for additional learning has grown, the price of getting that continuing education, has also risen dramatically.
Advantages to Pursuing Additional Education
More qualified for current job. When beginning a new role, mastering the job at hand is initially accomplished through internal training. Aside from learning new systems and other job-related skills, mastering the industry you are working in can create job security. Improving your skill set also has the ability to lead to promotions and other advancements within the company that might not be available without additional training.
Make more money. One of the most common motivators for continued education is higher pay. Additional opportunities may open up due to increased education. Many jobs have minimum qualifications that include educational majors or degrees. Statistically, the more education you have the higher your lifetime earnings will be.
Build your resume. Increasing your skill set makes you more valuable to your current company but also increases opportunities within your industry. Improving your skill set makes you more marketable. Education can increase mobility and land you a job quicker.
Keep up with technology and industry changes. As new products become available and technology improves, having a current and updated skill set is beneficial. Automation is changing the way we work and what jobs are available. Many jobs are becoming extinct. Staying current with industry improvements can prepare you for changes.
Gives you a competitive edge. Recognizing the need to maintain upgraded skills and returning to school is a common phenomenon, no matter your age. In order to remain competitive in the marketplace, and in your current job, you may find yourself competing with others who have higher-level educations, or more job skills. By continually upgrading your skills, you will find yourself in a competitive position as your market and industry move forward.
Establish yourself as an expert. Maintaining and upgrading skills allows you to increase your specialization, be recognized as an expert in the industry, and command higher pay both inside and outside of your current employment.
Increase business and social network. The classroom experience, even if it’s online, can allow you to work and associate with other classmates, professors, and trainers. This increases your visibility within the industry and creates networking among like-minded professionals.
Improves discipline. It’s one thing to attend school at the age of 18 or 19 and dedicate full time efforts to your studies. Most who return to school during their career, do not have the luxury of full time school without employment. Maintaining a job and family obligations, while you attend school, requires discipline. This ensures the most important priorities continue to be addressed and increases focus which can improve other areas of your life, as well.
Ability to change careers. Staying with the same employer for your entire career is rare today. Whether you become bored or tired in your current job, or technology changes are making the job obsolete, career mobility can be accomplished through additional education.
How to Know If Continuing Education Is Right for You
Consider your professional goals and where you want to be professionally in five or ten years. What skills will you need to obtain in order to reach those goals? Consider that job requirements will change over time. You want to stay on the cutting edge of whatever field you are in to maintain marketability and competitiveness. What direction is your industry headed and what skills do you need to stay ahead of the curve? Having the level of education required to qualify for upcoming opportunities will put you in the driver seat of your career.
Looking at your motivation can help ensure it will be an investment that pays off in the end. Continuing education serious decision with significant financial consequences.
Being a lifelong learner can open doors and create new opportunities that would never be available without it.