In days gone by, you could start out in an entry level position with a company and work your way into career advancement. It was not uncommon to get salary increases or move into management positions through on-the-job training and experience. With few exceptions, those days are gone. In today’s job market, the majority of employers require that you have a degree to be considered for their skilled positions – entry level or not.
Let’s be clear up front, however. If you are a plumber or an electrician, the appropriate trade school certification is what an employer will be looking for – not an advanced degree. If you are seeking employment in manufacturing or the fast-food industry, a high school diploma will suffice. And we absolutely need those people! But long-term, if you want to move into increasingly more responsible and meaningful roles, a degree is what matters. Let’s take a look at the reasons a degree is important to employers.
Between newly created jobs and baby boomer retirements, a recent study predicted up to 55 million job openings through 2020. Additionally, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that 65% of new jobs will require higher education: 35% demanding at least a bachelor’s degree and 30% requiring some college or an associate’s degree. This means that 25% of the job openings will lack highly qualified job candidates. In fact, it is widely argued that this skills gap is continuing to widen.
The report was also insightful regarding the skills that employers are looking for in our fluid economy. Employers are looking more and more at cognitive skills such as communication and analytics from job seekers. According to the report, the skills most valued in today’s economy are leadership; communications, including speaking and reading comprehension skills; and analysis, which includes critical thinking and coordination. These are just a few of the skills developed through Ottawa University’s wide variety of accelerated, online degree programs.
Ottawa University even has specific degrees in mind that can immediately help you advance your career. For example, if you are passionate about helping others and want to start a career in mental health, you could earn a bachelor’s degree in Human Services. If you’re interested in getting started as a Human Resources professional or want to advance your HR career, our online bachelor’s degree in Human Resources will get you to that next level. We also offer our Master Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL) programs to help you land a management or leadership role in any department.
When you are applying for one of the millions of jobs that require a college education, having an online bachelor’s or online master’s degree from an accredited university on your resume will almost certainly help you move past the competition who has less education. Recruiters and HR professionals often use a degree as a filter for weeding through the hundreds of applications they receive. They generally view degree holders as being more work-ready, more professional, more mature, and more dedicated, which may get you an interview when your competitor does not. And remember those critical skills employers are looking for? Having a degree demonstrates that you have those. Many employers are even willing to leave a job unfilled longer so they can fill it with the right degree-qualified candidate. Your future employer cares about your degree, and so should you!
Let’s start with the bottom line: earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these were the average incomes by education level in 2019:
- High school diploma = $38,792
- Associates degree = $46,124
- Bachelor’s degree = $64,896
- Master’s degree = $77,844.
A higher income may be a strong motivator for sure, but there are quality of life motivators, as well. One is job satisfaction. With the right training, you are more likely to find a job that gives you purpose and where your unique skills make a difference in achieving a company’s goals. According to The College Board, individuals with higher levels of education are generally more satisfied with their jobs and feel a deeper sense of accomplishment.
Another important factor to consider is job security. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development verifies that more education also equals more career opportunities and greater job security, especially during tough economic times. A report from The National Center of Education Statistics also backs this up. In 2019, the employment rate was highest for those with bachelor’s degrees or higher (83%). In short, earning an online bachelor’s degree or an online master’s degree with Ottawa university is a valuable investment with quick returns.
You may be asking, “Why should I finish college?” One of the biggest regrets we hear from our students at Ottawa University is the fact that they waited– sometimes waiting 10, 15, even 20 years or more to finally achieve their lifelong goal. And we get it – life happens, and dreams can get put on hold.
But it’s 2021, and we don’t want you to look back with regrets. Whether you’re getting your degree to:
- prove to yourself that you can do it
- secure a promotion or new job
- earn more to provide for yourself or your family
- keep a promise to yourself or someone else
We believe that now is the time to get that degree on your resume, earn your online bachelor’s degree or online master’s degree, and finish what you started!
Hoping to fast-track your education?
Ottawa University is the best, fastest, and most affordable online university in Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Phoenix. We have accelerated 8-week course offerings in order to reduce your time to completion. We also make it easy to transfer credits to keep tuition costs down. Contact an advisor for more information!