When it comes to discussing the job market and the working world, it is difficult to overstate the role of education in employment. When it comes to selecting the kind of employment that you truly want for yourself, the best way to set yourself up for success is by finding out what kind of education you need to do the job you want and then pursuing it with everything you have.
The Importance of Education in Employment
Almost without exception, a candidates' ability to get employed and to get the job they want comes down to the quality of their education, and the degree of preparedness that they have for the role. Whether or not you know exactly what you want to be doing for your job, having a strong education and a strong background is the single most important thing you can do to increase your employment options and your earning potential.
For decades, studies have shown a large gap in wage-earning and income between people who do not graduate from high school and people who do graduate from high school, and an even greater gap between people who graduate from high school and who graduate from college. While the innovation economy and the demands of technology are changing this dynamic somewhat, it is still true that people with advanced degrees, on the whole, tend to earn more and find more career success than people without degrees.
There are several reasons for this. For one thing, the assumption is that people who want to pursue specialized disciplines that typically pay more money and are more engaging will need a certain skill set and a certain kind of background to be able to do that work. Getting an education is evidence that the candidate for the job has the required level of understanding of the discipline and serves as an indication that they will be able to do the work that will be required.
Education and Success
There is no guarantee that getting an education will lead to professional or financial success. In fact, it is certainly possible to have an advanced degree like a master's degree or even a Ph.D. and find that you aren't able to make as much money as you had hoped. However, this is unusual. Education and success go hand in hand. That is because education is the key to better jobs. Highly skilled jobs that require an understanding of technology, communication, human relationships and the nuances of a particular field typically require some type of education.
If you pursue a field like architecture, public policy, government, law or education you will need a master's degree at least. While a bachelor's degree has long been considered the gold standard for entry into the competitive job market, a master's degree is required for any particular specialized job. This is because in almost every case employers want to be sure that their new hires have a well-rounded basic education and the skills and abilities to absorb and deploy new information.
What Is the Role of Education in Employment?
Regardless of your professional interest, a commitment to education can only serve to help you move ahead in the field of your choice. However, education is expensive and many people are made to feel that if they don't get a bachelor's degree, even if their field doesn't require it, that they will struggle to gain employment. This can be true. For individuals without a bachelor's degree, it is documented that the job search is extremely difficult. However, there are ways of accessing a bachelor's degree that does not require accruing the often crushing amount of debt that is nearly inevitable when attending a typical four-year college.
Ultimately, education in the form of a bachelor's degree shows employers that you have had a well-rounded education. It also demonstrates that you can be relied upon to have the basic skills of communication, understanding and reading comprehension. These are key pieces of almost every bachelor's degree, and they go a long way to proving your viability as an employee.
Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience writing about education for a variety of organizations and educational institutions as well as online media sites. She has written for Pearson Education, The University of Miami, The New York City Teaching Fellows, New Visions for Public Schools, and a number of independent secondary schools. She lives in Los Angeles.