Degrees, diplomas, and certifications are awarded by educational institutions to students who have successfully completed the requirements of a specific course of study. A degree or diploma is a symbol of a student's educational achievement, and a symbol of a job candidate's dedication to their career field. They demonstrate focus, dedication, and ability: in short, diplomas, certificates and degrees can show a prospective boss that you are a serious candidate, that you are employable.
Education is a means to an end: working, responsible adults research and pursue postsecondary education not because they want to join a fraternity or schmooze with coeds but because they know that the solid education offered by “Program A” is the shortest path to “Career A.” Whether it's a fresh start in a new field or advancement in a current one, education opens doors in ways that experience alone cannot.
Beyond the benefits in opportunities, postsecondary degrees generally correspond to higher earnings. Essentially, the more you learn, the more you earn. In some fields, like education, your level of academic completion and your years of experience determine your pay bracket. To demonstrate how dramatic that earnings gap can be, we've included Bureau of Labor Statistics salary data with the corresponding level of education: we'll let the figures speak for themselves.
Different careers require different levels of education. A certificate of completion from a vocational school may be all a medical assistant needs to be competitive and successful in their chosen career. A multimedia artist, on the other hand, increasingly needs at least an associate's, but more often a bachelor's degree to even qualify for entry-level positions. Other careers require graduate degrees for entry to the field. Education is expensive and focused, and YOU MUST DO YOUR RESEARCH. Use this website as a resource to determine what program, at what level, is appropriate for the next step in your career.
Many working students have chosen to pursue their degree through an accredited online institution. For many people, the flexibility of an online program makes continued education possible when it wouldn't be otherwise. Pursuing an online degree can dramatically decrease the time it takes to complete a program, allowing bright and motivated students to work at their own pace. The best online programs provide an education comparable to their ground-school competitors, but their for-profit business model and their growing popularity can make them shameless self-marketers. Once again, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Use the resources presented on this website to make an educated decision as an informed consumer.
Let‘s take a long look at the different degree levels: what they often entail, how long they generally take to complete, the corresponding wage information, and a sampling of the kinds of positions for which they may prepare you.