With so many entry-level jobs requiring only a high school diploma, you may question whether you really need a degree. After all, graduating takes time and comes with a big price tag. Is it really worth it, or could it be a waste of time?
Before you toss out the idea of pursuing higher education, think carefully about how a degree could help you in the future. You could make more money, have a better career and live a more fulfilling life. Here’s how.
Make More Money
According to this study, you could make about $32,000 more a year with a bachelor’s degree than just a high school diploma. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York also reports that the average college graduate makes approximately $78,000. The average for those without secondary education comes in at just $43,654.
Skipping your degree might save you the upfront costs of college tuition. But these numbers show how your long-term earnings could suffer as a direct result.
In addition to making more money, degrees also carry significant employment benefits for graduates. Higher-paying careers often offer better benefits, including retirement investment opportunities, more paid time off, better quality healthcare, and even profit-sharing programs. A higher salary, combined with better benefits, can make a striking difference in your quality of life.
Enjoy a Strong Career
Graduating from college can give you a competitive advantage in the workforce, even if you’re applying for a position outside your field of study. Completing an education shows employers you can meet course requirements and educational standards to obtain a degree. It speaks to both your work ethic and follow-through. It can also make you stand out as the more qualified candidate, especially when you’re up against applicants with less education.
But it’s about more than just getting the job in the first place. Having a college degree can help you enjoy a strong, thriving career — many employers value having staff with college degrees, and some will even pay for you to pursue additional education or qualifications. This perk can bolster your job security and maybe even add to your income as you obtain more skills, experience, and qualifications, which can lead to even greater opportunities.
Your career could also improve through the networking opportunities that a college degree presents. Connecting with educators, as well as other students, gives you a leg up in your field of choice. Knowing other professionals in your industry or connecting through a shared degree program is ideal when it comes time to take advantage of career opportunities.
When someone hears about an amazing opportunity, you might be the first person who comes to mind to fill it. While networking may not seem as valuable as the education itself or gaining experience, it can be a helpful way to build a strong career.
The more education you have, the happier you feel. Or, at least, that’s what the research shows. Closer investigation reveals that people who feel they have a purpose also have better physical and mental health. The natural side effects of overall wellness include feeling fulfilled, developing better relationships, and just plain enjoying your life.
In short, aiming for the career of your dreams and earning the degree to achieve it could help you feel happier while enjoying better overall health. Plus, you won’t be looking back wondering what your life might have been like if you’d taken the chance and earned that degree. You’ll be too busy enjoying the benefits that come with having set out to achieve your goals.
Can you be happy without a college degree? Yes, of course. There are always outliers who thrive despite the odds. But consider how more financial and employment stability, better benefits, and a stronger career trajectory could add to the quality of your life, making it happier and more fulfilling than you may have ever dreamed.