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Are grasses that much greener with higher education?


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Old 12th March 2014, 3:23 PM   #1
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Are grasses that much greener with higher education?

I am finding the grass is not any greener with a higher education.... I only have an Associates and wanted to pursue a 4 year degree like every normal person does, which not doing me any good. Im still working at dead end jobs, cant seem to make a living wage, and still not getting ahead. How am I to pay for such expensive education at these wages?

I have been left lonely and frustrated to figure things out on my own at home with very little to no guidance at all. The information I do obtain to further my education is either wrong or misinformation. I am having a bit of trouble having faith and trust in people that are trying to help.

At this point IMO, I dont think going into debt over a higher education is going to help.
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Old 12th March 2014, 3:30 PM   #2
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Higher education isn't for everyone. However if you want a degree you will find a way.

There are scholarships & loans. Some on line programs are more cost effective than brick & mortar schools.

Another option may be ROTC.
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Old 12th March 2014, 5:02 PM   #3
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You need a degree and experience these days. If you can gain experience while in school, you will be much better off.
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Old 13th March 2014, 2:24 PM   #4
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Plenty of people make their way without higher education, it's just harder and takes longer for most. Honestly my degree just prevents employers from ruling me out in screening as a lot of them say they want someone with a degree just to filter out candidates. The coursework gave me nothing professionally that I didn't already learn working.

Cosign with pink, it's definitely a balance, but the work experience is more versatile IMO. Spend a year working and getting to know people in an industry you want to work in, then see if you feel you need to continue going to school to advance from there.

Strongly urge holding off on going into debt for education without good career prospects or some work under your belt. I really regret going so far in school without equal advancement in career, because I've got a mountain of debt without a reasonable income to pay it off. The stress isn't worth the degree and honestly the degree itself hasn't done anything I couldn't have accomplished with better networking and more work experience.
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Old 14th March 2014, 12:30 AM   #5
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Honestly, it all depends on what degree you have and/or are seeking.

You didn't mention that, so it's hard for us to determine whether or not it's better for you.

As an example, if you want to break into the computer field or IT field, a BS or BA in Computer Science will put you in positions earning 35 to 40k higher than a non-degree individual.

If, however, your degree is in the liberal arts, that's not going to go very far in the business sector.

I'll offer this advice: A degree, if applied to a specific field, is only useful for that first job. Afterwards, the big points for subsequent places of employment are more about the skill set of your previous job + duration of your previous employment.

The market is rich with folks looking for jobs. You'll have a hard time competing against the unemployed/laid off folks who have had previous positions in the field you're applying for if you only have jobs in the unskilled labors area + an associate's degree.
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Old 14th March 2014, 6:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Almond_Joy View Post
Plenty of people make their way without higher education, it's just harder and takes longer for most. Honestly my degree just prevents employers from ruling me out in screening as a lot of them say they want someone with a degree just to filter out candidates. The coursework gave me nothing professionally that I didn't already learn working.

Cosign with pink, it's definitely a balance, but the work experience is more versatile IMO. Spend a year working and getting to know people in an industry you want to work in, then see if you feel you need to continue going to school to advance from there.

Strongly urge holding off on going into debt for education without good career prospects or some work under your belt. I really regret going so far in school without equal advancement in career, because I've got a mountain of debt without a reasonable income to pay it off. The stress isn't worth the degree and honestly the degree itself hasn't done anything I couldn't have accomplished with better networking and more work experience.
I agree, I had to defer my student loans before they even started as a result of an unexpected layoff. My dad lives in a fantasy world and thinks a bachelors degree alone guarantees 50k a year. My brother in law will make about 50k with a Masters starting off in Accounting...and that's with a Masters in a desirable field of work. I was lucky to make 40k right out of college, though I had over 2 years professional experience by the time I finished school. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get experience while in school. Just a degree isn't enough unless you're going to be a Nurse, Accountant, Engineer or etc

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Old 14th March 2014, 9:45 PM   #7
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While I agree with the other posters that higher education isn't the only path, it is a path. Other factors to consider are what your degree is in, what hands on experience you've developed, and where you're located. After considering all of that then weigh it against your expectations for the future and see if it makes sense.
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Old 15th March 2014, 9:30 AM   #8
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As an example, if you want to break into the computer field or IT field, a BS or BA in Computer Science will put you in positions earning 35 to 40k higher than a non-degree individual.
This is absolutely not true. IT and Computer Science are two fields where the degree is all but irrelevant. Because it's SO easy to prove whether or not you have the skills, most employers just don't care. If you have the experience and you can do the job, that's all that matters.

I've been in the IT field for 10 years and nobody ever even blinked at my lack of degree. Most people I worked with didn't have one either, and many made 3-figure salaries because they were highly skilled technical resources. I eventually went and got it only because it would allow me to go for a graduate degree and eventually access senior management positions. For all other IT jobs, I would've been better off earning certifications.

Almond_joy, what field are you trying to break into? You may be able to pursue other venues of training that are less expensive and may be equally as effective. It all depends on the industry you want to work in.
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Old 15th March 2014, 11:16 AM   #9
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Higher education without concurrent or previous experience in the content area can prove to be largely unproductive.
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Old 15th March 2014, 12:22 PM   #10
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This is absolutely not true. IT and Computer Science are two fields where the degree is all but irrelevant. Because it's SO easy to prove whether or not you have the skills, most employers just don't care. If you have the experience and you can do the job, that's all that matters.

I've been in the IT field for 10 years and nobody ever even blinked at my lack of degree. Most people I worked with didn't have one either, and many made 3-figure salaries because they were highly skilled technical resources. I eventually went and got it only because it would allow me to go for a graduate degree and eventually access senior management positions. For all other IT jobs, I would've been better off earning certifications.

Almond_joy, what field are you trying to break into? You may be able to pursue other venues of training that are less expensive and may be equally as effective. It all depends on the industry you want to work in.

Management (administrative or operations seem the best fits for me) or HR. I want to get the HR cert but they changed the qualifications for sitting the exam - you have to have an hr job or at least 50% of your work has to be hr duties :-/. Sort of a catch-22 lol.

I don't have a particular industry I'm trying to break into - I figured the roles I'm going for are pretty standard in qualification regardless of the industry. If you have some suggesstions I'd be happy to hear them - right now I'm on the work your way up from the bottom trek, while still at the bottom, hoping for an opportunity to open up. Not saying it won't work but I do want to be farther along.

Last edited by Almond_Joy; 15th March 2014 at 12:25 PM..
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Old 15th March 2014, 7:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Almond_Joy View Post
Management (administrative or operations seem the best fits for me) or HR. I want to get the HR cert but they changed the qualifications for sitting the exam - you have to have an hr job or at least 50% of your work has to be hr duties :-/. Sort of a catch-22 lol.

I don't have a particular industry I'm trying to break into - I figured the roles I'm going for are pretty standard in qualification regardless of the industry. If you have some suggesstions I'd be happy to hear them - right now I'm on the work your way up from the bottom trek, while still at the bottom, hoping for an opportunity to open up. Not saying it won't work but I do want to be farther along.
My husband has been facing something similar. He also wants to get into HR, but has had minimal success since all those positions want you to already have experience. He has an associates and bachelors in business and has over a year experience working in an office, underpaid and still having a hard time finding a full time administrative/HR position. Now he is trying for a job with the state. My advice is to try and get some experience before going back to school.
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Old 16th March 2014, 2:25 AM   #12
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Depends what field you go into.

I graduated in September of 2012 with my masters. I made $90k coming out of school. I'll top $100k this year.

I do have debt, but that will be completely paid off by the end of next year.

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Old 16th March 2014, 2:41 AM   #13
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Tertiary education isn't a necessity, but it does open more doors. And I can't see why you would want to have fewer doors instead of more.

In many fields you can bypass the need for a degree and get a great job still, but you usually need heaps of experience for employers to consider that, which is a chicken and egg problem. Degrees help get you in the door when you have no relevant career experience yet. Nobody nowadays is going to hire someone with no degree and no experience. Even degree and no experience is tough, you usually need to start off with an internship.

Also don't underestimate the networking potential of university. Many universities help their students or alumni out with job opportunities that aren't advertised elsewhere.
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Old 16th March 2014, 4:14 AM   #14
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Depends what field you go into.

I graduated in September of 2012 with my masters. I made $90k coming out of school. I'll top $100k this year.

I do have debt, but that will be completely paid off by the end of next year.
You are definitely the exception to the rule. My dad thinks everyone with a masters no matter what it's in should be making that. Unfortunately, it's not a reality for most unless you have years of experience.
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Old 16th March 2014, 4:47 AM   #15
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You are definitely the exception to the rule. My dad thinks everyone with a masters no matter what it's in should be making that. Unfortunately, it's not a reality for most unless you have years of experience.
Health care is pretty much the only place where this can happen these days (which is what I went into).

I've heard mixed results with even engineering, accounting, and IT these days.
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