Secrets of the Job Hunt


Friday, January 05, 2007

What's an Education Worth?

Over the past couple of years, I have reflected on this topic, but never put anything down on paper: What is an education worth? With the rising costs of college and universities, is it really worth taking an education to the next level and obtaining the certification. Or is it more practical in taking the hands-on approach and learning from someone through either internships or on the job training?

A good friend of mine, Lauren, recently graduated with a Master's Degree in Architecture from the University of Georgia. Since graduating, Lauren secured an entry level job within a firm located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with a salary of $42,000. Her interest began in high school when she had an interest in art and became more involved with design and structure. After graduating with a 4.2, she then too the next step at the University of Miami and graduated with a degree in Architecture four years later. Her self quote throughout this experience has been “work hard, play hard”, which goes to show that hard work does pay off.

Now, take myself for example. Throughout high school I enrolled in various business courses. Therefore, my junior and senior year, I was given the opportunity to enroll in the Business Technology program. While in that program, I took advantage of the opportunity to mentor individuals at various businesses.

By the time I graduated, I secured employment within a financial firm and was given the opportunity to work along side a financial advisor. While in this position, I utilized my knowledge and used my skills to obtain my next job working alongside a Certified Public Accountant during tax season. It is now seven years later, and I have extensive experience working within an accounting firm, as well as a law firm. I have been told that my experience is extremely marketable because you do not find many people who have a legal background as well as a financial background, let alone someone who has this experience without a college education and presently making $37,000.00 annually.

Getting back to my main question, what is an education worth? I have shown you two examples of successful individuals, one who has an advanced college education and another who simply has a high school diploma. To my knowledge, there really isn't a right or wrong answer to this topic.

Lauren, simply wanted to become an architect and in order to do so, she needed the proper schooling for the right jobs. When asked if she regrets what she did and if she should have gone into something else, she told me "the loans are a killer, but I love what I do." I on the other hand, have gotten where I am today by observing and learning hands on.

If I hadn't taken advantage of the technology program and mentorships, I probably would have gone to a college of some sort and obtained a degree, but I’m not sure in what. I love business and when I go to work everyday, I am faced with a challenge of numbers. So there you have it, two individuals, two different learning experiences and both are happy with what they do everyday - college isn't for everyone.

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