College education is important to me because it will create more opportunities with my employer as well as increase my salary. I know some employers put more emphasis on a college education than others. Unfortunately, college education isn’t an option for some individuals. I know many people around me that couldn’t go to college due to conflicting obligations or lack of financial support. I am thirty-eight years old and am just now starting college. While I do see an importance for college education on some career paths, I also see that not all career paths require it.
My current employer now requires a college degree for any of their professional positions. My employment relationship with my company began through a high school co-operative program and, at the time, there was no requirement to possess a degree. Today, my position has been grandfathered in through seniority, but I need a degree for advancement in my career path; therefore, a college education is very important for me and my family and the advancement of my career. My salary will have the potential to double with a degree.
With my current career, I was able to advance to a certain point without a college education and was very satisfied with my advancement. However, as time has passed, I have come to see firsthand the value in post-secondary education. Right now I work with Auto-CAD drafting for engineering schematics, and the average draftsman will top out at $55K per year.1 I have personally praised college education within my work organization and promoted the awareness of the earnings and advancement potential for them. Many in our organization are now seeking opportunities to continue their education.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, an individual is 2.5% more likely to be unemployed if he/she doesn’t have a college education.2 The journey to continue my education has come with many emotions. I have been afraid, thinking that I will not be able to complete the course. I have had pride issues thinking that I am too old and too wise for college. I have been training college recruits with my employer for years. I actually oversee approximately one hundred fifty student workers, many of which have a Bachelor’s degree, and even some have a Master’s degree, in Engineering. As I watch these degreed students get promoted to other organizations with significant salary increases, I realize that education is the only difference between them and me.
While I do see a value in a college education, I also see the value in those that are on a technical path and will be working a career doing a trade. It takes both for our society to function. I am thankful to be blessed with the opportunity to advance my education. I am also thankful for the ability to better my family’s economic situation.