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2019 FAQ

What are the benefits of getting a degree?

There are many benefits in getting a degree. For some, a degree creates the opportunity to work in a desired field. For others, a degree increases knowledge and skills in a field in which someone is already employed, creating career advancement opportunities. Still others find that having a degree is a virtual pre-requisite for the modern working world; demonstrating to employers that they have necessary capabilities and commitment to succeed. Finally, others get a degree for non-career reasons, enjoying the opportunity to learn something new and accomplish something intellectually challenging and rewarding.

What are the benefits of getting a degree?

Although any individual situation can be different, as a general matter, the higher the educational level attained, the higher the person’s income. People with graduate degrees earn more than those with an undergrad degree, who in turn make more than those with an associate degree, etc.. The data in the table below (U.S. Census Bureau, 2015), clearly shows the relationship between education levels and income.

Highest Level of Education Weekly Earnings Average Salary Unemployment Rate
Less than a high school Diploma $493 $25,636 8%
High school Diploma $678 $35,256 5.4%
Some College, No Degree $738 $38,376 5%
Associate’s Degree $798 $41,496 3.8%
Bachelor’s Degree $1,137 $59,124 2.8%
Professional Degree $1,730 $89,960 1.5%
Reference: SmartAsset

Further, the differences highlighted in the data above, are only an annual snapshot. When considering these compensation differences continue throughout the course of a career, the differences can add up to hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars greater earning potential over the course of a lifetime.

What should I get a degree in?

Studies have shown that people tend to enjoy and succeed in areas in which they have some aptitude and interest. A numbers person and find reading business news interesting, a business or finance degree may be enjoyable. If personal satisfaction is derived from helping others, a healthcare or nursing degree may be most appropriate. If a person enjoys working with their hands,building or fixing things, a trade or vocational school may be best.

Business & Finance Programs

  • Business Administration
  • Accounting
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Financial Analysis

Healthcare & Nursing Programs

  • Medical Assistant
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
  • Registered Nurse (RN)

Psychology & Counseling Programs

  • General Psychology
  • Substance Abuse Counseling
  • Child Psychology
  • Pastoral Counseling

Trade & Vocational

  • Auto or Aircraft Mechanic
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air conditioning (HVAC)
  • Aircraft Pilot
  • Welding and Construction

Is it better to get a degree online or go to a school with a campus?

The choice of where, or more accurately, how to learn is a major consideration. Some degrees virtually require that a student be physically present to get the most from their education. Degrees in Nursing, Medical Assisting or the Trade schools would fall into this category. For other degrees, the criteria in choosing online versus campus is more related to personal considerations. Is time limited? Unconventional work schedule? If so, the flexibility of an online program where one can study when they have the time may be compelling. On the other hand, people who are concerned with being self-motivated or managing time, classes at a physical campus may be better suited to stay engaged.

A journey starts with a single step

It is important to set a timeline of when a potential student will be ready to go back to school. Many times, a student wants to earn a degree but becomes caught up in the rat race of life. Work or personal matters can cause a person to delay work towards the end goal of earning a degree. Setting a timeline of “within 3 months” can typically help a potential student ensure they take the next steps in continuing education. Within this timeframe, it is important to be ready and get all questions answered through research.

An inquiring student may also have questions that they have a hard time answering and choose to wait, procrastinating further. A great thing a potential student can do is to request information directly from a school by asking an education advisor any questions they may have. This way, a potential student can take the next steps to making their degree a reality.

Which degree level is right for me?

A new student should consider their highest level of education before choosing to apply to a degree program. If an inquiring student does not have a high school diploma, it may be necessary to first obtain a GED before attending a school. Once a student has a GED or high school diploma, they will then be qualified to begin their studies toward a Certificate, Associate’s, or Bachelor’s degree program of their choice.

If a student wishes to pursue a Master’s or Doctoral degree, it is important that they first obtain a Bachelor’s degree. Without a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s or Doctoral program will not accept an applicant. Once a Bachelor’s degree is established, schools are willing to consider an applicant for a graduate level degree program.

Types of Degrees available

  • Certification/Non-Degree Program
  • Associate’s Degree
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Master’s Degree
  • Doctoral Degree

Do I need a GMAT in order to get a Master’s or Doctoral Degree?

Not all schools require the GMAT to be accepted to a Master’s program, but some do. Many schools are dropping the GMAT because they are finding that working adults would rather directly pursue a Master’s degree. Schools that don’t require the GMAT often times consider the applicant “qualified” seeing that they already earned a Bachelor’s degree. For schools that have more applicants than spaces available for students, it is more likely that they require a GMAT to limit their applications.

Types of Graduate degree programs not always requiring GMAT

  • Master’s in Public Health (MPH)
  • Master’s in Psychology
  • Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master’s in Social Work (MSW)
  • Master’s in Education (M.Ed)

What resources are available to help me pay for college?

For adults thinking about going to go back to college, financial aid, grants, and scholarships are available to help subsidize education costs. According to research by CollegeBoard.com, in 2014-15, about 2/3 of students used financial aid to pay for college. Nearly 57% was given in the form of grants while 34% was given as Federal loans. Student loans have rates around 4.8% and can be as low as 1.8%, which is a much better rate than a traditional loan that can be as high as 26%! In some states (like California), additional grants could be subsidized by the state if you are over the age of 24.

Reference: CollegeBoard

Helpful links to Financial Aid resources