Reviewed by Mary McLaughlin, Ma-TESOL; M.S. SpEd
It’s never too late to learn. Further education is available for people of all ages, from first time undergraduates, to mature students and even people who are coming back into education to further develop their career or take a new path in their vocation.
Despite controversy over the number of graduate jobs available, it remains clear that higher education can significantly increase your chances of getting a higher paid job.
According to Which? University, 193,890 graduates in 2013 were working six months after graduating. Out of that number, 124,700 were in professional level jobs.
Even if you need to have to take on an average job to pay the bills at first, the fact remains that higher education makes you more eligible for high paying jobs, than those without.
There is, of course, no guarantee that having a degree will automatically get you a good job. Unless you’re graduating to be a doctor, lawyer or teacher (and even then competition is quite fierce), it’s likely you will have a variety of different jobs first. The quality of those jobs, however, is likely to be higher than the jobs available with no degree necessary.
Remember, it’s not only the qualification and the subject you studied that counts on your CV, it’s the skills that enabled you to achieve that qualification that employers are looking for, such as:
- Computer skills
These are all skills that nearly every employer will be looking for, however, many of these skills don’t require further education to develop.
A graduate job is a job aimed at and suited to a person with a degree or qualification of further education. These tend to be higher paying jobs but more importantly, they can often to lead to career progression and a higher salary.
In 2013, people in America with a degree could earn around $40,000 (£24,000). And those with a Master’s Degree could earn up to $70,00 (£43,00).
This of course depends on the degree and industry, and there are also people like Richard Branson who have been able to set up their own business without further education. But overall, statistics show that further education matters if a higher salary is what you’re aiming for. For TEFL, generally 120 hours of certification is sufficient for employment in most schools, however, having a degree to back it up can really boost your salary and increase your opportunities in the long run (and it looks great on your resume!)
Education gives you more just a certificate; experience. It doesn’t even come down to the subject matter. In certain industries, like engineering or medicine, your course subject is important, but there are skills that are undoubtedly gained from further education that we take often for granted.
- Organisation – If you weren’t able to get up for classes, turn up on time, stick to a timetable or make your own work schedule, how would you have been able to complete your course?
- Research – If you go to the library and look up relevant reference books, use a computer to write essays and make charts, or create a presentation on a subject, these are all research skills.
- Discipline – When you stay in to finish an article, instead of going out or watching the television, that’s discipline. So is sitting down every morning and spending a couple more hours revising. If you can keep working at things instead of giving up, you’re more likely to succeed in a job.
- Communication – This covers lots of areas: writing fluently, talking clearly and asking for help when you need it. Communication is key to just about every aspect of the job industry, but will also help you when you need to make a speech, write an application letter, and generally talk to people!
Meet new people
It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many new people you actually meet when you take a course in any subject, at any institution. You can meet people of all ages from a variety of backgrounds, from students to tutors, and there’s ample opportunity for making new friendships:
- Online student forums
- Classes, lectures and seminars
- Study groups
- Course Facebook pages
- Open days
Further education is also great for upcoming opportunities. Most industries do internships, whereas arts and media industries have excellent volunteering placements, and TEFL courses are a great chance to travel.
Develop an interest
One of the great parts of higher or further education is the variety of subjects available. They can range from broad overviews to specific niche subject areas. You can choose to study a subject you’ve perhaps always wanted to learn more about but never had the time to, or thought it wasn’t a ‘proper’ subject for an educational course.
The good news is that the skills gained from studying a subject can be used in nearly every aspect of life, but the actual subject of your course or degree is not completely crucial – unless of course, you really want to become a surgeon.
There are cases where people have gone onto great success without further education. However, it can’t be denied that there’s never any harm done in choosing further education; you could still technically go on to create a globally successful business, and have done a course in TEFL. What further education can offer is a set of skills that can benefit you personally and professionally, and allow you to pursue a subject you’re passionate about, and meet other people who are passionate about it too.