What Is the Importance of Higher Education?

Why is higher education important? After going to college, you may have improved career opportunities, receive higher pay, experience greater cultural awareness, and have a life with more choices and possibilities. Read on to learn more about the benefits and importance of higher education.

Importance of Higher Education

Pursuing a higher education, starting with an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree (and perhaps working up to master's or doctorate-level studies) may lead to better job prospects and higher paying positions. Higher education can also lead to a healthier and more balanced life, according to some research, all of which may factor into a decision to study at this level.

Purpose of Higher Education

Higher education is designed to broaden an individual's knowledge and experience. Graduates leave with a record of their accomplishments that is recognized and valued by future employers and colleagues. Most undergraduate degrees have both courses in your chosen field of study, as well as general courses that provide foundational knowledge in a wide variety of fields. Master's- and doctoral-level programs often become more specific and specialized.

Important Facts About Higher Education

Degree/Certificate Level Associate, undergraduate, graduate, doctorate, post-doctorate
Prerequisites May vary by degree level; a high school diploma or GED is the most basic requirement to begin an associate's or undergraduate degree program; most graduate programs require at least a bachelor's degree for entry
Specialization Degree concentrations are available in various academic and professional fields (humanities, sciences, engineering, education, law, medicine, psychology, and technology)
Continuing Education Depending on the degree level, continuing education options may include further study or pursuit of a non-degree certificate program or licensing

Career Benefits of Higher Education

With a college education, you will probably make more money. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median weekly earnings in 2018 for high school graduates aged 25 and older were $730, while the median for individuals aged 25 and older with bachelor's degrees was $1,198.

Unemployment rates are also affected by higher education. The BLS reported that those with high school diplomas experienced a 4.1% unemployment rate in 2018. The unemployment rate for those who held bachelor's degrees was only 2.2%.

Along with these benefits, you're likely to have more career choices and will probably be able to change careers more easily than those who have not completed some form of higher education. Even if you already hold a bachelor's degree, there are economic benefits to completing additional, graduate-level studies. In 2018, individuals with master's degrees earned a median weekly income of $1,434 and experienced an unemployment rate of around 2.1%, according to the BLS.

Social Value of Higher Education

As shown by the statistics above, you're more likely to earn more if you have a college degree, but higher education has societal benefits, too. If you earn a college degree, you'll probably be better able to spend money to stimulate the economy. You'll also be more likely to volunteer and help the community in which you live. Additionally, those with higher education are more likely to vote and less likely to commit crimes.

Personal Benefits of Higher Education

Pursuing higher education may help you to become more sensitive to cultural differences and be able to respect the beliefs of all types of people. After completing a college degree, you'll have a broader set of career options, which often leads to increased personal choice and freedom. According to studies, you could even be healthier as a college graduate, as well.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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