Return to College, Boost Your Career

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You may have decided you need to add a credential to your resume, or you might be thinking of a college degree to boost your career.

The research would back you up, showing that earnings consistently increase with education level. On average, workers over 25 years old with bachelor’s degrees earn an astonishing 70 to 80 percent more than their counterparts with high school diplomas.

For many individuals, completing a college degree they may have started earlier in life is an option well worth pursuing, and researchers project continued growth in the number of individuals enrolling in college after age 25.

In addition, people are turning to certificate programs to boost their earnings, earn a credential or change careers. Certificates are non-degree programs that offer practical study in a professional area and usually take less than a year to complete.

“Certificates are a homegrown American invention and are expanding rapidly in response to a wide range of educational and labor market demands,” reported researchers at Georgetown University, finding that certificate programs have become a cost-effective tool for increasing educational attainment. For those already employed, the study found that certificates “can be the most effective way to catch up, keep up and get ahead in their chosen field,” and for the unemployed and underemployed, can offer a jumpstart in the labor market.

But if it has been a while since you were in school, you may be wondering if college is still right for you. Some prospective returning students feel unsure about college-level coursework after a long time away from the classroom.

However, once they’ve started, they report finding a renewed commitment for success. “In college this time around, I’m focused and here to earn my degree,” said one student. “I found that my studying techniques and time management skills were much improved from when I was a younger student,” reported another.

At the University of Delaware, the ACCESS Center provides free academic and career advisement for those considering a return to college, whether for a degree or certificate program. And UD’s Division of Professional and Continuing Studies offers a range of professional development certificate programs and short-term courses in the healthcare, legal and business fields.

For more information about UD continuing education, professional development and advisement options, call 302-831-7600, visit www.pcs.udel.edu or email continuing-ed@udel.edu.

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