Working Versus Continuing Education

working vs continuing education bootstrap business

In our complex recovering economy there are many high school and college students that are faced with the same dilemma: Should I enter the workforce or pay incredible amounts of money for undergraduate or graduate education? There are so many different perspectives on this subject but up until recently the majority seem to be in favor of the latter option. 

Most parents and professionals seem to encourage the youths of this nation to seek increased education to improve their earnings and career potential. I would agree with this approach ideally but the fact is, a college education these days costs most people and arm and a leg. In fact, I've been preaching this fact for the last decade and now look at the absolute mess the United States is in with a trillion dollars in student loans. 

A 4-year degree can now cost upwards of $250,000 and graduate school (like an MBA program) can cost up to another $60,000+ per year depending on where you go and the program you are enrolled in. Sure there are scholarships, interest free loans, grants, and work-study programs for qualified students but not for the majority of students, especially average ones. I understand that there are countless professions that require a 4 year degree or extensive graduate school, but I'm thinking more along the lines of sales, marketing, business, and even tech professionals. 

For example, you can be a marketing consultant without any college education needed if you have the initiative to teach yourself all aspects of the industry. You can start with a free HubSpot Inbound Certification to learn some of the basics and see if it would be a good fit for you. If you're ambitious and resilient enough you can teach yourself to be a sales expert, coding prodigy, or business visionary without ever paying for a real class. You're only limited by the restrictions you put on yourself and you can also avoid the real restriction of crushing student debt.

Just imagine if all that money, time, and intense effort was applied in the workforce instead of college. Many individuals would be in better financial and employment shape than they would have been if they had attended more schooling. This will obviously depend on the industry, but a lot can be said for working your way to the top and educating yourself. 

Alternatives to college, such as learning a trade or enlisting in military service, are also fantastic means of improving your socioeconomic position and career potential without investing six figures. Beyond that, you would be able to afford college if you were to enlist, as there are many military-friendly schools that would love to work with you.

And then there are the incredible exceptions like Mark Zuckerberg dropping out of Harvard to become one of the richest men on the planet. Let's not forget about other dropouts that you might have heard of like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Michael Dell that have helped to shape the world we live in today. One of the greatest inventors and businessmen in history Thomas Edison couldn't even make it through formal schooling due to hearing loss and lack of specialized instruction during his time. 

Most of us aren't even in the same league as any of these aforementioned business geniuses, but there are countless other examples of successful college dropouts or even high school dropouts.

In summary, continued education and success are what you put into it. Highly intelligent, skilled, and motivated students will most likely be successful whether they enroll in continuing education or enter the workforce. Mediocre or lazy students will probably do mediocre in workplace whether they invest in additional education or not. Many individuals might be better off putting their time into the workforce and progressing that way. 

I'm just glad I earned my Bachelor's of Science Degree with the help of a large academic scholarship and working full time most of my 4 years. I wanted to do whatever it took to escape crushing student loans. But often times I think I would have been just as successful or more successful if I had worked full time instead. I got out alive with no debt but many of my colleagues unfortunately did not fair so well.

I hope you enjoyed this article about analyzing the pros and cons of college or graduate school versus entering the workforce.

Interested in more posts about frugal education & career growth?

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Published by Michael J Schiemer
Owner of the Bootstrap Business Blog
Media - Money - Marketing - Motivation
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