Go Back to College at any Age: Over 50 and College Part 2

Why Go Back Now?

A college degree, no matter your age, is becoming increasingly critical in the world of employment. In fact, a recent study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce has shown that not enough Americans are completing college to fill the unfilled jobs which require a college education.2 The shortfall—which amounts to a deficit of 300,000 college graduates every year between 2008 and 2018—results from a growing demand by employers for workers with high levels of education and training.

This study also shows that by 2018, we will need 22 million new college degrees (post-secondary, associates or better)—but will fall short of that number by at least 3 million. In addition, we will need at least 4.7 million new workers with postsecondary certificates (non degree).3 These unfilled jobs represent a missed opportunity for the worker without a degree and contribute to the slowdown of the overall economy and the high cost of dropping out to our nation.

A degree will help prevent you from getting left behind even if you currently have a job but want to move up in your company. As the study shows, America’s colleges and universities need to increase the number of degrees they confer by 10 percent annually to meet the demand for positions that require higher education.4 Help increase the availability of college graduates by becoming one yourself. With online learning, it’s easy to sign up for classes, earn college credits, and work towards your degree. No matter your age, an investment in education can help move you forward.

College Can Take You Where The Jobs Are

Increasingly, a college degree is just a starting point. For some jobs, you won’t even be considered for an interview without a higher education of some sort, whether a technical certificate, an associates or bachelors degree. In a changing economy, the cold hard facts have show that between 1973 and 2008, the share of jobs in the U.S. economy which required postsecondary education increased from 28 percent to 59 percent.5

Workers looking to keep their jobs in the downturn, switch employers, or even move up in their current company should, and do, consider a return to college to ensure career stability and increase opportunities for career growth and promotion. Business courses are often the key to career advancement.

Many companies provide tuition reimbursement programs for employees taking courses related to their degree. Be sure to check with your company to see if they provide such a program. These benefits are yours for the taking -- don’t leave money on the table.

2 Carnevale, A, Smith, N., Strohl, J, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, June 2010, p.1