Advanced education opportunities come in many different forms, ranging from pursuing an associate degree, or bachelors, masters, or doctorate. A census published by the New York Times in 2012 stated that thirty percent of people over the age of twenty-five in the United States hold a bachelor’s degree, and nearly eleven percent of people hold a graduate degree. Do these advanced degrees lead to increased career opportunities? Some would say yes, while others point to a proven work experience background that leads to equally-advantageous employment options.

Work Experience That Opens Doors of Opportunity

Among the Baby boomers and Gen X are numerous examples of people who chose not to go the college route, and instead pursued employment or a trade school right out of high school. Among those who sought immediate employment, construction jobs, restaurant work, sales and customer service occupations, and company administrative assistant jobs provided steady sources of income. In addition to regular income, many careers in these fields allow people an opportunity to learn their craft on the job and to advance up the ranks of a company. Today, people who never went to college are employed as top executives, as well as regional and national managers of corporations because they started from the bottom and worked their way to the top of a business.

Those who chose the trade school route have been trained as health administrators, auto body workers, welders, beauticians, and in agriculture industries. In each of these fields, individuals have also been able to gain a vast amount of relevant work experience that has opened doors for career advancement.

Volunteer and Life Skills Experience

People who chose to stay at home to raise kids and volunteer in the communities as opposed to pursuing a higher education degree have also been able to enter the work field as qualified employees. Volunteer experience in advocacy, community organization, and fundraising equips people with expertise that can assist them in gaining employment in social service sectors, nonprofits, and community programs.

What are the Benefits of Obtaining a Higher Degree?

While work and volunteer experience can pave a path to a satisfying career, there is no argument that a degree can also open many employment doors. For numerous companies, it is required that an individual hold at least a bachelor's degree before they’re even considered for employment. Those who have advanced degrees, such as masters, often surpass their counterparts in areas of teaching, counseling, administration, public health, business, and human resources. It can be a difficult for a person with a bachelor of psychology to obtain a counseling position without first gaining a master’s degree in a related field.

Advanced Education Expand Opportunities

Advanced teaching degrees open people up to positions of college-level instruction, and jobs such as principals and superintendents. In the military, people who have degrees can be qualified for officer positions, and those in the nursing fields can significantly increase their pay scale when they advance from an LPN to an RN or BSN.

You Get to Choose Your Best Path

Whether going after a graduate degree or deciding to work your way up the ranks of a company, you get to choose which is the best path for you. The best part is that if one route turns out to be different than what you expected, there is no reason you can’t table college to work your way up in a company, or enroll in a university to go after that bachelors or masters degree. Companies repeatedly state that they look for innovative employees who work well with others and who demonstrate leadership skills, integrity, and a desire to see the company fulfill its mission. These traits are held both by groups of people who do and who don’t have higher education degrees.