How Going Back to College Keeps You on the Cutting Edge

Have you thought of going back to college to learn new skills or to change your career?   Maybe you reached a midlife milestone and are making a career switch. Well now is as good of a time as any! Going back to school can keep you on the cutting edge and provide you with the expertise and knowledge you may need for a new career pathway.  For those of you 40 and over, if you are in the market for a whole new career and willing to go back to school, you are not alone.  Of the 21 million people enrolled in higher education programs, 2.3 million are between the ages of 40-64, up from 1.9 million in 2007. https://nces.ed.gov/     

Since the financial meltdown of 2008, the demand for job skills has changed with a greater emphasis on analytical and technical skills which transcends across all fields and industries. These new jobs and careers have flourished at a rapid rate but the most in-demand careers do require skills from specialized education and training that lead to a vocational license, certificate, or degree.

Below we have put together (with help from the Bureau of Labor Statistics) a list of subjects and some of the most in-demand careers that are worth the investment of going back to school. These are not only career opportunities, but they keep you on the cutting edge.

Computer Science – one of the fastest-growing industries   

Technology is now advancing a break-neck speed. The industry changes rapidly and workers need to stay up to date on the latest technology.   The transformation of software development/web development is changing dramatically with the abundant growth of new smart devices and the proliferation of applications. A class a year is almost needed just to keep up with the latest tools and software that are rolled out daily. Skilled software developers can make a salary of over $100,000 a year. This industry added more than 650,000 new jobs to the workforce between 2008 and 2018 and is projected to grow another 12 percent through 2028 creating another 546,000 new jobs. 

Information Security Analyst & Cybersecurity

High profile data breaches in private business and government demonstrate the need for Information Security Analysts. Security Analyst detects and prevents cyber threats to an organization.  This job requires identifying weaknesses in infrastructure (software, hardware, and networks) and finding resourceful ways to protect information data.   With a median salary of over $100,000 and projected growth of 28 percent from 2016 to 2026, the demand for such specialists is strong across all business sectors, IT, healthcare, finance, and more.

Business and Finance

The globalization and technology in today’s world provides a wide diversity within a business career to develop a broad knowledge of business administration as well as gaining targeted skills in a specific specialty including accounting, finance, banking, international markets, management, or any pathway that relates to business and industry.  Modern companies rely on their professionals to have both business and IT technical skills with the prevalence of business application software, data storage networks, and cloud computing.  Employment of business and financial operations occupations is projected to grow from 7 percent up to 23 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations and annual salaries generally start at $65,000.  

Healthcare is another one of the fastest-growing industries

Technical advancements in health care as well as the aging Baby Boomer generation are driving this growing industry. Across the 100 largest metropolitan areas, the healthcare industry accounts for more than one in every 10 jobs. Some of the occupations in health care with the biggest growth include physicians’ assistants, nurse practitioners, healthcare administrators, home health care services, services for the elderly and persons with disabilities, and nursing care facilities.  The range in the salary of these positions varies but some earn as much as $100,000 a year. This industry added over 2 million jobs in the health care workforce between 2008 and 2018 and is projected to grow 18 percent through 2028, creating 2.4 million new jobs. Don’t delay and get started at Coastline:

Sustainable and Renewable Energy Industry

Green energy and the rest of the power industry which includes natural gas, electricity, oil, and gas extraction, and utilities.  New green-sustainable and renewable energy positions are transforming this industry workforce.  Solar photovoltaic installers are forecasted to have a 63 percent growth in jobs through 2028, while wind turbine service technicians will see a 57 percent growth in jobs. Engineering technicians throughout the power industry are on the rise and require at least a two-year degree in engineering technology.  Renewables will have the fastest growth in the electricity sector, providing almost 30% of power demand in 2023, up from 24% in 2017.

Don’t want to spend time getting a massive degree right away? Coastline’s Building Codes Professional program (BCT) is a comprehensive building codes program taught by experts in the field which includes structural, mechanical, and technical aspects of construction; building, plumbing, electrical, heating, and air conditioning codes; and related laws. International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO), International Code Councils (ICC), and California Code exams and licenses are covered to prepare students for employment in residential, commercial, and code enforcement.

Marketing and Public Relations

Marketing has changed radically in the past 10 years with the development of social media and digital marketing. Traditional marketing did not require people to be technologically savvy. But social media has become viral and global digital marketing has become an essential part of every organizations’ strategy. Marketing experts are now tech professionals, search engine optimization specialists, monitoring and tracking social media platforms, campaigns, and analytic codes. They work with the algorithms of search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing to bring traffic to their clients’ websites, where the goal of that traffic can be anything from higher views and more social media engagement to increased sales.

The median salary for one of these specialists starts at $65,000 and goes up depending on responsibility. The growth rate for just the US digital marketing spend is projected to reach nearly $120 billion by 2021.  It’s an influencer’s world and you’ve got the connections to define it.

Pursue a career in Journalism or Public Relations. Become a business executive or a Human Relations Manager. Coastline courses will keep you in the know. Communication Studies programs empower students with the tools to analyze and improve communication in their personal, academic, public, and professional interactions. Students will study and learn to effectively construct, evaluate, and communicate appropriate messages in a variety of communicative situations. Graduates will be prepared to become effective contributors and leaders in their communities and chosen careers.

Communication courses prepare students with skills that are in high demand in business, industry, non-profit organizations and government service. Some University majors within the Communications Area of Emphasis include English, Journalism, Media Communication, Speech, Public Relations, and Theater Arts.

Some Final Words

While heading back to school, whether still young or in the middle of your career can seem daunting, you might be wondering which careers are worth going back to school for and if the time and money seeking a degree or certification is worth the payoff. The answer is yes!

The average college graduate makes $570,000 more than the average high school graduate over a lifetime. Career earnings for college graduates are 71% to 136% higher than those of high school graduates. In 2016, the average income for people 25 years old and older with a high school diploma was $35,615, while the income for those with a bachelor’s degree was $65,482, and $92,525 for those with advanced degrees. The median income for families headed by a bachelor’s degree holder was $100,096 in 2011—more than double than that for a family headed by a high school graduate. 85% of Forbes‘ 2012 America’s 400 Richest People list were college grads.

Technology has played a significant factor in the growth of various professions.     Finding a career that you find appealing in an expanding and changing marketplace, that will continue to add jobs and offer a pay increase, will justify the cost of your added education. However, the hard reality is more jobs require college degrees. Only 34% of American jobs require a high school diploma or less in 2017, compared to 72% in the 1970s. During the recession between Dec. 2007 and Jan. 2010, jobs requiring college degrees grew by 187,000, while jobs requiring some college or an associate’s degree fell by 1.75 million and jobs requiring a high school degree or less fell by 5.6 million. Based on the economy and job projections calculated by Georgetown University, in 2018, approximately 63% of jobs will require some college education or a degree. Bottom line college graduates have more and better employment opportunities. In 2017, the unemployment rate for college graduates aged 25 and over with a bachelor’s degree was 2.5%.