How to Get the Best Educational Value for your Dollars
I may be seeking educational information for a very different reason then yourself but even if you are fresh out of high school or presently laid off from your job seeking to further your education can broaden your career choices as well as my own. One thing I have always understood in today's society is that education is key I don't think any one would argue against that point. Simply throwing your money on any educational program with out genuine interest in the field of choice can be money down the drain if your education never returns those investment dollars to your pocket.
I recently spoke to a friend who went through a year of specialized schooling once she completed the course to be certified she began to work in that field only to discover that field simply was not for her. She failed to consider the actual act of what she specialized in once she began to do this career day after day she discovered a bit to late she had no interest in the field what so ever. Now don't get me wrong she can always fall back on this career choice if she needs to. I am seeking education myself at this point in my life so I am discovering all the available resources to further my chances of picking a field that I can be happy and comfortable with doing day after day.
First and foremost consider a career choice you will be happy with for many years to come. When it comes to the day in day out routine if you can not stand the job at all that is some thing that even money can not fix. Choose wisely and think it through carefully this will be the single most important choice you will make. I actually had a friend call me and say hey I am going to get my CNA and sigh a year agreement to work in a nursing home for one year I said, "are you crazy, you faint at the site of blood!"
My next venture takes me to a simple place in my mind, a place where dollar sighs dance in my head and fly into my pocket preferably. Seriously money is very important. The best thing to to think about is how much pay can you expect in your area for the job you may feel compelled to seek education in order to pursue. With pay rate in mind I began to put together a few great resources to find out where my state stands in the national minimum wage conversation. Lets face it some jobs do not require further schooling to obtain them, how ever they may pay a higher rate if you work a few more hours or it may be a bit more demanding for that particular job. That is another area to consider as well, a pay increase if you simply change your job. Also the pay scales for individual employment in various fields is varied but the US Dept of Labor has a vast wealth of resources for information.
The Minimum Wage Laws
I'm glad to know I do not live in a red state according to the map that means minimum wage is lower then the federal however according to the map above I live in a blue state which means the minimum pay scale is the same as the federal pay scale. To bad I don't live in a green state though but this is good information to know. Even if you are just looking for employment it is nice to know what the wage laws are in your state. If you would like more wage information click on the link below to go to the Department of Labor scroll down to see your state wage amounts.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Many states also have minimum wage laws. Some state laws provide greater employee protections; employers must comply with both. Click on this link to find your state.
Scroll Down to Read the Minimum Wage Amount for Your State
- U.S. Department of Labor - Employment Standards Administration (ESA) - Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
US Department of Labor: ESA's mission is to enhance the welfare and protect the rights of American workers by enforcing employment laws.
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Okay So Wages are the Biggest Consideration
When we look at the return for our educational dollars one of the biggest concerns are wages that can be earned. We want to be in the employment that we enjoy but more so we want to be able to earn a substantial wage for our investment of time as well as education. Looking at the chart below from the United States Department of Labor we see that some jobs simply do not have the potential to pay a wage we might be happy with while others are completely surprising to say the least. Some pay scales are shocking to me for the educational investment and the job title demands. Some pay a lot more then I would have guessed & still others pay a lot less.
I guess the most important questions I need to ask myself & more importantly answer is:
1. What career field do I wish to be in or would I be happy with? A job in one of the fields that are not laying people off currently if we want to be realistic about the whole thing would be best.
2. What wages can I expect to earn based on the part of the country I live in & the pay scale.
3. What education do I need to pursue to obtain this career goal?
4. Where to obtain further information on education as well as employment. There are plenty of grants out there so be sure to ask about them if you are considering further education.
Pay Scale Based on Career Field
Wages By JobClick thumbnail to view full-size
National Pay rate information:
United States Department of Labor
According to the United States Department of Labor the fastest growing job sector is here in this graph. Fastest growing occupations and occupations projected to have the largest numerical increases in employment between 2006 and 2016, by level of postsecondary education or training are shown.
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Education to employment chart
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