Earning a college degree takes time and hard work. If you are wondering whether it’s worth the effort, consider these compelling reasons for pursuing your degree.

Qualify for jobs you want

Some fields have strict requirements you must meet to qualify for certain job titles. Nursing, engineering, and IT are examples of industries where applicants for some roles must meet formal criteria to apply. You cannot even be considered as a candidate if you don’t meet the required educational qualifications or certifications.

Explore new career paths

While furthering your education, you have the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of diverse topics. During this process, you might discover new interests or realize you had strengths in areas you never considered.

Boost your income

A college degree is a valuable credential you can use to find a better-paying job or negotiate a higher salary in your current position.

The earnings gap between those with and without college degrees continues to widen. The Social Security Administration said that its research related to lifetime earnings for U.S. workers can “confirm the significant long-term economic benefits associated with college education.”

Specifically, the SSA found that:

  • The net present lifetime value at age 20 of a bachelor's degree relative to a high school diploma is $260,000 for men and $180,000 for women.
  • For those with a graduate degree, it is $400,000 for men and $310,000 for women.

Some fields or employers use a compensation system in which each specific job title has a pay range. An individual employee’s exact salary is determined by a number of factors, which typically includes education level. Earning a degree might mean you would qualify for an automatic bump in salary, even if you remain in your current position.

Establish stronger job security

Those with a college degree are also less likely to have trouble finding a job. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that the unemployment rate decreases as the education level increases. 

Take pride in your achievement

There’s also the sense of personal triumph that comes from achieving a major goal, especially if it is one you have put on hold for a while. Earning a degree takes sacrifice and hard work, and you can enjoy a well-deserved sense of pride in successfully accomplishing this milestone. You may even inspire someone else to pursue their own educational goals.

Cumulative rewards that increase with each step

Each additional credential you earn can equal more professional and financial rewards. You can continue to see increasing benefits by earning your first associate or bachelor’s degree or pursuing graduate-level education if you already have an undergraduate degree.

Bottom line: Continuing your education can open up greater professional opportunities and give you the potential to see a significant increase in salary. Earning a degree can help you get a better job or earn more from the one you have, along with the satisfaction of having accomplished this impressive achievement.

Learn more about how you can earn your degree at Penn State World Campus.