How Adults Going Back to School Can Improve Their Lives

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Adult Education Surveys conducted by the US Department of Education suggest that lack of education can significantly hamper an individual's job prospects and earning ability. With a weakening economy and the threat of layoffs looming large, many adults are going back to school to sharpen their skills and make themselves attractive to current and prospective employers.

According to the DOE, "adults who have low levels of education often lack the skills needed to succeed in the labor market. One way for adults to overcome this skill disadvantage is to participate in learning activities offered through the formal education system, at the workplace, or by other organizations."

According to the US Department of Labor, out of the top 50  high paying careers, only two (air traffic controller and nuclear power reactor operator) do not require a 4-year college degree. Data from the US Census Bureau reveal that people with bachelor's degrees and advanced degrees earn more than those with just high school diplomas.

Common reasons why adults go back to school: Adults going back to school do so for a variety of reasons.

Self improvement:

Some people have a life-long desire to learn new things and improve themselves. They may also want to complete a degree that they started when they were young. Those who have led an active lifestyle prior to retirement may also take up studies to maintain the intellectual challenge and to make themselves better equipped to serve their community, instead of slipping into a monotonous retired life.

Career boost:

Those who do not familiarize themselves with the latest developments in today's world run the risk of being left behind. Employees often take some form of continued education through evening, weekend or online courses, to improve their chances of promotion or even to jumpstart a new career.

Social relationships:

For many adults, studying in a classroom atmosphere, along with people who are interested in the same kind of things as they are, is a great motivator to take up some form of adult education program.

Different kinds of adult education programs

According to the Department of Education, about 4% of adult learners take up traditional university programs and the rest choose from professional certifications, vocational courses or independent courses on topics that are personally interesting to them. Certification programs that allow adults to add skill sets without having to go back for a full degree are hugely popular.

Traditional liberal arts such as interpersonal communication, writing etc. open up niche opportunities that are beneficial even in a technology dominated world.
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