Continuing EducationMany people harbor the misconception that because they have finished school, earning necessary degrees and certifications for entry-level employment, that they will never again need to set foot in a classroom. Yet, millions of workers around the U.S. continue to languish in jobs they feel they have outgrown, unable to move up into higher-paying, high-prestige positions. Though they may not want to recognize it, the answer is obvious: continuing education.

There are plenty of jobs in which continuing education is not merely a good idea, but rather it’s mandatory. Many health care professionals must retake exams on a regular basis; some teachers must prove their continuing education to retain their positions and earn tenure; accountants, engineers, pilots, law professionals, and more must often take courses to renew their skills and improve their knowledge.

Though it might not be required for you to return to school to preserve your employment, continuing education does much to prove to employers that you are competent and qualified for better positions. Regardless of whether it’s mandatory or not, continuing education is a good idea for the following reasons.


Enhanced Skills and Knowledge

In recent years, technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. It’s more than likely that there are new software and devices applicable to your job — but if you’ve been out of school for some time, you might not know about these time- and effort-saving tools, let alone how to use them to optimal effect.

Because humankind is constantly learning more about the world and discovering new ways to solve old problems, education will always expand your mind and enhance your abilities. It is exceedingly beneficial to return to school to learn the latest information pertaining to your field because that information will make you better at completing your work tasks.


Improved Image

Studies show that people with undergrad-level educations tend to have higher self-esteem. Researchers believe the struggle to overcome challenges throughout higher-level education improve one’s confidence. It’s understandable that participating in a continuing education course would have a similar effect on your self-image.

Additionally, the image of you that others see is vastly improved by continuing education. Just as you perceive those with advanced degrees more favorably than you perceive those with high school diplomas or less, your prospective employers will mark you as slightly above your peers thanks to your academic credentials.


Advanced Marketability

Because continuing education improves your image, the task of marketing yourself to employers becomes dramatically easier. First, employers will have more initial attraction to your application package because of your recent education experience. Then, in interviews, you will be able to discuss novel and innovative techniques and solutions pertinent to your industry — rather than trying to apply outdated skills and knowledge to a field that is undoubtedly modernizing at a rapid pace.


Broadened Network

In most businesses, what you know is roughly as important as who you know. You can benefit from a broad network in a variety of ways:

  • Greater job opportunities. Acquaintances in similar businesses might inform you of available positions.
  • Increased business. The more people you meet, the more sales you have the potential to make.
  • Better mentors and allies. If you are ambitious, you should take all the career advice you can get.
  • Broader profile. A widespread reputation — especially a positive reputation — works wonders on a career.
  • More friends. At the very least, you’ll have more people to commiserate with.


Higher Salaries and Better Benefits

This advantage of continuing education is perhaps the one that motivates most people to return to school: By pursuing further industry-related knowledge and skills, you qualify for better positions — which tend to result in better pay and benefits. Not only is continuing education an indication that you are committed to your field, but employers acknowledge that continuing education proves superior abilities as well as a desire to provide the best possible service. With the right mix of education and work experience, you will be sitting pretty in upper-level management positions, enjoying the dramatically increased salary and amazing benefits.


Developed Personal Interests

If nothing else, continuing education serves to satisfy personal curiosity and present new challenges. If you are bored by your current duties, investigating the latest developments in your field through continuing education could help you rediscover your passion for your profession and develop personal interest in a new aspect of your job.