Understand What Employers Value

If you decide that you need different skills to get a new job, consider less expensive certification and training programs as well as traditional degrees. 

In general, the higher your level of education, the higher your expected annual median wage. However, professions such as nursing, which require technical degrees, are predicted to grow faster than jobs requiring traditional bachelor’s degrees. 

Interestingly, those with an associate’s degree can expect slightly higher growth than those with a bachelor’s degree (however the median annual salary for someone with an associate’s degree is significantly lower). 

Infographic: Level of education, projected job growth by 2024, median annual wage as of 2014

  • Education and training. Research the appropriate education and training for the position you want using resources such as the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) website, which estimates growth possibilities through 2024 for various careers.
  • Hard skills. A college degree may get you in the door, but keeping on top of new technology and other skills relevant to your field is most valuable to employers, according to a CNN Money report.
  • Soft skills. Soft skills such as communication, collaboration, teamwork, creative thinking and problem solving are among some of the most desired qualities in recent graduates.
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