With motivation, you can teach yourself skills to help you on the job.
When people consider ways to get a better job or a boost in salary, one of the things they think about is whether they should go back to school. That decision becomes more difficult as the average undergraduate student loan debt hits $25,000 and some jobs don’t offer better paychecks with more education.PayScale, which collects information on salaries, finds that those in finance, computer science or economics may see a salary increase if they have a master’s degree but not those in history, English or art, lead economist Katie Bardaro says. Those in a pickle because their professions demand a master’s degree but don’t see it translate into better pay are those in psychology, social work and education, she said. To further complicate the situation, Payscale finds that while thousands of schools offer an master’s in business administration, only about 50 name-brand universities’ degrees can lead to better pay. That’s because they can get better networking connections and more opportunities, she says.
The same holds true for those who get their law degree: Only about 50 law schools give graduates the kind of prestige they need to command higher paychecks, Bardaro says. Well-paying jobs that will be in great demand are in science, technology, engineering and math, she says. A master’s degree in those fields will make you more marketable. Still, if you decide you don’t want to go back to school because of the cost — or other reasons — you still can increase your marketability through self-directed learning.
Kio Stark, author of Don’t Go Back to School, says she was inspired to write her book after listening to people talk about going back to school to learn something she knew they could learn on their own. In her book, she interviews 100 people who successfully taught themselves skills that they’ve used to start their own businesses or break into an industry.
“I wanted people to realize there are options for learning,” Stark says.