College degrees continue to gain value, particularly in times of an economic recession. College graduates make more money and face lower unemployment rates than high school graduates or students who fail to graduate. Perhaps equally important for workers, in addition to holding a degree, is having the ability to acquire new skills and adapt to the changing times.
New and nearly constant developments in technology can devalue an entire industry overnight. These days, skills or even entire professions once considered innovative and modern have become obsolete. Shifts in government and lifestyle standards can create a similar effect.
Consider, for example, the health care industry. Recent health care reform, which will allow more people to be insured, will likely create more demand for primary care. Students who are interested in the medical or healthcare field may want to consider pursuing a degree in order to qualify themselves for one of the many positions in the growing sector. Current trends urging people to live green, sustainable lifestyles will also encourage new positions; more environmental engineers, for instance, will be needed to maintain society’s new standards of environmental protection.
When choosing a major and a potential career path, college students should look at changes in the economy to predict where future changes might occur. “Having the right education at the right time” has become almost as important as having an education at all. The promise of a lifelong career no longer rests simply in holding a degree, but also in having a valuable set of skills and the ability to acquire new ones as necessary. Seasoned workers, whether preparing to make career moves or working to ensure career stability, must look at the changing world around them, and be willing to change with it.
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