The men and women who have these high-paying, dynamic jobs in the private sector did not get them because they are lucky – they got them because they had the vision to see the road towards their career destination and the work ethic to walk it.

More often than not, the straightest road to that destination is through education. Whether you're a working professional interested in earning an MBA, an accountant seeking to specialize, or an entrepreneur trying to establish credentials and procure financing, continued formal education will qualify you for the career you want, prepare you for a competitive labor market, and significantly increase your paycheck. The BLS also makes a point to note that many of the most desirable and lucrative positions in the private sector now usually REQUIRE advanced degrees for the candidate to even be considered.

Education IS the Difference

Education Pays

It's easy to see that the more educated you are, the more secure your job will be, and the more money you'll make. But education has never made more of a difference than it does today: according to the National Center for Education Statistics,, in 1980 a male worker with a high school diploma or GED made a median of $41,400; his female counterpart made $26,900. A man in 1980 who worked for a bachelor's (or higher) degree, bumped his earnings up to $48,900, an increase of "only" $7,500. By 2006, a male worker with a high school education was making only $30,000, while his more-educated neighbor was making $50,000 a year, a whopping 60% or $20,000 more. The trends are similar for female workers.

Earnings by Educational Achievement

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The point is, there is a gap: in earnings, in opportunities, in job security. There's a gap, and it's growing. The more educated you are, the better positioned you will be for higher pay, a better job, and a more rewarding life.

Satisfied or not with your current employment, the possibility of career advancement or a significant raise is unlikely without a college degree. In whatever you do, raw talent will only take you so far. You may be a talented self-taught accountant, but to land a lucrative position with a serious accounting firm, you may need the training and legitimacy earned through continued education.

The desirability of a degree is a no-brainer, but the problem for many people is a perceived inability to fit more schooling into the framework of an already busy and demanding work and personal life, and to make it financially possible. The finances are often easy – elsewhere on this Web site we'll show you how to qualify for federal aid and school loans. Finding the time to complete a degree may seem even more daunting. If you have a fast-paced life which demands flexibility and the drive to pursue a degree that will launch you in a new career – or advance your current career – online education may be the answer.