Asked on 13 Apr 2020
I am 28 years old with a diploma earning $3.4k as a healthcare worker. I am looking to do a degree, but am wondering if it should be in science, business, or management? My main goal is to be able to increase my earning power and open more doors. Most job postings that I see have a "minimum degree" requirement, which saddens me and I worry about the job market in future, where everyone has a degree. I definitely don't want to be left out. A degree in my field (optometry) costs $50k, while degrees in other fields cost way lesser. Any advice?
I used to be in the same situation as you! I am a HCW and I used to work in the private sector. Back then, my salary was considered pretty good considering that I am a diploma holder and am a fresh grad. However, looking at the big picture wise made me think about the progression I have. Therefore, I decided to take up a part-time degree while working.
It is true that getting a degree may open up more doors. However, at the end of the day it boils down to your ability to complete the job - which is based on the experience and skillsets you have.
Ask yourself these questions:
Do you really enjoy optometry?
What is the career progression if you obtain a degree in optometry? What kind of progression would you like to be in?
Some other career paths you can consider:
Your experience and knowledge in science and optometry will definetely help you! It would be best for you to have other skillsets such as simple data analysis.
Take a look at other requirements that a job may require besides a degree - you may want to consider taking up short courses to help you gain those skills that employers are looking at.
In the mean time, don't be afraid to apply for a job even though it may state degree holder especially if you think you have the right skillset for it!
I was very fortunate to land a job in a healthcare company (in the field of my diploma study), even though it requires a degree.
PS: Currently the degree I am taking is not related to my diploma as I wanted to expand my knowledge on other things but I am doing a degree related to science and engineering. (my diploma was quite specialise in a sense that there wasnt a course similar to ours in Poly, the cohort was very small and no other polytechnics offered it other than the poly that I was from)
Doing part time degree in a local university is relatively cheaper as well!
Certain industries, u cannot avoid the degree, e.g. Medicine. All the doctors display their certificates that they graduate from which university.
Certain industries, it is good to have to differentiate urself to the next level of competition or offers easier access to accreditation, e.g. CPA, ATP.
Generally, it depends on the industry and if the stakeholders use such degrees or equivalents to cast first impressions.
I don’t think having a degree is necessary but it’s certainly helps. Let me explain why.
Having a degree used to be a bonus back then during our parents’ generation. But it is no longer the case today. Having a degree has now become the norm and not having one would make you appear like the ‘odd one out’ or that you seem to be ‘less qualified’. That will unfortunately close some doors for you as there will always be employers that set a minimum criteria for applicants to have at least a degree, some would go further to limit it only to degree holders from local universities. If you choose not to get a degree, you must be prepared that there will be some doors that will be closed for you.
That being said, having a degree does not guarantee success in your career. I have peers who do not have a degree and only a diploma but they are doing very well in their careers, some earning higher incomes and are doing even better than those with degrees. On the flip side, there are also those who have a degree but are struggling to find a job.
I would also say that education qualifications tend to be more important at the beginning of our careers. But once you start working full-time and gain more work experience, employers will care more about what you did during those years spent working and your years of experience rather than your degree or diploma.
If you want to stay in your current field because that’s what you like and is passionate about it, talk to your experienced colleagues and ask what they think. Veterans in the field might be able to give you insights on whether a diploma can get you far in this career.
Having a degree will certainly help but it does not determine your success. A degree holder’s salary might not necessarily be higher than a diploma holder’s either. Ultimately, we dictate our success. Never feel like you can’t achieve success even if you don’t have a degree! All the best :)
I would say that since you are looking towards increasing your earning power, pursuing higher education will boost your chances of achieving that goal. Our society is definitely open towards hiring diploma holders but there is still an advantage if you are a degree holder.
I think when it comes to choosing what degree to pursue, you have to think about both passion and practicality of the degree. Theres no point studying something you have completely no interest in (even if it can boost your pay) but also no point studying something that is purely interest (cause you may just be stuck with the same earnings and not achieve your goal of increasing your earning power). If I were you, I would weigh the pros and cons of the different courses and decide based on interest and practicality. I think it is really a personal decision as everyone would have different priorities and goals when they decide to pursue higher education.
Do what you love to do and money will come.
Access your situation well... Why?
The money you save will be spend on degree.
Do you have any short term expenses that are coming up... Like marriage, property?
Alot of times, people forget to look at the details and result their finance is tight. I have clients who go for double degree and get themself stuck at short term liabilities like marriage, property, etc...
Ultimately plan well, and understand is this the path you wanna go? For the long term.
Generally some belive the best investment is not into investment products
but into yourself
true possibly. think also, that these higher education jobs could be more interesting,
on the other hand maybe also associated with more social stress (family, work climate),
but in the end You will only notice when You are there.
You need to know yourself and what you intend to do in the long run on a sustainable basis. For example, let's say that a degree in Science costs $40k and is able to let you earn an income of up to $180k a year over time.
However, you do not enjoy Science or the field that you are in. As a result, it is likely that you lose the burning fire and do a career switch midway. Accordingly, this degree and time is wasted.
On the other hand, if you choose what you like, it ensures that you are passionate on what you do. Thereupon, it is natural that you will be able to climb faster, thereby increasing your pay over time.
Are you planning to continue in your field? (current/related to your diploma) If you're planning to, then maybe you can consult your superior or someone from HR on the type of qualification you should go for for a promotion etc.
If you're planning to do a career switch then have to talk to professionals in the related industry for their advice. More importantly, wait till the economy starts to recover before doing a transition.
Hey anon! The first question I would like to ask is that do you see yourself switching industry? If so, then yes, go for it. I do have a cousins working as an optometrist and she graduated with a diploma too. She is very much happy with her current situation and take it as a passion. She does however take on part time degree at Kaplan to study business management. She's doing it essentially to hone herself to be able to understand how a spectacle shop operates.
If you do wish to explore other fields, I would say go for it. If you wish to get a degree for the sake of increasing salary, go for degree in management, operation or even marketing.
Hope this helps!