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What happens when your resume doesn’t include a formal education?   While it’s true a degree can mean higher income levels over the course of your working years, there are still many career choices that people thrive in without the benefit of a degree.  “While you won’t be able to practice law without a degree, there are many career opportunities within the legal field that don’t require a four year degree” says A. Harrison Barnes, founder of LawCrossing.com

A college degree is a proud educational achievement, no doubt.  But having experience counts for a lot, too.  Positions are often given to those employees who have dedicated a good part of their working years to an employer; positions that the competitor might not be able to promote from within, says the LawCrossing.com founder.   It’s not uncommon for companies to “grandfather” those employees who’ve been in the position for awhile, but don’t possess the college degree the job now requires.  That said, there are no guarantees nor is any employer under any obligation to do so.

Some companies even substitute on the job training for some job openings.  It’s important for those with degrees to not become discouraged.  A. Harrison Barnes says, “Employers, while they want to reward loyalty, they’re also not going to compromise a position that clearly requires an advanced education for the sake of an employee who’s been with the company two decades but who does not have the skillset”.

There are times that one has the necessary training and experience and with an impressive resume, yet still can’t land those positions that equate to better money and advancement opportunities.   Barnes recommends these employees consider returning to school.  Night classes are an excellent way to secure that degree.  More universities are offering online courses, too.  It’s become less burdensome for those wishing to secure a degree while maintaining their current work responsibilities.

That new employee who’s now working in the next office might have been brought on board making as much or more than what your own current salary is.  This just reiterates the power of a degree.  There are times when one’s professional resume is the determining factor in what salary he’s offered and that includes whether or not he’s had formal training at a university.

So while there are no hard and fast rules regarding whether or not a degree is necessary to further your career, it’s also always advisable to pursue it for your own reasons.  You’ll discover a new confidence, not to mention to potential for faster promotions and better money.   Who knows, once you begin this new chapter in your life, you may discover you want to pursue a new legal career or nursing job or even a career in politics. In today’s job market, every advantage we can get is one worth having.

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