When you look at entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, you may notice that they do not have a college degree – yet they are extremely successful. This might make you think that a college degree is not important for success. Do you really need to go to college, or can you launch the most successful new tech company from your garage like Steve Jobs did?

The answer to this question is complex. You will always be able to find people who made themselves a success without a particular degree or training program. But is this the norm, or are they the exception? For most career paths, earning a college degree or having some college training behind you is going to give you an advantage. Examples such as those above so noteworthy specifically because of how rare their circumstances are.  


Do You Need a College Degree to Be Successful?

MSU Denver Commencement ceremonyYou’ll find a lot of opinions about this question. Determining if you need a college degree to be successful in your career path is not always clear. However, the bottom line is that your college education is going to give you an advantage, no matter what your career path is. There are different points to consider in this discussion, but there are some distinct reasons why a college degree can set the stage for success

Here are five ways you can benefit from a college degree as you enter the workforce and pursue your personal and professional goals: 

1. Create Networking Opportunities 

In the world of business, networking is essential. Many people know that they should have a professional network to help them find new job opportunities when they are ready for a career change, but this is just one reason why a network is important. You can turn to your professional network to bounce ideas off other professionals, stay aware of changes in your industry and learn about resources you might otherwise not. Forbes indicates your network can also be a source of creative inspiration.

So how does a college degree create networking opportunities? When you go to college, you meet other people in your field who are also dedicated to increasing their knowledge and skills. You will also build relationships with professors who are thought leaders in your field. These are connections you simply cannot make in high school. If you cultivate these relationships well, you will be able to graduate with a network that can help you find success in your career. 


2. Enhance/Create Marketable Skillsets 

Another benefit of a college diploma is the practical skills you learn through your educational career. Today’s college programs are designed to provide classroom education as well as hands-on training where appropriate. This combination means you will graduate with new skills and marketable benefits as you look for career opportunities.

If you already have those skills, you can use your college training to enhance and improve them. You will also have proof that you can list on your resume to show that you did, in fact, learn those things. Having an official college degree or certificate is more impressive on a resume than simply stating you have a particular skill without documentation to back up the claim. Proof is important for career advancement, especially if you are working in a competitive market. 


3. Prepare for Specialized Careers 

Sometimes, higher education is a requirement for your career path. For example, if you want to become a nurse or a teacher, you must earn a degree or certificate. The licensing agencies or hiring companies require a degree before they will even consider you, so these are not careers you can learn on the job or through internships alone. 

Take a moment to consider your desired career. Does it require any specialization that would make an associate or bachelor’s degree necessary? If so, then enrolling in a college degree program is essential. If it does not require college training, consider whether it would give you a leg up in the market or allow you to specialize within the field.  


4. Higher Earning Potential 

Based on current statistics, people with a bachelor’s degree will earn more over their lifetime than those without. According to the Social Security Administration, a man with a bachelor’s degree will earn approximately $900,000 more than someone with just a high school diploma over his lifetime, and a woman will earn $630,000 more with a degree.

Sometimes, you may enter a career field that does not require a college degree to begin. However, as you look toward career advancement in that field, you might find that certification or even a degree is necessary to move up the career ladder. With a college education, you will have higher earning potential, even if you don’t need a degree to start your career. 


5. Boost Confidence for Success 

A confident person can handle adversity and overcome challenges in the workplace without giving up. They are also capable of stretching themselves outside of their comfort zone. 

College can be important for confidence, and confidence is important for success. When you successfully graduate from college, your confidence gets a boost. You will show yourself that you can do challenging things, and gain the confidence that comes from having the right training behind you. 


Is College Important for Success?

While some career paths do not require a college degree, earning a degree can set the stage for success in a wide range of fields. It provides confidence, proof of marketable skills, increases earning potential and provides a foundation to pursue specialized careers. You will also build a solid network of professionals and peers as you earn your degree. Thus, becoming a college graduate can be an important part of a successful career plan. 

As you consider your options for college training, take a closer look at Metropolitan State University of Denver. With over 90 majors and 10 graduate programs, along with 40 certificate programs, you will find something to fit your career goals. At MSU Denver, you can even create your own degree track to get exactly what you want out of your higher education experience. Learn more about our degree programs or reach out to an admissions counselor to get your enrollment started today.