4 Ways to Get More Education and Advance Your Career

One of the best things you can do for yourself — and your earning potential — is to improve your education. Develop the habits of a lifelong learner, and you will be more likely to go further in life, and make more money.

The good news is that there is no one “right” way to get an education. Everyone is different, and the important thing is to assess your skills and abilities, and to strive for an education that fits your lifestyle and needs, and allows you to learn what you need to improve your financial situation.

grad students

4 Ways to Enhance Your Skills

Here are 4 different paths you can take to get a better education.

1. Degree

This is one of the more common career paths these days. Even though college costs continue to rise, degrees are still popular. And for many, this is the right path. A degree in a field that will help you earn money can be a great financial help.

Your degree can outfit you with the knowledge that you need to function in your career. In some cases, all you need is an Associates degree to get started. Others might need to obtain advanced degrees in order to start earning money in a particular field.

If you can figure out what degree is needed to get the job you want, this type of education can be your ticket to a good paying job down the road.

2. Technical/Professional Training

You don’t need to rack up thousands of dollars in student loans in order to get a formal education. One of your options is to receive technical or professional training. There are a number of certifications that you can receive at technical schools all over the country. You can train to be a plumber, truck driver, electrician, dental hygienist, medical assistant, or any number of other professions at one of these schools.

In some cases, the training and knowledge you receive can lead to a job that pays fairly well. You don’t have to get a degree to succeed. All you really need is a marketable skill that proves your human capital.

3. Practical Certification

Perhaps you work in a job where you need to keep your skills sharp and your certifications up to snuff. Practical certification can be a way to boost your earning power, since it shows that you have specific training desirable in your career field.

Find out what certifiable skills are preferred in your field. Then, take classes, or prepare for the necessary tests that can lead to your official certification. A practical certification may not seem glamorous, but it is a good way to stay up to date on your industry and best practices, and to acquire new skills that might be valuable to others.

4. Self-Improvement

You can work to educate yourself in a number ways. Better skills and knowledge can take you a long way in your career, as well as if you decide to start your own business.

There are plenty of online learning resources available for free. You can visit sites like Khan Academy, or utilize open courseware offerings from some of the top universities in the country. You can learn more about business and finance, and learn to better manage your money, without worrying about paying for a degree.

You can also benefit yourself by learning valuable soft skills. There may not be a certification for problem solving, but if you can learn how to work with others to solve problems in your workplace, you can create a positive image that others will remember when deciding who gets the next promotion. From learning to write better, to brushing up on your speaking and presentation skills to understanding effective networking practices, you can improve yourself and boost your earning.

Bottom Line

A good education can help you increase your earning power, and improve your quality of life. It doesn’t even need to be a formal education to be effective on some level. As long as you have an interest in learning and self-improvement, there is a good chance that you will be able to put that knowledge to use to earn more money.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.


By , on Jan 28, 2013
Miranda Marquit Miranda is a professional personal finance journalist. She is a contributor for several personal finance web sites. Her work has been mentioned in and linked to from, USA Today, The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. She also has her own personal finance blog: Planting Money Seeds.


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  1. A practical degree or education is one of the best investments you can make. You do have to put money into it, sure, but it pays off in dividends when you start working in your career.

    • @Tushar – Depending on the degree I think. After 2 degrees, I really want to get some kind of professional certification at this point in my life.

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