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Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Two Cents on Higher Education

In order to make and have more money you need a good, quality education. But what does that mean? Many people are concerned about the rising costs of higher education. Afterall, tuition costs have risen by almost 50% in the past decade alone. College graduates remain in tens of thousands of dollars in debt long after they finally secure that coveted "great" job, that is if they even are successful in landing that job in the first place.

The problem here is that one must understand the difference between education and a credential. An education is an in-depth understanding and gaining of knowledge, concepts, skills and practicuums that will help you to accomplish something whereas a credential is a sort of social sign that you have achieved a certain level of accomplishment. Think about this: Bill Gates dropped out of school where he would have earned a credential and became a business owner where he grew his education. Running your own business and diving into real-life experience is the best education that there is. Does Bill Gates need the credential to prove his value? Absolutely not!

Does this mean that quality education isn't important? Absolutely not! You must have a quality education in order to be taken seriously. This means that you must possess the necessary knowledge, understanding, concepts, skills and practicuums to do the things you want to pursue for financial gain. You just do not have to follow the traditional pool of thought that success means you go to school, get a good job, buy a house, and have a family. That might not be your idea of success and, let's face it, may take way too long to help you out right now.

So what do you do? Your education can come from experience (open your own business, shadow someone doing what you want to do, etc.), reading good books, attending seminars and workshops and many other ways. The bottomline is that you do not have to go broke in pursuit of a credential that few people will even care that you have if you are able to prove that you have the knowledge, skills, and understanding to practice.

Using myself as an example, how many of you have asked me what my qualifications are to run my L.A.D.I.E.S. group on Facebook or this blog? How do you know that the information I am providing can be trusted? The same goes for my coaching practice. I have coached close to two hundred people by now over the last decade. How many times do you think I have been asked for a coaching certification? I have provided consulting services to dozens of businesses and have lectured and trained at dozens of organizations. How many of them have asked me for a college degree? The truth of the matter is that this has NEVER been asked of me. And I just last year graduated with my BS in Technical Management and just became certified as a Christian Life Coach four years ago.

My education came from reading, doing, observing and living. Knowledge is power and the best education is a cheap but quality one that allows you to dive in fast. Afterall, does it make sense to go into debt in the several tens of thousands of dollars for a credential that will only allow you to secure a position that makes maybe a third of that in the first year? Absolutely not!

My advice: think about what you really want to do and then find ways to learn how to do it without the credential. If there is no way to get around the credential due to legal issues, (think doctors or lawyers), then find the cheapest and fastest ways to get the credential so that you can start earning faster and amass wealth instead of debt.