Factors like readjustment to being in school, the cost of tuition, implementing new technologies, and even just age can inhibit people from going back to school at 40 to finish their degrees. While all of these things are common insecurities, the fact is that going back to school has exponentially more benefits than it does drawbacks. All of the things you could learn, the greater career potential, and the sense of accomplishment that come with earning a college degree make it a worthwhile investment at any age. You shouldn’t let anything hold you back from continuing your education if it is something you want to do.
The age of the typical college student is rising and has been doing so for quite some time. There were over 8 million students over the age of 25 in 2015, in a report published by the National Center for Education Statistics. While 25 is still a far cry from 40, this demonstrates the fact that it is becoming increasingly “normal” for college students to be older than has been typically expected in the past. Age is a huge stumbling block when it comes to choosing to return to school, but the data is there that shows that there’s nothing to worry about. There are careers that require continuing education, there are new career fields that may appeal to older adults opening up, and there is always room for professional advancement when someone has a college degree. Another factor that holds older adults back from going back to school is the amount of time it takes to earn a degree may not seem worth it. An accelerated degree program is a great option for someone going back to school at 40 who might not want to take the full 4 or 5 years to graduate. These degree completion programs can lead to a big boost in salary and come with a built-in return-on-investment. Many degree programs boast a cost-per-credit that is drastically lower than America’s average of over $500 and then there is the salary boost that comes with that degree. The average salary for someone who has some college education is about $38,376 per year and there’s an unemployment rate of 5% at that level of education. For people who have earned their bachelor’s degree, the average salary is $59,124 per year and that level of education cuts the unemployment rate almost in half at 2.8%.
Salary alone isn’t the only thing that makes it worth it to go back to school at 40. The sense of accomplishment that comes with earning your college degree is something irreplaceable, especially because older generations have always placed a higher esteem on going to college. Obtaining a degree that allows you to step up into different professional roles or even changing your career altogether is what can help you see your annual pay go up, but it also paves the way for you to have a job that you like more, care more about, and generally find more fulfilling. There are plenty of reasons why someone could feel discouraged when it comes to returning to college, but it is worth it for so many more.