Article - Why a High School Diploma May Not Be Enough:

No two people have the same career goals and while Joe may want to earn an associates degree and Jane may want a career degree, Jimmy may think that his future may be set thanks to a highschool diploma. Jimmy may want to rethink that decision as the reality is in the new economy, a high school diploma may not be enough.

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According to the Washington Post, in 2009 the national high school graduation rate was 75.5 percent. Individuals who only earn a high school diploma have limited career paths to follow including (but not limited to) entrepreneurship, service industry jobs (including retail and food) or health care. Although those jobs may be abundant, the pay can be low and the career path may not be as long when compared with individuals who pursue other forms of higher education.

Proof of that assertion has come courtesy of the Pew Research Center (an independent think tank committed to analyzing current trends that will impact the future of America and the world at large). The organization found that prior to the Great Recession, 55 percent of high school diploma holders had work, that number dropped to 47 percent during the crisis. Additionally, job seekers who only had a high school diploma among their credentials experienced wage decreases averaging 10 percent.

College graduates fared much better during that time, as those with bachelor degrees saw their employment rate slide a scant four points from 69 employment percent to 65 percent during the Great Recession. While this niche also experienced salary decreases, their wages dropped by 5 percent, far less than those who only had high school credentials.

High school students wondering what other options may be available instead of a traditional college education can rest assured that opting for an associates degree, career diploma or trade school will provide more stability during an economic downturn than solely be relying on a high school diploma. The Pew Research Center noted that within the study group, individuals with an associate's degree, saw the employment rate fall from 64 percent to 57 percent prior to and during the recession.

It is impossible to predict who the winners and losers will be when the new economy (based on technology, green energy and yet to be defined options) kicks into full gear, however those who pursue higher education are expected to do better than those who simply rely on a high school diploma for success. While pursuing higher education and successfully earning a degree from a university or other education venue is no guarantee for success and large salaries, it does help the average American gain an important edge over the job-seeking competition.

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