Education level is one of the major factors determining lifetime earnings because it impacts the available career options, job levels and salary, and even employment vs. unemployment. Having a university degree does not guarantee financial success but pursuing an education does tend to increase a person’s income. PBS investment advisor and author Jonathan Pond says one of your best investments is in your career, and what he is really recommending is Education. But having a degree or a set of skills is only part of what is required to find employment. Entering the job market today can be challenging and requires effort. Different individuals have different skills and abilities, but everyone can improve the quality of those skills and abilities through education. For some, that educational experience may be formal (e.g. university) or informal (e.g. on-the-job training). In either case, the primary purpose is to earn an income to meet one’s basic needs and pursue their financial goals. These are not hard and fast rules about what will absolutely happen. It should be correct, on average. You could be, or know, many people who are exceptions. Education is only one (very important!) predictor of employability and income earning ability.
Whether you choose a job or career, it is important to review your skills, abilities, experiences, and interests because they will help determine how successful you are with your choice. Those skills, abilities, experiences, and interests are called human capital. They are the resources you take to work with you and will be important in determining the amount of income you have. Building your human capital is a continual process. One of the best ways to improve upon what you have today is through education. Education allows you to increase your knowledge, your skills and your access to better paying occupations. The more education you have, the greater your potential to earn a higher income. Going to university or getting a degree beyond a bachelor’s takes a lot of time, energy, and commitment. It also can be expensive.
In reality, there will probably never be a single, unified, comprehensive theory of career development and intervention, because the career development process is too complex, too dependent on interaction of personal and environmental variables, and too contextually determined.
Life is about making choices. Few choices will be more important than your ability to earn an income. That income will influence almost every option you have to meet your personal goals. It will help determine where you live, what kind of car you drive, and your lifestyle. Whether you choose a job or a career, some kind of continuing education will be required to build your human capital.