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"I believe that education is the civil rights issue of our generation." – U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, October 9, 2009

Certification: The Underestimated Route to Career Success

Should certificates be considered post-secondary education just as associate’s and bachelor’s degrees are? The article Certification Opens Path to Gainful Employment, Middle Class Earnings explores this very question.  If you had asked me this question years ago in high school I would have made a snap judgment and said no. Shamefully, as a high school student, I would have scoffed at the idea of a fellow classmate pursuing an education in cosmetology or culinary arts. Some how I thought that such an educational route was unlikely to meet with a successful future. I suppose that my opinions were largely affected by the importance that society places on obtaining degrees and how society devalues the earning of certificates for post high school education. Plus, pursuing a vocational route after high school wasn’t the norm, and, being in the minority, it led me to believe it was not a wise course to take in life.

My judgments in high school are unfounded. I learned from the article that those who earn certificates frequently earn more than those who have earned associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. In fact, the earning of a certificate often paves way to obtaining these degrees.

The information in this article is more in line with the opinions I hold about higher education now. I believe that society has become so preoccupied with sending their kids to four-year universities to earn degrees that they have failed to consider other alternatives that can produce equal if not more desirable effects. Going to a university is not the only route to success and I do not think that obtaining such degrees guarantees the highest paying jobs. In holding these opinions, I think the earning of certificates should be considered post-secondary education.

If society could shift its gears and recognize other routes to successful employment and income, I think we’d see a lot more high school graduates pursuing education in fields they are passionate about.

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