Monthly Archives: August 2015

What’s Best for Your Career Path: College or Vo-Tech?

It’5FactsaboutStaffingComanpanies_July2013_webs time to break a taboo: college isn’t for everyone. For many, there’s a better—but much less advertised—option: Career Technical Education (CTE). Let’s be more specific. A four-year stay at a traditional university won’t be the best fit for everyone. College is right for many people—but certainly it’s not right for everyone.

In today’s economy, it may not be a good fit for those who want an affordable education. It may not be the best option for those who are ready to embark on a clear career path. And it’s not for those who want to enter the workforce sooner rather than later.

For those people, CTE could be the answer. Career Technical Education, previously known as vocational-technical education, provides the skills and training needed for many in-demand careers, including:

  • Mechanical Drafter
  • Welder
  • IT Technician
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Biomedical Equipment Technician
  • Legal Secretary
  • Aircraft Mechanic
  • Real Estate Appraiser

And a Career Technical Education doesn’t require thousands of dollars in loans.

It’s almost instinctual to think of a four-year college as a natural step after high school. After all, so many of our nation’s leaders, along with private organizations, urge young people to go to college. Although conventional wisdom wrongly suggests that a four-year degree is always better, it may not always be the case.

According to the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), “Career and technical education (CTE) prepares both youth and adults for a wide range of careers and further educational opportunities.” Here’s what you need to know about Career Technical Education:

  1. CTE-trained workers are in demand.
  2. CTE leads to high-paying jobs.
  3. CTE is affordable.
  4. CTE keeps businesses competitive.

The research shows it. CTE offers industry-specific training in highly skilled trades and gives students the opportunity to earn a range of credentials:

  • Postsecondary certificates
  • Certifications
  • Licenses
  • Associate degrees

So the next time you’re thinking about going back to school, consider both college and career technical education. After all, CTE may be a better fit for you.

What about you? What led you to choose college or a career technical education? Do you have any tips for others making this decision? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Peak Performer’s Life: FOCUS … Your Personal Guide to Success

walterbond_webIf you’ve ever been on an airplane, you know how quickly big things appear small. Cars look like ants, acres of land become colorful squares, and skyscrapers become miniscule. It’s amazing what a little perspective can do. Being able to see from a different perspective can make a significant difference in life, and can help you focus on the things that matter. This week on Peak Performer’s Life, Walter Bond continues his series on the importance of focus.

According to Walter:
“I believe this topic is a game changer for you. I believe this topic might be the one thing you’ve been missing all these years that can position you to be successful. ”

Check out Walter’s inspirational message below:



What are some ways you can change your perspective in your work life? In your personal life? Let us know in the comments section below.

New messages each week!
Walter Bond and Peak Performer’s Life is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals. Don’t forget to check back each Wednesday for a new message from Walter Bond! If you missed an episode of Peak Performer’s Life, visit the archive to catch up.

About Walter Bond
A former American professional basketball player, Walter Bond’s NBA career included 153 games with the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, and Detroit Pistons. Now, Walter takes what he learned from his life on the court and translates it into motivational and educational messages for thriving businesses and careers. For more information, visit

Movin’ On Up and Peak Performers Life is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Going Back to School

going_back_to_school_webIf you are considering going back to school—whether to earn a degree or learn a new skill—you need to have a plan and determine if this is the right path for you.

Hundreds of adults and other non-traditional students go back to technical school, specialized schools, colleges and universities or training programs every year.

Post-secondary education is never a poor choice, but you also have to weigh the payoff against the cost and time involved with returning to school. Additional degrees and certifications are valuable and can boost your career, but there are four questions you should ask yourself before going back to school.

  1. Is college the best path for me? For so long, people assumed college was the only path to success and that everyone needed at least a four-year degree. However, community colleges and technical schools offer associate’s degrees or specialized certification in less time that could result in more success. Welders, medical technicians, engineering, and computer technology are all offered through community college and tech schools without the time commitment of a four-year course of study. “A stable career doesn’t always require a four-year degree. Career Technical Education can deliver what so many Americans want – a promising career at an affordable price,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express Employment Professionals, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “I see who’s getting hired in the modern economy, and it’s clear that career tech can lead to not only a job, but also a successful career.”
  2. Speaking of time, do you have the ability to meet the time requirements of going back to school? Life as an adult can be packed full of work and family obligations. Be honest with yourself about your available time to read, study, or attend classes. Can you manage the stress well and will you have time to enjoy your life and family?
  3. Can you afford school? School can be expensive, but grants, student loans and programs are available to help. Loans aren’t the only option, and you may be able to take advantage of financial aid. If you don’t qualify, pay as you go, but prepare ahead of time to get a clear picture of how much you need each semester. Check to see if your company offers a tuition reimbursement program that you may qualify for. Many companies offer employees full or partial tuition reimbursement if you’re studying subjects relevant to your current position.
  4. Can you afford NOT to go back to school? Your education and investing in education could be the biggest pay off in your career. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a 25-year-old male with a bachelor’s degree earns $22,000 more in pay on average than a male with a high school diploma. If your company reimburses tuition expenses, then not taking advantage of schooling is COSTING you money. Look at the advantages to your income, lifestyle and career and make the decision wisely.

Many colleges and universities offer flexible degree programs to accommodate working adults or offer online degree and study programs. Going back to school is a big decision. For many of us working folk, juggling a job and school can be difficult, but it’s probably the best move to bolster both your education and career success.

So what do you think? Is going back to school the right choice for you? What other questions should you consider before making that choice? We’d love to hear from you.

Five Careers Worth Going Back to School For

Millenial_Poll_SummaryLate summer and fall is the traditional start of a new school year. Children around the country slip on their shiny, new backpacks and tromp off to school, ready for a new year. However, many adults may be considering slipping on their own backpack and heading to the classroom for a career change.

As the old saying goes, it’s never too late to go back to school and in today’s fluid and changing economy, going back to school may be a rewarding and lucrative choice for those already in the workplace. But what careers are worth the expense, time and effort to go back to college or technical school? You’d be surprised.

We’ve listed five fast-growing, high-paying careers that are worth going back to school. These careers not only have a hefty salary attached to them, but, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), are among the highest demanded fields as well.

Many of the most in-demand careers require only a two-year degree or certification through technical schools while others demand a bachelor’s or doctorate degree. For many, going back to school for a rewarding job certification may take as little as 18 months, while others can take four years or more.

Take a look and decide for yourself if these careers are worth going back to school for.

  1. Dentists – Those with dental degrees can expect a 16% growth in demand, and according to the BLS, the average median pay for dentists in 2012 was $149,310 per yearor $71.79 per hour. To become a dentist, you must attend an accredited dental course of study at a university or specialized school. Dental school takes four years and that’s after completing undergraduate school. Students must be able to pass written and practical exams, and dentists must be licensed in all states.
  2. Welders – The manufacturing industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S., and coupled with oil and gas booms and pipeline construction, the demand for skilled welders is incredible. The American Welding Society estimates that by 2020 there will be a shortage of 290,000 professionals, including inspectors, engineers, and teachers. Training ranges from a few weeks of technical school or on-the-job training to several years of combined technical school and on-the-job training. The average starting pay is $36,300.
  3. Meeting, Convention and Event Planners – A bachelor’s degree is often needed for this growing field, but those returning to school can also earn a Certified Meeting Professional accreditation. Average pay for event planners was $45,260 in 2010, according to the BLS, and this field is expected to grow more than 40 percent by 2022.
  4. Information Security Analysts – If you’re good with computers, this job area may be worth going back to school for. With the onslaught of cyber-attacks, information security analysts will be fought over for their ability to design security to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems. The average pay is $86,170 per yearwith an expected growth of 37 percent by 2022. You will need a bachelor’s degree and experience in a computer-related field.
  5. Physical Therapist Assistants – As the population ages, physical therapy assistants will be in high demand. According to the BLS, the need for this career will grow almost 46% by 2020. This job requires at least a two-year associate’s degree, and the average salary was $49,960 in 2010, according to the BLS.

These five careers are just the tip of the iceberg. Any career in the science, medical, technology, engineering and math fields are also in high demand.

It’s a big decision to go back to school. For those who study hard and keep their eyes on the payoff, going back to school may be the right investment into the future.

Have you considered going back to school? If so, what field are you interested in and what is holding you back? We’d love to hear from you.

How Important Is Your Education?


In today’s world, education is often the best tool for getting ahead. It can help you grow in a variety of ways—you can pursue a passion, increase your long-term income, and have the experience of a lifetime. In fact, college graduates earn more than twice as much as high school graduates. Some studies have found that college graduates with a bachelor’s degree earn 80% more per year than those with only a high school degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the more education you have, the more your average salary increases.

Although college can be expensive, and the overall student debt has increased to roughly $1 trillion, the pay gap between those with a college degree and those without is increasing yearly. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Americans with four-year college degrees made 98% more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree—that’s a number that has consistently increased since the early 1980s when it was at 64%.

Educational & Social Benefits
Making more money in your lifetime isn’t the only benefit to a college degree. There are other educational and social benefits that can be drawn from a college education.  These include:

  • Quality of Life – Individuals who attend college make informed decisions, which can also lead to having more money. Studies have shown that college grads save and make more money and have more assets, including homes, cars, and investments. People who attend college tend to work in white collar jobs, in office buildings, or other facilities with air-conditioning, heating, and conveniences that improve the quality of life. Additionally, the Council on Contemporary Families reported that college graduates are less likely to divorce.
  • Work Productivity & Opportunity – If job satisfaction is important to you, then consider pursuing a college degree. Studies have shown that people who attend college have greater work opportunities, are more satisfied at work, and tend to have skills that can be easily applied in different work settings and different geographic locations. Additionally, those who attend some college are employed at three times a higher rate than those who have not.
  • Longer & Healthier Lifespan – In addition to the income boost that comes with higher education, college grads are healthier and have longer lifespans as well. A survey by the Center for Disease Control indicates that between 1990 and 2008, the life expectancy gap between the most and least educated Americans grew from 13 to 14 years among males and from 8 to 10 years among females. Unfortunately, studies have also shown that those with less education are more likely to have risk factors that predict disease—such as smoking and obesity. Having a higher socioeconomic status (measured by total family income, level of education attained and professional career status) is directly correlated with better physical health and life expectancy.
  • Self-Esteem & Psychological Well-being – When you walk across that stage with a diploma in hand, there is a sense of pride and confidence that no one can take away from you. Not only is it a rite of passage, but you’ve accomplished something that can never be taken away. Additionally, studies conducted by the College Board have found that those who have completed some college are not only more well-equipped to handle mental challenges, but also report a higher level of satisfaction when doing so.
  • Building a Legacy – One of the best parts of a college education is passing the benefits on to your kids. Children of college-educated parents are smarter, more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to attend college, and have a better quality of life.

Diverse Opportunities
Whether it’s a bachelor’s degree from a traditional four-year college or a Career Technical School, higher education has benefits far outside of knowledge and books. Whether or not education plays the most important role in your likelihood of getting hired, there’s no doubt that taking opportunities to learn and grow in your career is a beneficial piece of the puzzle. And, you don’t necessarily have to follow a typical four-year degree path. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 14 of the 20 fastest-growing occupations in America require an associate’s degree or less. If you’re hoping to further your education without following a four-year plan, check out this article for more information.


What other benefits have you seen from attending college? Let us know in the comments section below.

Poll Summary Results: How would you prepare for a highly skilled job?

poll_results_highly_skilled_work_webWith the evolution of technology, the skills gap, or the lack of qualified workers to fill highly skilled jobs, has become a very hot topic. In fact, according to a survey by Express Employment Professionals, 53% of  employers reported difficulty filling jobs. Since many of these jobs require higher education or experience, we asked how you would prepare for a highly skilled job.

What the Survey Revealed
With 160 votes, the survey revealed that more than 60% of readers are willing to learn new skills or take courses to prepare for a highly skilled job. The results of their answers break down as follows:

  • Learn new skills through work or volunteering – 30.63%
  • Pursue higher education (college or career tech) – 30.00%
  • Find a mentor – 18.13%
  • Join an industry organization – 11.88%
  • Change careers – 5.63%
  • Other – 3.75%

Of the 3.75% who selected “Other,” responses included:

  • Network
  • Research the job and its industry
  • Short-term occupational training

Doing What It Takes
Results of the poll indicate that readers will do what it takes to help them get a highly skilled and sought-after job—exactly the type of quality that employers look for in their highly skilled workforce. To become the right candidate for these jobs, job seekers may need to explore higher education or training to sharpen their skills. Think outside the box and get that job you’ve always dreamed about. For more insight on job training, check out these articles:

Have you taken steps to prepare for a highly skilled job? Do you have any tips for others who want to take that step?  Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals