Meet Nailah! This Accelerated Pathways student is an aspiring teacher with a passion for instruction and student engagement. However, she previously struggled to finish her bachelor’s degree at a traditional four-year college while trying to balance the demands of a full-time job.
Thankfully, with the flexibility of Accelerated Pathways, she’s now on her way to finishing her degree, earning her teacher’s certificate and changing the world!
Check out our interview with Nailah to learn more about her inspiring story.
What made you choose Accelerated Pathways?
The program really stood out because it’s designed for people like me, who need the flexibility of an accredited program. Since my degree program is self-paced, I don’t have the pressure to take on more than I can handle. It fits into my life with work, but it also doesn’t take exceptionally long to finish and graduate.
Why did you decide to major in Psychology?
I’m fascinated with the “why” behind human behavior. There’s always an origin to behavior—whether good or bad. When I see the world from that perspective, I feel it allows me to be more patient and gracious. I knew that going to school to understand the way the mind works and how it ties into behavior would only make me a better teacher.
How’s your education helping with your career and life goals?
Going back to school has given me a boost of confidence – not only in the workplace, but also in my personal life. I would never tell anyone that going back to school is the easiest thing to do, but—my goodness—has it been worth it!
In the workplace, I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned in a lot of my classes, especially in the way that I show up for my team professionally. I’ve learned how to celebrate myself, how to better prioritize my time, how to better manage my mental health and how to give my best—even when I don’t feel like it.
How’s your experience with the Accelerated Pathways team?
I have nothing but amazing things to say about every person I’ve encountered. They are exceptionally supportive, and I can tell that they truly want to see me succeed. They’ve gone above and beyond to help me be the best that I can be—cheering me on from the very beginning—from monthly meetings with my advisor to having access to the Student Support team. Accelerated Pathways has offered me more support than I’ve ever gotten at a traditional four-year university.
How soon until you finish your degree?
I started Accelerated Pathways only having enough credits to classify as a sophomore. Now, I’m proud to say that I have three classes left before graduation! On top of that, I’ve made the Dean’s List every term at my graduating institution. This is really the biproduct of having the best support system with this program that I could ask for. Every step of this journey has been filled with the most incredible people!
Any post-graduation plans? What’s next?
After graduation, I plan to study for my teaching certification exam. I’m excited about the potential future of being an educator. Hopefully, I’ll be in the classroom soon – helping to shape futures! I’m looking forward to that full-circle moment, when I can see how the puzzle pieces truly come together from start to finish.
Any advice you’d give to others wanting to pursue a degree?
Just do it! Push through the fear of what it’ll be like or even the fear of not being successful because I’m here to tell you that it is more than possible, and I can guarantee that you will have the best cheerleaders with this program. You are capable of so much, especially with the right support system!
We totally agree! Thinking of joining Nailah and thousands of other working adults in pursuing your educational goals? You’ll be amazed at how easy we make it to earn a degree completely debt-free! Learn more today.
Student loan borrowers in the United States currently owe a whopping $1.75 trillion in student loan debt! As the costs of college continue to increase and more students get stuck in the debt trap, many are looking for new ways to afford a degree.
Luckily, there are alternatives. In fact, 94% of Accelerated Pathways’ students graduate completely debt-free!
Check out these top 3 ways you can avoid student loan debt and get a head-start in life.
1. Choose an affordable degree
With so many college options available today, there are more opportunities to reduce the costs of college while still getting a high-quality education. For example, choosing an online degree program can cut the most significant costs of traditional college like campus fees, equipment charges, textbooks, etc.
At Accelerated Pathways, we offer low-cost online courses that are regionally accredited. That means you can easily transfer your credit and graduate from your college of choice while saving a ton of money. Our academic advisors can find affordable degree paths for any educational goal. They create custom side-by-side degree comparisons to help students see which degree plan is most affordable and find ways to graduate completely debt-free.
2. Work while studying
Working full-time or part-time while attending college is another great way to avoid student loan debt. If you can pay for college as you go, instead of taking out loans to pay off large lump sums, then you’ll be way ahead of the game.
Working while studying is also a lot easier if you’re taking self-paced, online courses. We give students the flexibility to study around their work schedule—anytime, anywhere. You can also start courses whenever it’s convenient for you, instead of having to wait for a semester start date or course schedule.
Before you know it, all your hard work will pay off because, once you earn your degree, you can qualify for a promotion, a new job or higher pay. The difference is now you don't have to pay off student loans with your earnings or spend decades recovering your opportunity cost.
3. Take advantage of your employer’s tuition assistance
Did you know that many employers provide educational benefits as a way to help their employees earn a degree? This is an excellent way to subsidize your education and avoid student loan debt.
If you’re planning to work while attending college, then consider getting a job with an employer who offers tuition reimbursement assistance. On average, companies provide around $6,000 per employee per year.
We started Accelerated Pathways because we believe college shouldn’t be a debt sentence. Our goal is to help students find the most flexible, affordable degree path possible and graduate completely debt-free.
Ready to learn your options and avoid the student loan trap? We’re here for you! Check out our easy degree pricing.
Your test is tomorrow. You’ve been trying to study for three hours now. So far… you’ve made two snacks, checked your phone 12 times, folded one pile of laundry and made a cool little beat on your desk.
Stop procrastinating and try these six ways to get motivated to study.
1. Change your location
Switch it up! You’ve been dragging your lifeless body back and forth to the same spot where you plopped your laptop – only to find your place in your textbook and then immediately lose motivation again.
Unplug that laptop and take it to a new location! How about a good coffee shop, outdoor patio, local library or even just another room in your house or building?
Sometimes all you need is a good scene shift to get your head in the right study space.
2. Share your new knowledge
Learning gives you new material for conversations, posts, jokes and texts. Try to stay motivated by thinking of ways you can share your newfound knowledge.
Imagine posting your silly side thoughts, like:
“Wow, just read in my history textbook that Alexander the Great was accidentally buried alive. I think I’m cool with just being average now.”
You did the work, now you get a reward – yay! Just think… what rewards motivate you?
Is there something reasonable that you can gift yourself after a good study session? Maybe a new song on iTunes? Every time you finish reading 20 pages, you get to download one new song. Yeee… dance party!
You know that one subject that bores you out of your mind? Time to go the opposite direction and pretend to love it… obsessively!
Here’s you doing your biology homework now:
“Oh wow! You mean to tell me that cultured cells expressing proteins of interest are actually allowed to take up radioactively labeled amino acids for a brief interval or “pulse”? How am I’m just now finding this out?! What else happens during the pulse-chase protocol? I must find out!”
Embrace that nerd energy—no matter how forced or sarcastic. It might just be the key to psyching out your mind, and, hey, maybe you’ll actually become obsessed with the subject. Worth a try!
6. Remember why you wanted to study
Flashback to a younger, more idealistic you—fresh as a spring breeze and ready to fill your intellect with knowledge. Your future is looking bright and sunny… uh oh, wait… flash forward to now…
You’re on your third exam and second term paper for the week, plus your job just called you in for an extra shift. How are you ever going to finish everything?! Your body is weary and physically craving that vacation you went on in 2018.
Look… school is crazy tough. But try to remember why you wanted to study. You know it’ll lead to brighter horizons, more personal development, greater opportunities and new connections.
You don’t want to work that terrible customer service job for the rest of your life... do you? Didn’t think so! So, just remember why you’re learning and go hit those books.
At Accelerated Pathways, we’re here to cheerlead you the whole way through your studies. Your personal academic coach is always just a chat away and ready to make sure you’re motivated, on target and meeting your life goals.
Want to knock out your gen ed courses in an easy, supportive, flexible way and still graduate from the college of your choice? Click here to find out how.
If you landed a job as an intern – congrats! Internships are an excellent way to jumpstart your career.
Not only can you gain hands-on experience in your field of interest, but you’ll also get a chance to grow your professional network and build your resume. Better yet, 37% of interns end up getting hired full-time by the organization.
With such an important opportunity to build your livelihood, you’ll want to do a stellar job. Here are seven tips to help you rock your internship!
1. Research before starting
You’ve done the initial research to get the internship – great job! Now take it a step further. Try to learn anything you can about the line of work, company background, leaders and even industry jargon and insider terms. Knowing what all those acronyms mean can come in handy. Check out the latest industry news, blogs or trade magazines and look up definitions as you go. It might even be a good idea to ask your internship supervisor if there are specific materials you can review prior to getting started.
2. Communicate and network
You may feel nervous about being a rookie in a new workplace. Don’t use that as an excuse to be a wall flower! Get in there and communicate, ask questions and build relationships. Show your colleagues that you’re interested in them and motivated to learn. Start conversations by asking about the business or the industry news you’ve been reading. You’re there to learn, so open conversations with the spirit of inquiry.
Build as many relationships as possible and be sure to add your new colleagues to your professional networks, like LinkedIn. Breaking into a new industry can be more about who you know than what you know, so meet as many people as possible. When it comes time to find a full-time job, you’ll have that much more support.
3. Show initiative
Volunteer for as many projects as you can and show your eagerness to help out. Don’t overextend yourself too much, but definitely look for ways to demonstrate that you have the passion and motivation to succeed. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on your assignments or request feedback about your performance. This shows a willingness to reflect on your work and make the changes necessary to succeed. Remember, your internship is an opportunity to prove your capabilities. Be a go-getter while you’re there!
4. Be Punctual
Don Marquis famously said, “Punctuality is one of the cardinal business virtues.” You may be a busy student with lots of personal obligations just trying to fit in an internship. Remember though, you’re building your professional reputation. Being on time is huge. This is how others will interpret your dedication, commitment, self-discipline, organizational skills, time management skills, credibility and other key markers of professionality. Being on time seems like an easy task – but don’t take it for granted! Plan ahead, stay mindful, complete assignments by their deadline and—most of all—show up on time.
5. Look professional
Dress codes can vary widely by workplace. Even if your internship is in an environment where people show up in sweats and sneakers, avoid the urge to be as casual. It’s better to err on the side of overdressed rather than underdressed—even if it’s just for Zoom meetings. Appropriate etiquette is a sign of common courtesy and respect, especially for newcomers. A professional wardrobe can get you farther than you realize. If you have to buy a few new outfits, it’ll be worth the cost down the road as you enter your field as a professional.
6. Temper expectations
Expectations can be a tricky thing when you’re first entering a profession. You may have one idea of what your industry or role as an intern will be like, then get there and it’s completely different. Or maybe the supervisor only gives you mundane tasks. We’ve all heard horror stories of interns being treated like errand runners or coffee fetchers. Try to stay humble and flexible. Remember that even if you don’t gain a ton of knowledge, you’ll still be making important connections and getting a foot in the door. This can be worth just as much—if not more—than learning about your profession in a classroom setting.
7. Say thank you
It can be hard to stay thankful when you’re doing unpaid work. Try to keep in mind that the organization is also putting in the effort to take on someone with little experience. Interns can be a sink on their resources and time, so be sure to remain grateful for the opportunity. After your internship, it’s an excellent idea to send a handwritten thank you card to anyone who assisted or influenced you. Gestures of gratitude can go a long way in building lasting professional relationships. Ultimately, it can lead to an opportunity when a new position opens up and you’re remembered for your graciousness.
Okay, parents… take a deep breath. We know you’re stressed just thinking about prepping your kiddo for college. You’ve got tons of questions and may not even know where to start.
We’re here to help!
We sat down with the experts from our Central Registrar’s Office to get the good intel for you. Check out their answers to some of your most frequently asked questions.
How important is choosing a major before going to college?
The sooner your kid can choose, the better.
Students who know their major early on have less chance of switching tracks later (which can end up being a huge time and money sink). Therefore, it’s a great idea to have them test out a few majors before starting college.
Students should look for any type of mentorship, internship or job shadowing opportunity available. Not only will this help them test out their ideas about what they want to do, but it can also help them build up experience for their college application. Internships.com can be a great place to start.
Pro tip: Be sure to ask experts in their field specifically about credentials needed to be in that industry.
How do I count the cost of college?
This isn’t an easy thing to do. There’s housing, tuition, fees, graduation expenses and more. Add on scholarships and other forms of aid, and the process can get confusing very quickly.
The government website college scorecard is a good place to check. It was created to bring transparency to college costs. In addition, every college is required to have its own cost-to-attendance calculator on its website. However, some of these calculators are more accurate than others. Check out other free tools like College Aid Pro and College Data, which can offer alternate ways to calculate costs.
Remember to think through every cost carefully, including:
College application fees
Fees (many campus programs have fees for health insurance, shots, bus programs, parking, etc.)
Room & board
Parsing out living expenses can be especially difficult, and this is where most of the unexpected costs can occur, especially for items like wardrobe, toiletries, smart devices, household items and other often overlooked expenses. Try to factor in everything you can think of, including a budget for emergencies.
Could you explain financial aid?
Financial aid can mean scholarships, work-study programs, loans, grants—basically, anything that helps you pay for college. To apply, you’ll need to access your tax docs and other financial forms, as much of it correlates to your income and assets.
Be sure to start the financial aid application process early—at least a year prior to your kid starting college.
Here are the types of aid you’ll want to check out:
Most students start with FASFA. This stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and it’s basically just that—an application for federal aid only. Your tax information will determine eligibility for various levels of federal financial aid. This can include student loans, work-study programs, scholarships, state grants and the Federal Pell Grant.
The Federal Pell Grant is money you don’t have to pay back. It’s a need-based award, and most low-income households can qualify. There’s a College Navigator tool you can use to understand awards based on income levels. StudentAid.gov also has calculations you can use.
Scholarships are a great way to pay for college. Every student should apply, even if they might not qualify. You can find federal scholarships through studentaid.gov; private scholarships through websites like Fastweb.com, scholarships.com or Scholarship America; and university scholarships through each university’s website.
There are two basic types of scholarships: merit-based and need-based. Merit-based scholarships are awarded due to your abilities or talents. Need-based scholarships are awarded on your family or socio-economic background, for example, if the student’s parents were veterans.
It can take years to build out qualifications for scholarships, so be sure to start looking into them early.
Work-study programs provide jobs to students, allowing them to earn money to help pay for education. Students can qualify for work-study programs through FASFA, but individual schools may also have their own work-study programs. This can be a great way to earn experience and mitigate college costs, even if it’s just working to cover one expense, like room and board.
Tuition assistance from employers
Employer education benefits—also known as tuition assistance programs—are benefits provided by an employer to compensate employees (and sometimes their dependents) for learning. This can be a great way to subsidize education.
On average, companies provide around $6,000 per employee per year. If you have a job, ask if they offer tuition assistance, including for your children. If your kid wants to work during college, they can purposefully seek out companies with good employer education benefits to help cover tuition costs.
How do I prepare my kid for college?
Think of a college application like a resume. Instead of a hiring manager, the application goes before a school review committee. This committee is looking for the right person who will be successful in their program. They’re also wondering, “Who’s going to make us look good as an institution?” Graduation rates are important to schools, so they want to know who will stay committed.
To prepare your kid for this type of scrutiny, start thinking about meaningful activities they can participate in to build a picture of who they are. Have them take electives in high school that’ll match with the degree major they want to apply. Also, think of ways your kid can improve their communication skills. This will help at every stage—from their written application to the interview process and then throughout college.
Of course, the college admissions process differs depending on whether your student is applying to a four-year college, community college, technical school or non-traditional online college like Accelerated Pathways.
How is Accelerated Pathways different?
1. We help you shop for the right college.
We provide all the tools you need to make the most informed and effective college choice possible.
First, we do the college research for you... for free. Our academic counselors are experts at conducting an intensive research process of thousands of schools to find the right college programs that match each student’s individual goals and circumstances.
Then, we give you a custom College Options Report. This shows a side-by-side comparison of the colleges and degree programs that best fit your major, schedule, budget, prior credit and more.
You’ll be able to compare college options in a way that other institutions don’t provide.
2. We find ways to significantly reduce the cost of college.
Did you know that most universities allow you to transfer in up to three years of college credit? We help students maximize this opportunity.
How? By offering low-cost, general education courses that are guaranteed to transfer to your target college. Our courses cost 36% less than the national average and are regionally accredited—the most widely accepted accreditation.
This allows students to earn college credit in an affordable, flexible, online environment and then transfer it seamlessly to their university to finish out their degree.
What’s the worst college advice?
When parents say to their kids, “Go to this college because I went there.”
We understand this urge but warn parents that it shuts down the student’s exercise of thinking through their own academic path. You’ll want your kid to figure out the options that best suit their specific life goals. The more they engage in the process of choosing a college, the more likely they’ll be to stay committed once they attend.
What’s the best college advice?
“When you go to college, go with purpose.”
College shouldn’t be something that just happens to your kid. That’s when all the traps start and they end up unmotivated, in a five-year or longer program, shifting around majors, taking off semesters or even dropping out. That’s also how they miss out on opportunities and scholarships—by ending up too late in the process.
Make sure your kid is part of the process of planning, asking for things they want, talking to people, creating relationships and being purposeful about what they’re doing.
Ever worked in the customer service industry? If so, you’ve probably collected a few not-so-fun stories about your customer interactions.
A recent Buzzfeed article went viral when one writer shared her workplace horror story. The response was overwhelming—prompting others to pitch in with their own sordid tales of dealing with annoying and abusive customers.
For example, one dissatisfied customer spit out his chewed food into a service worker’s hand. Another customer was upset that they couldn’t return an article of blood-soaked clothing. Or how about the poor gas station attendant who described the awful mess a customer left him in the bathroom?
While some of these stories may be entertaining… let’s be real. Working in customer service can be a painful experience. It’s a tough job that usually needs to be performed under stressful, understaffed, underpaid, underappreciated and overworked conditions. Many who do the work are there strictly out of necessity—just paying the bills—not enjoyment.
What can be even more infuriating is society telling you, “If you don’t like it, then quit,” or “Just figure out what you love to do and then do it.” *Cringe* That type of sentiment may seem well-intentioned, but it’s usually completely detached from the financial reality most service workers face.
So, how can you quit your hated job?
Hey, we’re not here to tell you it’ll be easy to just throw in the towel and start a better career. However, we would like to help you take realistic steps to get there.
1. Sign up for just one or two online college classes
Sign up for just one or two online college courses that you can complete around your shifts at work. This will automatically move your life in a better direction. And since you won’t be living on campus or paying high tuition fees, you won’t need to apply for hefty student loans. You can just pay for your courses as you go.
In addition, many service industry employers offer their employees tuition assistance. We can help you figure out how to qualify for it and take advantage of your employee benefits to earn a low- to no-cost degree.
But what if I never finished high school? That’s okay! We can help you earn your GED first.
2. Get an internship where you want to work
Whether you’re interested in working in marketing, accounting, environmental justice, IT, engineering or any other area, internships are a fantastic way to get your foot in the door. Know of a specific place you’d like to work? Sometimes it’s just a matter of reaching out to them, telling them you’re a student and asking for an internship.
While you may have to put in a few unpaid hours of work, internships can help you earn college credit, make great connections and gain hands-on experience. Not only that, if you make a good impression and show your value, they may end up hiring you!
3. Develop a great student resume
You know the battle. You need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience. It’s a conundrum many students face when trying to start their careers. Luckily, even without prior job experience, you can still create an impactful student resume that gets employers’ attention.
For example, adding a section for “Relevant Experience” instead of “Work Experience” on a resume allows you to highlight your internship, volunteer work, leadership experience, extracurricular activities or any other related training you can think of to compensate for your lack of workplace experience.
Need help getting started? At Accelerated Pathways, we’re experts at getting busy, working adults where they want to go. It’s absolutely free to chat with our supportive academic advisors, so why not learn about your options today? Get started here.
Longer droughts, stronger heatwaves, more destructive storms—these are just some of the devastating impacts climate change is already having on our environmental, economic and social systems.
To address the crisis, the US Senate recently passed a landmark climate bill (Inflation Reduction Act) that will boost the green energy industry and remake parts of the US economy. An analysis commissioned by the BlueGreen Alliance found that clean energy investments resulting from the bill will create more than 9 million new jobs over the next decade.
What jobs will the new climate bill create?
Research shows that the new climate bill will create five million new green jobs from investments in clean energy, 900,000 in clean manufacturing, 900,000 in efficient buildings, 600,000 in natural infrastructure, 400,000 in clean transportation and 150,000 in environmental justice.
Based on each of these job growth categories, we’ve outlined several green jobs that are likely to see higher demand by 2030.
More solar and wind energy engineers will be needed to support the increase in clean energy demand. Solar engineers work on solar panels, solar-powered devices, telecommunications and heating/air conditioning systems, whereas wind energy engineers work to develop aviation, mechanics or wind turbines and collector structures for wind farms.
A bachelor’s degree or higher is required for these roles, usually in majors such as energy engineering, manufacturing engineering, chemistry or civil engineering. While these can be demanding subjects of study, the compensation is typically worth it—with an average annual salary for solar and wind engineers at around $95,000.
Manufacturing and Construction
Manufacturing positions like operating technicians, warehouse operators, line supervisors and machine operators will be needed to process new manufacturing for green technology like solar panels, wind turbines and electric vehicles, plus the parts, labels and packaging involved. Construction workers will also be needed to install these new clean energy buildings, grids and infrastructure.
While many manufacturing and construction jobs do not require a college degree, some training and certifications may be necessary to obtain certain roles. However, there are frequently entry-level positions with good benefits and union membership for those who want to start from the ground up.
Sustainability landscape designers, infrastructure engineers, green architects and other green workers will be needed to design, construct and administer new landscape, building and infrastructure designs compatible with the natural environment. Careers in this industry focus on creating sustainable systems that can withstand stronger storms, flooding, heat and other impacts from changing climate.
Bachelor’s degrees are required for many of these roles, and some organizations also prefer applicants to have certifications in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDS) or accreditation from the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP). Targeted skills such as proficiency with GIS, AutoCAD, knowledge of 3-D modeling programs as well as construction documentation and detailing are also a plus.
Transportation management will be key to redesigning new modes of transportation that have less harmful impacts on the environment and lower carbon emissions. Transport planners, transportation managers and transport engineers will all be needed to handle the logistics, design, management and cooperation of transportation upgrades. Not only do these roles actively work toward sustainability in the transport industry, but they also help to reduce transport costs through planning optimization
Good technical and problem-solving skills are needed for these roles, as well as the ability to communicate and collaborate on large-scale projects involving many moving people and parts. Transportation managers and planners tend to gain an education in supply chain management, logistics or other related fields. A passion for sustainability and pro-activity is a plus.
Environmental justice is a complex field that requires a specialized understanding of environmental issues, laws, regulations, institutions and organizations. Environmental lawyers, paralegals, compliance officers, policy administrators and other roles will need to be filled to ensure compliance with changing environmental laws, especially in the areas of water, gas, oil and energy.
While many of these careers require law degrees, there are roles for individuals interested in entry-level positions, such as organizing, activism, advocating and more. If you’re passionate about enforcing environmental policies or enacting new legislation that benefits future generations, then environmental justice might be a good career fit for you.
How much would each of these choices actually cost you? And how can each decision impact your finances, career and life?
Check out what we found!
1. Going to college on loans
Let’s say you go off to college, graduate and find a decent job. You're making good money and doing pretty well for yourself. That's the dream, right?
But what did college actually cost you? And how will it affect your finances after graduation?
By the time you graduate and get a job, you'll have roughly $41,000 in student loans. That's assuming you pay the average tuition costs, get an amazing federal loan package with interest rates at 3.76%, get $30,000 in grants and scholarships and you've saved $16,000 before even starting college.
But what about not getting a degree?
2. Skipping college altogether
What if you decided to get a job right out of high school—maybe as a server? Let's assume you're one of the 25% of servers in Houston, Texas who makes $39,000 a year.
After taxes and cost of living, you would have made roughly $81,000 as a server instead of racking up $41,000 in student loan debt. That means you missed out on a whopping $123,000 in opportunity cost.
So, how long will it take for your degree to recover $123,000 in opportunity cost?
Let's go back to the first scenario to compare.
Let’s say you graduate college on loans and get a great entry level marketing job making $51,000 a year. Your degree is already starting to pay off. Except, all other things being equal, you'd be over 40 years old before you recover the full $123,000 opportunity cost from not working as a server.
So, 20 years of debt just to get a better job, and you actually paid $60,000 for the original $41,000 loan. That's over $18,000 just in interest! And don’t forget you already paid the $16,000 dollars you had in savings.
The stark reality is that student loans are way more expensive than lenders and colleges want you to believe.
But what if you could go to college without loans?
3. Working while taking online courses
Let's go back to the example of working as a server. You're making $39,000 a year, but then you also decide to make a lot of sacrifices. Maybe you live with your parents and take online college courses around your shifts at work.
Now, it would still cost money to get your degree. But since you wouldn't be living on campus or paying high tuition fees, you wouldn't have to take out any student loans. You'd just be paying for your courses as you go.
All your hard work would pay off because, after graduation, you get that same great entry-level marketing job making $51,000 a year. The difference is, now you don't have to pay off student loans or spend decades recovering your opportunity cost.
So compared to where you’d end up in scenario 1 or 2, you’d have $135,000 extra! That's a lot of additional money by the time you’re 40 years old. Almost enough for a house in some parts of the country.
Which option should you choose?
Here's the thing: education is important. But, 20 years is a long time for it to pay off and missing out on thousands in earnings because you’re paying off debt is ridiculous!
So, before taking out a ton of student loans, you should evaluate your options and look for ways to attend college without going into debt.
That’s why we started Accelerated Pathways.
We believe college shouldn’t be a debt sentence. Our goal is to help students stuck in the debt zone graduate from college—and graduate debt-free.
If you’re willing to use the power of online education to avoid the student loan trap, we’re here for you.
Nothing is worse than feeling like you’re stuck in a dead-end job. Eventually you start to see the warning signs add up. Your ideas are consistently ignored. You don’t feel valued. There’s no clear career pathway to advance, learn or grow.
Sadly, millions of workers feel this way every year, leading them to burn out and quit their jobs.
Pew Research found that 63 percent of employees who left their jobs in 2021 cited “lack of career advancement” as a primary reason. Employees who don’t see a clear progression from their current role to a better position ultimately turn to opportunities outside of their organization.
Employee retention correlates to upward mobility
Studies have shown that employers who don’t offer advancement opportunities for workers find difficulty in both hiring and retaining talent—not to mention in maintaining a happy staff and positive work culture. In a recent SocialTalent survey, the majority of HR leaders indicated “career growth opportunity” as the key motivation for employee engagement and retention.
Advancement opportunities are especially important to hourly and low-wage workers. According to study by WorkStep, frontline workers highly prioritize their career growth. However, upward mobility is becoming harder to achieve as the US economy faces decades of rising inequality, stagnating wages and a shrinking middle class. As a result, this essential segment of the workforce tends to see more burnout and higher turnover.
In response, many organizations have made retention a core strategy, particularly since the start of the Great Resignation. Most business leaders recognize the strong correlation between the upward mobility of workers and their organization’s business goals (see graph below). It makes both financial and operational sense to retain employees rather than replace them, and employees with higher seniority tend to be more experienced and productive.
Employers rate perceived impact of upward mobility practices on the company’s competitiveness
But while most business leaders understand the importance of promoting from within, many fall short of their set goals. Those who do succeed tend to prioritize employee advancement by implementing meaningful programs, educational opportunities, clear career pathways and specific internal goals (for example, 60% of managers will be promoted from within).
Ways to prioritize employee advancement
Employers need to be able to show their workers the long game right from the beginning. This means mapping out what careers could look like for new employees and then providing the framework to keep them learning, growing and advancing.
Below are several best practices that top organizations follow to help their workers navigate internal career pathways:
1. Clearly document career advancement pathways
Develop clear information about pathways to advancement within the organization. Human resources can look for measures and controls for career advancement and then develop documentation with standards that are fair and transparent. Criteria used to assess employee promotion to the next level should be easily accessible to staff at all levels.
2. Prioritize and communicate internal advancement
Prioritize promotion from within by clearly communicating the availability of advancement pathways and new job opportunities. Supervisors can also reach out directly to workers who may be targeted for promotion or be a good fit for a specific position. Overall, employees should be well-informed and fully aware of the advancement options open to them.
3. Provide training and education benefits programs
Educational program curricula should make clear the connection between training and the company’s internal career advancement pathways. Workers should know what to expect after completing the training (for example, how the training is linked to a raise or a promotion). This not only helps the employee; employers can significantly lower costs of recruiting and gain positive long-term outcomes by upskilling their workforce.
4. Employ staff whose specific function is to support career advancement
Supportive supervisors play an important role in encouraging advancement within an organization. However, many companies have found that employing additional staff dedicated to helping workers achieve their career goals can be far more beneficial. A point person, such as a career navigator or mentor, can focus solely on assisting workers to determine what training is most appropriate for their career goals. They can also help to find funding (whether employer contribution, loans or grants) to pay for that training.
The American Dream is tied to the idea of upward mobility, no matter where you started in life. Millions of workers are still seeking this dream, even as it becomes harder for many to achieve. As a result, organizations that prioritize employee advancement will continue to see higher retention and more productivity.
At Accelerated Pathways, we help organizations identify and launch innovative career pathing and educational programs to advance their employees and prepare for the future of work. Ready to offer your workforce more opportunities to learn and grow? Learn about our programs.