This is the second blog in our series, What to Do After School: Starting a Secure, Life-long Career. Last week, we examined why IT certification training is a great option for high school grads who aren’t sure that pursuing a college degree is right for them. But what about those who did not complete their high school education and don’t have a GED? Certification training fills a vital role for these individuals as well.
Career Prospects with No GED
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for occupations requiring no formal credential was $23,480 in 2017. That’s significantly lower than $37,690, the median annual wage for all occupations. The BLS also notes that workers who don’t hold a high school diploma are the lowest earners on average, at just $504 median earnings per week.
Additionally, the unemployment rate for Americans without a high school diploma or GED is the highest of any of the educational categories at 7.4%. Combined with low wages on a weekly basis, that puts those with no GED in a precarious position. Making ends meet on low wages is already a challenge, but if they should become unemployed they won’t have any savings to fall back on.
That’s why it’s so important for those who did not complete high school to get additional education that can open up new, more stable career prospects that will offer a higher salary.
Career Training is Often a Better Option than College
While many colleges require a GED to enroll, most trade schools do not. This can be hugely beneficial for those who have not completed high school, as they will not have to go back and complete a GED before they can start training.
Career schools like LeaderQuest also offer a much faster timeline from beginning training to completing credentials and being able to start a career. While most degree-granting institutions require 2-4 years of study, a trade school can have students job-ready in a matter of months.
In addition to this, many colleges offer little in the way of career services support. After completing your degree, it’s up to you to market yourself and find a position in the working world. At LeaderQuest, it’s our No. 1 goal to make sure that each graduate finds work in their field. We offer one-on-one Career Services support for each graduate. This includes resume help, interviewing practice, job hunting tips — plus all the connections we have with local IT employers often looking to hire.
Certifications are in High Demand
According to the BLS, employment for computer support specialists is growing at 10%, faster than average for all occupations. While some employers may seek a degree, others are looking primarily for relevant certifications like CompTIA A+, Security+ and Network+. As the BLS puts it: “Certification validates the knowledge of and best practices required by computer support specialists.”
Burning Glass found that one in five entry-level IT roles require the CompTIA A+ certification.
“Employers value these in-demand certifications so much that they are willing to pay a higher salary for them. All of these door-opener certifications carry sizable net salary premiums, independent of skill, experience, education, other certification requirements, occupation, and wage levels for the industry and MSA.”
“This salary premium is particularly notable because certifications usually demand less investment compared to degree credentials, such as an associate’s degree. For instance, A+ certification requires a $200 fee and an average of six weeks of preparation time to pass the exam. Yet A+ certification commands a 5% salary premium, more than half as much as the average premium for IT workers with a two-year associate’s degree (9%). So in this area, certification can be an alternative for job seekers for whom acquiring more formal education is not a viable option.”
IT Training at LeaderQuest
Our Computer User Support Specialist program is designed for those who have no prior experience in IT. This program trains students for four industry-standard certifications, including ITIL, CompTIA A+ (in two parts), CompTIA Security+, and CompTIA Network+. Each course takes five days of full time instruction, or ten days if taken on our evening schedule for students with full-time jobs or other commitments. After completing the courses, students take advantage of the resources and practice tests that LeaderQuest provides to help them study and prepare for the exams.
Each campus has an Instructor Mentor that’s available for one-on-one support while studying for exams. Our online Learning Portal is full of resources and tools designed to help students master the material not just so that they can pass the exam, but so that they are fully prepared to take on a job role using these skills. We want to make sure that our students have every advantage and are fully prepared when the time comes for them to take the exam and earn that certification.
After classes are complete, graduates work with our Career Services team to help them start their career. Each campus has one or more Employment Development Managers that work with students to perfect their resume, help them successfully apply to jobs in the area, and get them ready to interview successfully and get that job offer. Our Career Services team also helps to create a network of local Employer Partners who have a regular need to hire IT workers. When possible, we connect our students with job opportunities from our Employer Partners to help them get hired quickly.
Ready to Learn More?
If you’re interested in learning more about training options at LeaderQuest, fill out the form below and we’ll contact you with more information.