What’s the ROI of your education costs?

Think about it: when you invest in updating your skills and knowledge, you make yourself more marketable in the workplace. That’s true for nearly every class, program, or training opportunity you undertake. But some options cost more than others. And some have different returns-on-investment than others.

Your job is to make sure you gain more from your training investments than you put in. Sounds complicated? It doesn’t have to be. You can get started on some light research with the three key questions below:

1. What’s the job outlook for the career or job that my training will lead to? 

Simply put, you may not want to study ski-lift repair if you’re planning to live in Florida. There may be very few job openings.

Learn about the job outlook for a career before you decide to invest in training. Get started with this Target Occupation tool from CareerOneStop. Just enter the name of a career you’re interested in, and look for the following details:

  • How many years of education does this occupation typically require?
  • How many new jobs are expected in coming years?
  • What’s the average salary?

2. What kind of skills, knowledge, and credentials are employers looking for in my field?

Take the time to target your classes and training programs to help you gain the skills you need to land a job. Discover what employers are looking for from any of these sources:

  • Talk to a career counselor at a college or training program. Ask them about placement rates for graduates.
  • Network with people who already work in the field or industry. Ask them about what’s in-demand in their field.
  • Look up job listings on CareerOneStop’s Job Search to see the types of skills, certifications, experience and other requirements that employers include
  • Visit Target Occupation to view skills, knowledge, tasks, tools and technology, and training related to any occupation.

3. How do I know a training program or school is worth the money?

Use these sources to research the value of a training program or school:

  • Visit with admissions and financial aid staff at your schools of choice. Ask about total costs, graduation rates, loan amounts, and how many graduates are employed.
  • Check to see if a school or program is accredited by visiting their website or the U.S. Department of Education’s Accreditation Search.
  • Thinking about college? Visit the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard to find out more about a college’s affordability and value so you can make more informed decisions about which college to attend.
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