Education is an expensive endeavour these days. It is definitely a plus when it comes to getting a good job. It’s one of those things where more is usually better. But not always. Let me explain.

As we all know, an education is costly. Once we have received it, we then need to become employed. What’s more, we need to become sufficiently employed that we are then able to pay for that education. The problem is, lacking actual experience, new graduates are usually forced into low-paying entry level jobs that don’t necessarily allow them to earn a sufficient living to pay for loans, housing, food, utilities and transportation.

This presents a dilemma: Education is necessary to employment, but employment won’t necessarily pay for our education.

To compound the problem, going into university, young people don’t generally have the ability to look at the job market, decide what will turn out be a good job/industry over the next forty-plus years of their working lives, and then choose a profession based upon that information. Instead, we go into college pursuing what we love or what we are good at, regardless of the market for workers in that particular field.

However, it’s never too late. More older workers are returning to college to get the right education that matches both their passions and the job market. They’ve learned significantly from their experiences and are ready to make smart choices.

One change I’ve seen is the decision to engage in a 2-year educational programme as opposed to a 4-year. Generally speaking, a two-year degree can have a better return on investment than a longer programme. There is significantly less cost involved, and often these shorter programmes are more focussed on imparting knowledge and skills specifically related to the job. A popular example would be a computer programming or design course.

Finally, whilst they are still a small portion of the total job market, scientific jobs are growing in numbers. This is especially true in green technology development. This not only means jobs in design and development, but also jobs in manufacturing and operations for green products, such as car engines, solar panels and components, and wind technology.