Everyone has an opinion on whether you need to go on after high school to make it in this world. The financial and time cost of continuing education can be steep, and the payoff is rarely immediate, and sometimes unclear. Continuing education after high school can happen in a number of different ways, ranging from trade school, certificate programs, college or university.

While the purpose of education can be more meaningful and vast than just landing a job, career preparation is a practical component of an education. A good education lays the groundwork of skills and knowledge to begin and build a career.

A look at statewide data was the first step to get an answer to the go-on question. In 2016 there were more than 88,000 job openings across the state. The jobs ranged from nursing to manufacturing, from food preparation to education. Many of these job openings have gone unfilled due to a lack of qualified applicants. Upon studying the data, the answer to the question of to go-on, or not go-on becomes clear. Going on to continue education after high school matters for the individual, and it matters for the success of our state.

The data showed that there are more job openings looking for applicants with some education or training beyond a high school diploma. The vast majority of those jobs pay more than $32,000 per year.

There were far fewer job openings for applicants with a high school diploma only. The median wages for the vast majority of those jobs was less than $32,000.

In 2016, there were 88,655 job listings posted across the state of Idaho. 30% of the jobs did not require training or education beyond a high school diploma. These jobs paid an average median wage of $25,420.

70% of jobs listed in 2016 required some training or education beyond a high school diploma. The average median wage was nearly double, at $52,353.

The data is clear. In Idaho, there are more opportunities, and compensation is higher for Idahoans who have post-secondary training. There are fewer opportunities and lower compensation for those who do not.

Students considering their options for life after high school deserve to know the reality of Idaho today. If you’re looking to expand your opportunities in the workforce or earn more money, the data clearly shows that going on to attain further education or training is the key.

Reference Cited:

Idaho Department of Labor: Idaho Occupations in Demand