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Missouri: Show me the career education

In 2010, 70 percent of jobs in Missouri required no career education beyond high school. For 2011 and 2012, economists at the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) estimate that for the 155,000 projected job openings, most will likely require post-secondary career training and education. Twenty-two percent will likely require a minimum of an associate degree, if not a bachelor's, master's, doctorate or professional licensure.

Colleges and Universitiesin Missouri

Career education matters in Missouri

Like elsewhere in the U.S., an aging population has fueled demand for health care services, while an increasingly global economy has prompted more people to seek additional education in such areas as information technology, economics and entrepreneurship.

As a result, careers in these areas are on the rise, and those who seek health care and post-secondary education jobs are hitting the books in record numbers at Missouri colleges, universities, trade schools and other institutions of higher education.

The good news is that going to college generally pays off. While vocational training alone doesn't necessarily boost one's earning power in Missouri, once a person attains an associate degree, the pay grade steadily rises from there.

MERIC reported the following entry-level and average wages by level of education for 2008:

  • Vocational degree: $25,178 and $36,840
  • Associate degree: $31,385 and $45,687
  • Bachelor's degree: $36,635 and $57,467
  • Bachelor's degree, plus work experience: $46,977 and $79,793
  • Master's degree: $38,438 and $57,753
  • Doctoral degree: $39,923 and $65,480
  • First professional degree: $88,609 and $141,166

For 2010 wages in Missouri, visit MERIC's occupational employment and wage estimates page.

According to U.S.News and World Reports, at the University of Missouri-Columbia, the most popular degree programs for 2011 undergraduates were the following:

  • Business
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Communications
  • Journalism

The school's journalism school consistently ranks well, including April 2011 Associated Press accolades for sports writing, and a National Research Council 2010 doctoral program assessment that put it in the same class as the venerable University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Career training targets employers

Many career schools tailored toward those seeking additional training--or perhaps a career change--have adapted their offerings to meet both job seekers' and employers' urgent needs. For instance, St. Louis Community College offers "accelerated job training" in the areas of environmental and green services, health care, information technology, business applications and technical training.

College attendance is up in Missouri and with good reason: Employers need skilled workers to meet the changing demands of the world economy.

The bigger picture

According to 2011 data released by the National Center for Education Statistics for the 2008 - 2009 academic year, nationwide, 1.6 million bachelor's degrees awarded. They were mostly concentrated in the following disciplines:

  • business, 22 percent
  • social sciences and history, 11 percent
  • health sciences, 7.5 percent
  • education, 6.4 percent

At the master's degree level, education and business topped the list with 179,000 and 168,000 degrees, respectively. Doctorate degrees went primarily to the fields of health professions and related clinical sciences with degrees numbering 12,100. In the fields of education, engineering, biological and biomedical sciences, psychology and physical sciences, another 34,400 degrees were granted.

Author: Mary Butler has been a writer and editor for more than a decade. She is currently studying to be a secondary English teacher at the University of Colorado, where she has taught writing and rhetoric and recently completed a master's degree in Communication.

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