Golden Age for a Career in Medical Billing

If you are thinking about switching to a career in the medical field, medical billing and coding might be what you’re looking for. On average, medical billing and coding specialists make around $61,000 annually, with no college degree required.

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These medical specialists help healthcare providers get paid for services billed to customers of insurance companies. Read here to learn more about the day-to-day of a Medical Billing and Coding specialist.

Increased demand for healthcare services by an aging population has caused a shortage in qualified medical workers, including billing and coding specialists. For those considering a switch to healthcare, now might be a good time to get started, here is why.

Medical billing and coding specialists don’t have to go through college to work in the field

One of the biggest roadblocks people face when thinking about a career in healthcare is affording a 4 year college degree. In contrast, working as a medical billing and coding specialist requires successful completion of a certification program which can take less than a year. The entire certification process costs between $1,200 and $2,500, making it amongst the most accessible but trained medical careers.

People don’t have to worry about not finding a job if they switch careers to medical billing and coding

If you are unhappy with your current job, you are not alone. A study by The Conference Board revealed that 53 percent of employees are unhappy with their jobs. Many people stay in jobs they hate for fear of not finding an opening in a new field. As is often the case, jobs go to the candidates with the most experience. This means those who switch careers may have to fight for even the less competitive positions.

However, medical billing and coding doesn’t follow that pattern. Medical billing and coding specialists are trained to work at hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, medical laboratories, and other healthcare facilities. Most healthcare institution rely on these specialists to carry out their business, which means they will constantly need workers. The demand for specialists is growing due to an aging population and a shift to modern billing and coding practices.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that demand for medical billing and coding specialists will grow 15 percent by 2024. By comparison, average worker demand for other careers will grow only 7 percent during the same period. This means people pursuing a career in the field are much more likely to find a job.

The reason is twofold. First, the number of senior citizens is growing, which increases demand for healthcare services. Second, health providers are updating to modern billing and coding practices, replacing paper with digital records. Both have caused an above average demand for qualified professionals who have the requisite technical skills.

Medical billing and coding is a career with flexible shifts and the potential to work from home

Large healthcare providers, such as hospitals, operate 24 hours a day. As a result, there is always demand for specialists willing to cover different shifts. There are positions which require working from nine to five, but non-traditional shifts have become popular as health providers outsource their billing cycles to third parties. Extra shift flexibility means that medical billing and coding might be a good choice for people looking for a second job.

Another attractive quality of medical billing and coding as a career choice is the potential to work from home. Innovation in technology and computer programs has allowed specialists to perform their job from any place with internet connection. This means a single specialist can offer their services to several healthcare providers at the same time, increasing income.

If you are looking for a career choice with abundant growth potential, medical billing and coding might meet those requirements. For example, someone starting off as a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) can be promoted to a managerial role as employers adapt to increased customer demand.

Medical billing and coding specialists enjoy good salaries

Medical billing and coding is among the best paid jobs not to require a college degree. In general, how much money a specialist makes depend on several factors, including location, experience, employer size and certifications. However, increased demand has raised salaries as well.

In 2015, workers without a certificate made $45,000 a year, while those those with one certificate receive closer to $51,000. By 2017, those numbers had risen to $49,000 and $54,000 respectively. Medical billing and coding specialists with advanced certifications earn even more. The latest survey from the AAPC reveals that employees holding advanced credentials such as Physician Practice Manager or Professional Compliance Officer make between $65,000 and $74,000 annually.

Starting A Career In Medical Billing And Coding

If medical billing and coding sounds interesting, this position is in high demand and pays well. In the next few years, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts that job positions for medical coding and billing professionals will grow by 21 percent. However, healthcare providers have reported a shortage of qualified specialists to manage growing numbers of patients and procedures.

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These medical specialists help healthcare providers get paid for services billed to insurance companies. Salaries are about $75,000 annually for well trained specialists.

Read this article to learn more about why it’s a good time to be a Medical Billing or Coding specialist.

What Is Medical Billing And Coding?

Medical billing is the work of following up on claims and receiving payment for health insurance companies. Medical billing and coding professionals are tasked with managing payment information. They assist healthcare providers with patient data, from initial appointment through final payment. Although medical billing and coding are separate processes, they are related and often performed by the same employee.

Medical billers make sure healthcare providers are paid by billing both patients and insurance companies. To do so, they collect information about the patient, including their health coverage, personal details, medical history, and report on which procedures were performed. Medical billers compile a document commonly referred to as a “claim”, which includes all the information collected along with amounts to be paid. Claims are given to insurance companies and patients at the end of the billing process.

Medical coders on the other hand, review clinical statements and assign standard codes to each service. Procedure codes are used to standardize which procedures were performed by a healthcare provider. Medical coders use two standards, known as Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) to organize procedures into codes. Diagnosis codes describe why a particular procedure had to be performed.

A medical biller and coder is in charge of managing the entire billing cycle. They are also responsible for checking that each medical claim is compliant, which means that it has no format errors or inaccuracies. Nowadays, medical billers and coders rely on computer software to streamline the billing process. The complexity in these systems requires several technical skills. As a result, most medical billing and coding specialists enjoy good salaries.

How Much Money A Medical Biller and Coder Makes?

The amount of money a medical biller and coder can make will depend on location, employer, years of experience, and completed certifications. According to the American Academy for Professional Coders (AAPC), the average medical biller earns around $61,000 annually. Workers who are not certified earn approximately $45,000 a year, while employees with at least one certification receive closer to $51,000 annually.

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Read this article to learn more about the best paid positions in medical coding and billing.

The salary of medical billers and coders is heavily affected by which certification they complete. Those who are certified as Professional Medical Auditor, Physician Practice Manager and Documentation Expert earn around $65,000 each year. The best paid certifications are Professional Coding Instructor and Professional Compliance Officer, with annual salaries of around $75,000. As of 2017, medical billing and coding is among the best paid jobs not to require a college degree.

What Do You Need To Become A Certified Medical Biller and Coder?

All you need to become a medical biller and coder is a high school diploma and willingness to learn. Although there are associate’s degrees in medical billing and coding, having one is not required to work in the field. Institutions like the AAPC offer courses that teach most fundamental skills medical billers and coders need, at a fraction of the cost it would take to attend college.

The second step would be to gain work experience. Although having work experience is not necessary to become a certified medical biller and coder, obtaining two to three years of experience is highly recommended. The certification process is thorough and requires advanced knowledge of medical terminology and practices, which often can only be acquired through work. Hospitals, clinics and insurance companies are common workplaces where internships are available to newly trained medical billers and coders.

The third step would be to pursue a specialist certification. Institutions like AAPC offer over twenty different certification programs that adapt to the needs of a medical biller and coder. Most specialists begin with a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) or Certified Professional Biller (CPB) certificate. According to their needs, specialists can also pursue other certificates, such as Certified Outpatient Coder (COC) or Certified Physician Practice Manager (CPPM). Most certificate programs can be completed in under twelve months at an affordable price.

How Affordable Is A Medical Billing And Coding Certificate?

Becoming a certified medical coding and billing specialist is more affordable than people might think. Associations like the AAPC offer training programs that cost between $1,500 and $2,000, though there are some additional expenses to consider. For example, the Certified Professional Biller (CPB) training program requires students to have completed medical terminology and anatomy courses, which cost an additional $1,000. However, they are not mandatory and people with prior knowledge in both areas can skip those additional courses.

To complete a training program, students must purchase code books and become members of whichever institution issues the certificate. This can add up to around $300 in additional expenses. However, members usually have access to special discounts when enrolling in training programs. For example, the AAPC offers members permanent discounts of as much as 30 percent on training programs, code books and related courses.

People who complete a training program must sit for a certification exam to receive their certificate. The exam costs around $300, has 150 questions, and takes 6 hours to complete. In total, becoming a certified medical billing and coding specialist can cost between $1,200 and $2,500, depending on which institution and training program students choose. In contrast, obtaining an associate’s degree in medical billing and coding from an accredited college can cost as much as $20,000. The difference is that certifications focus only on medical topics, while an associate’s degree includes general educational courses.

As demand for medical specialists rises, new opportunities will appear for people pursuing a career in the healthcare industry. For many low-income families, starting a career in medical billing and coding might be the way out of financial hardship. With so many affordable options to get certified, there has not been a better time to start working for a brighter future.

Six Best Paid Cyber Security Jobs

In the last decade, cyber threats have become a major concern for companies across the country. As a result, many have decided to invest in cyber security personnel to protect their business and customers from potential cyber attacks. The information security industry has experienced a growing demand for qualified professionals, who have the potential to land a high paying job within the field.

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There are many positions a cyber security professional can occupy within a company. Each job is designed to perform specific tasks which guarantee the safety of network and information systems. In this article, we discuss the six best paid cyber security jobs in the industry. These positions offer a salary of no less than $90,000 annually for entry-level workers, and as much as $200,000 for lead and senior personnel.

IS Security Manager

Cyber attacks are a significant risk to most companies, and the job of an IS Security Manager is to make sure the infrastructure is well protected against them. They are responsible of detecting and correcting any weaknesses that may expose a company’s network and information systems.

IS Security Managers are in charge of assessing and maintaining a company’s security devices, including firewalls, antivirus software, and passwords, making sure they meet security standards. IS Security Managers also manage backup systems, security platforms and data recovery systems in emergency situations. Some companies also allow IS Security Managers to train employees.

This position is the highest-paid managerial job in the field, aside from C-level personnel such as CTO and CDO. Most IS Security Managers make between $120,000 and $180,000 annually. Working in this position requires a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, as well as previous experience in management. IS Security Engineers are often promoted to the Manager equivalent once they obtain the required experience.

IS Security Engineer

The IS Security Engineer works under an IS Security Manager and is responsible for the overall maintenance of network and information systems. While the manager analyzes possible solutions against disasters and system weaknesses, the IS Security Engineer takes care of the day-today operations needed to keep the platform running smoothly. For example, they constantly check the network for viruses, perform security tests and verify the integrity of communication protocols.

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Most companies hire several engineers to work under the supervision of the IS Security Manager. Their salary ranges from $90,000 for entry-level positions to as much as $150,000 for experienced employees with years of service. A bachelor’s degree is often enough to be hired as a IS Security Engineer, though some companies are willing to offer a position to people with associate’s degrees or enough experience in the field.

Application Security Engineer

Application security is in charge of using software, hardware and procedural algorithms to protect a company’s applications from external threats. Application security engineers develop all the necessary protocols to protect a company’s information and network systems, including privacy standards and safety measures.

Nowadays, most companies rely on third-party programs such as Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure to create systems customized to meet their needs. The job of application security engineers is to perform the modifications required to achieve this goal. Most companies require a bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree in cyber security, before hiring someone to fill the position.

Application Security Engineer one of the best paid positions in the business. On average, an Application Security Engineer earns between $100,000 and $210,000 annually. Those occupying senior and lead-level positions are known to earn more than $220,000. The salary prospects for this position are optimistic due to how important the role of an Application Security Engineer is for modern corporations.

Network Security Analyst

Network Security Analysts are responsible for the security of a company’s networks and information systems. This includes protection against hackers and cyber attacks, as well as looking for unusual activity in server logs and network traffic. A network security analyst also works closely with the application security engineer by providing information about vulnerabilities and suggestions on how to address them.

People working as network security analysts can expect to earn at least $90,000 annually. Most job openings require a bachelor’s degree, though some companies are content with an associate’s degree as long as the employee has enough experience. Senior and Lead positions often pay more than $150,000, but most companies require managerial experience before hiring a potential employee for these positions.

Cybersecurity Analyst

The Cybersecurity Analyst is a professional with experience in handling and protecting databases, networks and information systems. They make sure a company’s computer network runs unimpeded, protecting financial and personal information from being stolen. Cybersecurity Analysts assess and design security strategies to avoid the risk of the company being successfully affected by a cyber attack.

With the help of Network Security Analysts, Cybersecurity Analysts detect network vulnerabilities and make recommendations on how to address them. Some companies allow their cybersecurity analysts to develop security policies and procedures to be followed by all personnel. They often also control access to sensitive information.

Cybersecurity Analysts make no less than $90,000 annually. Senior and lead analysts earn as much as $190,000, though most companies require a master’s degree in cyber security for either position. Lead Analysts are usually trained for management.

Penetration Tester

A penetration test, most commonly known as pen test, is a simulated attack on a network or information system. It is authorized by the company to evaluate the robustness of its system’s defenses. During the test, a full risk assessment is made to detect the system’s strengths and weaknesses, providing IS Security Engineers valuable information to improve the infrastructure. This job is performed by penetration testers, also known as ethical hackers.

In recent years, there has been a surge in demand for penetration testers. Some companies have been forced to outsource pen tests due to lack of qualified personnel. In general, penetration testers earn between $80,000 and $130,000 annually, but their salary is expected to increase due to the aforementioned rise in demand. A bachelor’s degree is often a requirement to work as a penetration tester, though companies have hired people without degrees due to their remarkable hacking skills.

The information security sector has grown significantly, with millions of professionals offering protection from cyber attacks to big and small businesses alike. In 2018, more than 2 million cyber security job openings were available to professionals. Although not all job openings offer salaries above $90,000 at start, getting there is just a matter of time.

Why A Cybersecurity Degree Is Worth The Investment

The information era has brought new challenges to businesses across the country. Cyber attacks are a risk many companies are not willing to take. As a result, new cyber security positions are opening up nationwide, as employers from all sizes move to protect the integrity of their business and customers.

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Cyber security is a very lucrative industry. The average salary of a cyber security official is $90,000. Most companies require a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree to hire someone as a cyber security official. The high threshold of entry may discourage some people from pursuing a career in cyber security. In this article, we discuss several reasons why getting a cyber security degree is worth the investment.

A job is almost guaranteed, as many companies look to protect their businesses

In the last decade, cyber threats have become a major concern for companies across the country. As a result, many have decided to invest in cyber security personnel to protect their business and customers from potential cyber attacks.

The first question potential students ask is about employment. How difficult would it be to find a high salary job with a master’s degree in cyber security. A study from Burning Glass Technologies has shown that four out of five cyber security job openings require a bachelor’s degree, and around a quarter require a master’s degree. With how expensive going to college has become nowadays, it is no wonder many Americans consider the potential return on investment before pursuing a degree.

However, cyber security students have no reason to worry. Statistical data suggests that by the end of 2018, more than 2 million positions will be open to cyber security professionals. And there isn’t enough qualified workers to fill them. CyberSecurity Ventures, a multinational research company focusing on the cyber economy, has forecasted that this number will rise to over 3.5 million by 2021. These projections make it viable to invest in the field.

A high salary that is expected to increase

Information Technology (IT) is one of the best paid industries in America. People working in the field are often paid no less than $80,000 annually. The cyber security field is one of the best paid in the industry, with annual compensations exceeding $120,000 a year. The high demand for cyber security officials nationwide means companies are offering better salaries to attract highly educated professionals. Last year alone, cyber security salaries increased 9% faster than other technology positions.

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A cyber security degree is an investment with significant long term returns

Working adults are often concerned about the financial impact of going back to college. There are many factors they have to consider, such as current employment and family responsibilities. However, like most other IT careers, cyber security is very profitable down the road. A significant number of people who complete a cyber security degree have been able to find a $100,000 position.

The cost to obtain a master’s degree in cyber security ranges from $20,000 to as much as $70,000. Prospective students who are unable to free up sufficient time to attend a brick and mortar college have the alternative to enroll in an online institution.

Several organizations such as the Center for Cyber Security Safety and Education grant scholarships to professionals who desire to obtain a degree. The U.S. government also runs two scholarship programs called the Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP) and the National Science Foundation’s Scholarship for Service (SFS). Through these programs, adult students can significantly reduce the cost to obtain their degrees.

Depending on which college they choose, students may be granted resources which help finish degree programs in months while saving money on tuition. For example, most colleges allow the transfer of credits from other institutions, while some run knowledge tests to rapidly approve courses. Those working in cyber security without a degree can also automatically approve credits due to their experience in the field.

A master’s degree in cyber security also provides leadership and managerial skills

Bachelor’s degree students are usually trained only the skills required to perform jobs in their fields. For example, a graduate from computer sciences will only have the knowledge to perform activities related with software, hardware and related environments.

Cyber security students, in contrast, receive additional training in leadership and managerial skills, which are useful when applying to relevant positions in the industry. Some colleges have degree programs which prioritize both cyber security and managerial skills, offering a complete package to those looking for leadership positions with their employers.

A decade ago, a cyber security degree might have seem worthless. However, companies and governments alike have recognized the threat cyber attacks represent. Now, cyber security officials have become indispensable to any major business. For many working adults, pursuing a cyber security degree may not feel like a worthy investment. But when the potential financial return is taken into account, going back to college for several months won’t be a hassle.

High-Paying Careers That Only Require an Associate’s Degree

Most high paying jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree, if not more. But there are many jobs that pay well without one. Here are the 5 highest paying jobs that only require an associate’s degree.

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Our economy is changing quickly. Technology and shifting cultural views are making many professions obsolete. A good education ensures you stay relevant in today’s job market. But you on’t have to spend years in school to get a well-paying job. There are a number of lucrative careers that don’t require anything more than a 2-year degree. Here are 5 of the highest paying associates degrees available today.

Radiation Therapist

Cancer continues to menace populations all around the world. Radiation therapists assist doctors when administering treatments to cancer patients. Their duties typically include:

  • Talking with patients about treatment orders and answering their questions.
  • Using established procedures and equipment to protect the patient from improper radiation exposure.
  • Operating machinery that administers the treatments.
  • Monitoring and recording patient reactions during treatment.
  • Therapists work closely with doctors and other medical staff to keep cancer patients safe and comfortable during treatment sessions. More than a medical professional, these technicians also provide emotional and physical support during their patients' weakest moments. For this service, radiation therapists can earn an average wage of $38.73 per hour.

    Dental Hygienist

    Dental hygienists are the cornerstones of a good dental practice. The duties they perform help people of all ages preserve, repair, and replace their teeth. Their responsibilities include:

  • Cleaning teeth to remove stains, plaque build-up, and tartar.
  • Applying sealants and fluoride treatments.
  • Assessing the condition of patients' teeth and communicating it to the dentist.
  • Taking x-rays.
  • Educating patients on proper dental care.
  • During their college coursework, dental hygienists learn the basics of anatomy, nutrition, pathology, and other sciences that contribute to good oral health. These high paying associates degrees are great for those who enjoy working closely with different kinds of people. Pediatric dental hygienists are in especially high demand.

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    Nuclear Technician

    You may not even need a 2-year degree for this high-paying position. Many nuclear technicians start off in the military and are able to use their experience to start a new career. Nuclear technicians assist the engineers and physicists involved in energy production and research by:

  • Monitoring equipment performance.
  • Collecting soil, water, and air samples to test for environmental contamination.
  • Measuring levels and types of radiation produced by power generation or experiments.
  • Instructing other workers on the proper use of safety equipment and how to respond during an emergency.
  • Nuclear technicians are one of the highest paying associates degrees with an average hourly wage of $38.64. Their studies in nuclear science and technology make them an effective part of academic and commercial energy production teams. These positions are good for those who are dedicated to preserving our country’s energy independence or those who want to be on the cutting-edge of scientific research.

    Funeral Director

    Bring comfort and closure into the lives of those who have lost loved ones as a funeral director. A degree in mortuary science teaches students how to handle every aspect of funeral arrangement, including:

  • Counseling the loved ones of the deceased.
  • Reviewing funerary options with family members.
  • Preparing the body for burial, cremation, or inurnment.
  • Filing legal documents.
  • Directors also make arrangements for the remains’ final resting place. Though this is one of the highest paying associates degrees, mortuary science is not for everyone. Directing funerals requires a special blend of technical and soft skills, as well as a tolerance for gore.

    Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

    Another allied health profession ends our list of the highest paying associates degrees in today’s job market. Medical sonographers help doctors diagnose patient conditions by:

  • Preparing and maintaining imaging equipment.
  • Using imagining equipment to obtain test results or diagnostic images.
  • Reviewing results to ensure they are useful to the diagnosing doctor.
  • Update patient records with test results and findings.
  • Medical sonographers work with obstetricians, cardiologists, and other specialists to diagnose internal conditions. The information they gather also helps doctors formulate effective treatment plans and monitor patient progress. Some colleges and hospitals offer a one-year certificate course for those interested in these careers.

    Education is the key to success in our competitive job markets. However, you don’t have to sacrifice years of your life to qualify for a respected, secure, and rewarding career. In just two years, you could be enjoying the fruits of having one of the highest paying associates degrees in the country.

    Reasons Why Adults Fear Going Back To College

    Statistical data from the National Center for Education Statistics has shown that adult students are on pace to become the biggest share of college attendees nationwide. People age 25 or older now represent 47 percent of the student population. Many have already attended college, overcoming certain barriers before making the decision to return.

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    As full-time working parents, it’s no wonder many Americans hesitate when deciding to invest in a college degree. However, education has evolved to meet their financial and social needs, with many alternatives available to choose from. In this article, we talk about the five most common reasons why adults fear going back to college and how to address them.

    #1: There isn’t enough time to balance academic and job-related responsibilities

    Many Americans are afraid of investing in a college degree because they believe there isn’t enough time to accommodate academic and work-related activities. However, a significant number of adults have successfully managed to graduate from college without sacrificing other responsibilities. To achieve this feat, they have relied on careful planning techniques which often include weekly and monthly schedules.

    Millions of Americans have been forced into working overtime to cover basic expenses. For them, attending a traditional college is not a possibility. Technological advances have made it possible to continue an education through alternative means, such as an online degree, weekly courses, and more. Keeping a comprehensive schedule and choosing the right education program are two steps in the right direction to make time no longer a significant concern when attending college.

    #2: College is too expensive and my family cannot afford going deep into debt to finance a degree

    The economy has been growing steadily, yet many American families have not experienced major benefits from this development. One of the biggest concerns for families pursuing a degree to improve their financial situation is college tuition cost. Although wages have increased in the last several decades, the cost to attend college remains unaffordable for millions of low-income families.

    A way to overcome this fear is understanding that a college degree is a long-term investment, not an expense. The money spent in education will return in the form of opportunities to obtain a higher-paying job. Even a two-year degree can serve as a bridge to a job with a annual salary of $100,000. Prospective students should always keep this in mind, as it will help them stay focused and achieve their goals.

    Prospective students have a wide array of available options to make attending college more affordable. Requesting financial assistance from the government through programs such as Pell and FSEOG Grants is always an option. Looking for affordable institutions will help reduce the cost to obtain a college degree. For example, online institutions are often cheaper than a standard brick and mortar college, with potential to save a lot of money in the long-term. Some companies run tuition assistance programs to help employees go through college without too much financial pressure.

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    #3: They haven’t been in a classroom in years, and are afraid they won’t feel comfortable enough to succeed

    A significant number of adults already attended college once but were unable to complete their studies for many reasons. Some abandoned their education and became full-time employees to sustain their families. Regardless of motive, many adults would like to eventually obtain the college degree they desire. However, they are afraid of returning to a classroom after many years of absence.

    The reasons why adult students feel intimidated are abundant. Some are afraid to repeat their past failures, while others think they won’t feel comfortable in a classroom filled with younger students. This fear has discouraged many working people from obtaining an education, making it harder for them to get out of financial hardship. It is also one of the main reasons why many Americans remain without a college degree, along with high tuition costs.

    There are ways to combat the insecurities felt by adult students. They should keep in mind that many Americans have dropped from college before, using this experience to better organize their priorities. The number of adult students has been rising significantly in recent years. According to the Wall Street Journal, over 45 percent of students in America are age 25 or older, many of which had previously dropped from college. As a result, most institutions have places where adult students can socialize with like-minded individuals.

    #4: They are not sure whether the benefits of getting a college degree are worth the investment

    Some adults fear going back to college because they believe the potential benefits of obtaining a degree are unclear. A significant number desire to study but have not yet chosen which career would provide tangible financial improvements. According to most educational advisors, families often refuse investing in education because they have no way to assess the potential benefits of getting a college degree.

    Consulting with an educational advisor, colleagues, or HR manager of the company they work for is a good way to address this problem. Many companies nationwide help employees choose a degree that will help them the most long-term, offering a clear path towards a raise or promotion. In many cases, obtaining a degree leads to new and lucrative opportunities to earn more money regardless of the field.

    #5: They are not confident about the possibility of adapting to school after many years of absence

    Many adult learners are afraid of failing to succeed in a classroom environment after many years away from college. Their lives have changed significantly and are not confident about their ability to keep up with academic responsibilities. However, educational practices have evolved over the years to take into account rising population of adult students.

    To overcome this fear, adult students must understand that they are not alone. Millions of working parents are in the same situation, and academic environments have adapted to meet their demands. Nowadays, modern educational techniques such as distance learning are often best aligned to the needs of working parents and at a much cheaper price than traditional institutions. For example, working adults now have access to solutions which were unavailable decades ago, such as completing and delivering assignments remotely.

    There are many reasons why adults fear going back to college. Being willing to overcome these fears is the first step towards getting a college degree. The adult student population is rapidly growing, and most universities have taken notice. The avenues to get a college degree are wider than they’ve ever been before. Choosing which path will be taken towards financial stability is up to each individual.

    $100K Jobs With A Two-Year Degree

    People often think that a four-year bachelor’s degree is the only way out of financial hardship. But many good-paying careers do not require one.

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    Each year, millions of Americans go deep into debt to finance a college degree which may not pay off in the long term. However, there are some well-known jobs that pay more than $100,000 annually, and they don’t require more than an associate’s degree.

    It is true that some jobs require a four-year degree to qualify for the interview. Some companies often ask for advanced degrees before being willing to hire a potential employee. In this article, we talk about five jobs accessible with only a two-year degree where the top ten percent earn more than $100,000 annually.

    Executive Pastry Chef

    Executive Pastry Chef is not the first job that comes to mind when people look for annual earnings exceeding $100,000. However, contrary to popular belief, this profession can be quite profitable in the long term. According to data provided by PayScale.com, the top ten percent executive pastry chefs earn an average of $102,000 annually. The average chef does earn significantly less, with annual income of around $46,000. But with enough preparation and the right employer, earnings can easily go up.

    Executive pastry chefs are usually hired to work at exotic restaurants and hotels, cruise ships, specialty patisseries, and more. The luckiest ones get to work on television or at globally known locations such as the White House. To become an executive pastry chef, people take a two-year degree at a community college or culinary school. Longer studies are also available for people who want to specialize further. However, many successful chefs have reached their position without a degree at all, relying on the knowledge and experience obtained while working at restaurants.

    Master Plumber

    Every home and business owner has hired a plumber at least once. Plumbers have existed for hundreds of years, and their job is to install and maintain systems used for potable water, sewage and drainage. Due to how often these installations need to be repaired, replaced or maintained, it is no surprise that plumbers are always in demand. This also makes them one of the best paid maintenance professionals in the market. The average plumber earns no less than $60,000 annually.

    Most plumbers get their training through apprenticeships, though in recent years community colleges and technical schools have incorporated plumbing into their programs. Master plumbers are the most experienced plumbers in the business. Although a two-year degree is enough in most states to work as a plumber, becoming a master plumber often takes more time and experience. However, once a person becomes a master plumber, they have a guaranteed annual income of at least $102,000.

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    Radiation Therapist

    Healthcare has always been regarded as one of the most profitable businesses with long-term potential. Most people believe that working in healthcare requires many years of studies and several advanced degrees. However, this is often not the case, as there are jobs accessible to people with only a two-year degree. Radiation therapy is one example, where a radiography associate’s degree and a radiation therapy certificate are enough to obtain a good-paying position.

    Radiation therapists are professionals who work within a radiation oncology team. Their job is to administer radiation treatment to cancer patients, although they often serve as liaisons with physicians and care providers in general. Most healthcare facilities which offer cancer treatment have at least a few radiation therapists on board to make sure operations run as smoothly as possible. According to data from PayScale.com, the top 10 percent earners in the field make around $104,000 annually. The rest of radiation therapists make no less than $77,000 a year.

    Intensive-Care Unit Nurse

    Most nursing specialties require at least a four-year degree. However, some nursing jobs are accessible to healthcare professionals who only have an associate’s degree in nursing. Such is the case for nurses working within an Intensive-Care Unit (ICU), who deliver critical-care attention to critically ill or severely injured patients. Their job is overseen by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), and their annual salary often exceeds $72,000.

    According to PayScale.com, the top ten percent earners in the field make around $107,000 annually. However, Intensive-Care Unit nurses who continue their studies have the potential to earn as much as $200,000 each year while working within the private sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has predicted positive growth for the nursing industry, which means that anyone looking to work in Intensive-Care Unit facilities should be optimistic about finding a good paying job.

    Sheet-Metal Worker

    Working in sheet-metal manufacturing will hardly come to mind when people talk about careers with $100,000 salaries. However, these professionals can make up to $122,000 each year according to data provided by PayScale.com. On Average, the majority of sheet-metal workers earn around $63,000 annually. However, with years of experience and good credentials, a sheet-metal worker can go beyond $100,000 with ease.

    Sheet-Metal workers make, install and maintain a long list of products derived from metal sheets, including roofs, restaurant equipment, railroad cars, heating systems and much more. It is a risky job that involves both construction work and mass production of sheet-metal products. To become a sheet-metal worker, people need to be in good physical condition, have above average mathematical skills, and good hand-eye coordination. Good healthcare and life insurance are also recommended due to the high level of risk involved in the manufacturing of metal sheet products.

    Most sheet metal workers learn the profession through apprenticeships and on-the-job training programs. Manufacturing facilities often run their own training sessions to familiarize newcomers with production standards and safety measures. There is no associate’s degree that specializes in sheet-metal manufacturing. However, an engineering-related associate’s degree is always a plus when looking for a high-paying position.

    Good paying jobs available to people with associate’s degrees exist around the country. However, they tend to be snatched up quickly due to how many Americans have the education required to be hired. People looking for a good paying job should research the job availability in their area before making the decision to invest in a two-year degree. However, once they have the tools at hand, reaching $100,000 is just a matter of time.

    Useful Tips to Study While Employed at the Same Time

    Recent research from the National Center for Education Statistics has revealed that the majority of students continue working while enrolled in college at the same time.

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    One in seven students are full-time employees, while six out of ten work part-time to fund their education. This reality has forced students to look for ways to balance their academic and work-related responsibilities.

    Completing an education can be overwhelming for working adults. The number of families working overtime to cover basic expenses has increased in the last few decades. However, there are many success stories of adults who have managed to strike a balance between work and study. In this article, we talk about five effective strategies adult students may find useful to work and study at the same time.

    Online education has been picking up steam in the last few years. If time is a concern, think about distance learning as a solution.

    Distance learning is not a new concept, but recent technological advances have helped it expand into a serious contender to traditional, brick and mortar institutions. Federal statistics reveal that more than 6 million students took at least one online course during 2016. Two decades ago, the number of colleges offering online degrees were few and far between. In 2017, more than 5,000 colleges and universities offered some form of online education, including post-graduate degrees.

    For adult students without enough time to attend a traditional college, our first recommendation is to enroll in an accredited online institution offering the desired degree. Many brick and mortar universities already have online versions of traditional degrees. However, keep in mind that some institutions may require students to show up in person periodically to take finals or fulfill other academic responsibilities.

    Choosing an online institution may be overwhelming for adults trying to study online for the first time. There are a variety of things they should know before investing in an online degree. Factors such as regional accreditation, quality of teachers, academic requirement and tuition costs should be researched before settling down with a specific institution.

    Balancing academic and work-related responsibilities is not an easy task. Creating a plan and sticking to it makes it easier.

    Studying while having a job is a task that requires careful planning and execution. Keeping a detailed schedule is a step in the right direction to achieve balance between academic and work-related responsibilities. Prospective students are advised to design weekly and monthly plans, usually written in a calendar or stored digitally in a computer, tablet or smartphone. Applications such as Google Calendar are useful to set up timely alerts.

    Sticking to the plan is critical to achieve academic success. However, it doesn’t mean modifications can’t be made. If a topic requires less studying time than predicted, it may be wise to focus energies on a more demanding subject. Scheduling allows adult students to free up time to meet work-related duties such as meetings or project deadlines.

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    Organizing studying sessions into clearly defined activities will help adult students get better results.

    Most educational advisors suggest organizing studying sessions per academic task. Processing information about a specific topic during single sessions instead of several subjects at once will allow the brain to better digest the knowledge. If needed, organize daily sessions to cover all the subjects included in the semester.

    Studying sessions should preferably last between one and two hours. Students should always avoid lengthy marathons, as they often hinder their ability to process information and may have adverse health-related consequences. In general, it is good practice to schedule studying sessions at the same time each day to create an effective habit. Overall, it has been proven true that short studying sessions are more effective and produce better results, as long as students stay organized and design specific goals to be achieved during sessions.

    Having several short studying sessions provides an additional benefit: it allows adults to miss one without falling behind with schoolwork. This approach is recommended by most educational advisors given how often parents face unexpected events, such as their children getting sick.

    Employers should be a part of the studying process. Some companies offer incentives to workers who study.

    Sometimes, creating a good schedule may not be sufficient to fit enough studying sessions without affecting work-related activities. In these circumstances, the best thing to do is to notify employers about it and try to negotiate a potential solution. Depending on the job, an employer may be willing to sacrifice working hours if in return the company will gain access to a worker with better skills.

    Employees with outstanding records are often given monetary incentives to pursue higher education degrees as long as they remain related to the job being performed. It is therefore recommended that prospective students discuss the matter with their superiors before they begin to study. Working over holidays or during breaks may be required.

    Keeping your boss up to date with information about major academic responsibilities such as finals will help them avoid scheduling work-related activities around these dates. However, avoid inundating them with details about your academic responsibilities, especially at work.

    Make sure not to bite more than you can chew. Understanding your personal capabilities will help avoid unnecessary setbacks.

    Prospective students should, after creating a studying plan, understand how much time and energy they can dedicate to academic responsibilities. This will help them determine how many credit hours they can handle per semester before the workload becomes unbearable. Most colleges and universities are quite flexible with the number of courses a student can choose to enroll per cycle.

    Adult students who work full time or have several part time jobs might find the information they need by talking to a counselor. With their help, it is often possible to develop a custom program that may take longer to complete but in return gives students the best possible path towards graduation. Informing teachers about work-related activities is also recommended. As professionals, and often parents themselves, professors are aware of the stress adult students go through every day.

    The economy has been steadily improving in the last few years, yet many Americans are still working as hard as ever to stay afloat. A college degree is their best bet towards financial stability, but obtaining it requires significant sacrifices. Balancing academic and work-related activities is the most effective way to get desired results with minimal risk. Regardless of which balancing path they choose, the key is to stick to it.