Guest post: For HR Pros —The Time is Now

There are many problems facing higher education in the United States—including the rising cost of college, increasing student debt and lack of readiness of graduates to apply their skills in the workplace. While the cost of higher education is a barrier preventing many from obtaining a degree, 35 percent of Americans reported they don’t have the time to get everything done in their lives and go to school, according to a recent Bellevue University study released this month, “Closing the Nation’s Skills Gap: Making Higher Education Achievable.” The same holds true for Human Resource professionals. Those who may wish to obtain a degree in HR or employment services, or who strive to further their existing career, are finding it hard to fit school into their demanding schedules; however, research is showing a degree can pay off.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resources specialist positions are expected to grow by 21 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is faster than the national average for all occupations. These projected job opportunities are expected to be  high-quality positions, especially in the employment services industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also found that most companies prefer to employ HR professionals with degrees.  And, depending on the position, some might prefer a business degree with a concentration applicable to employee relations or organization development, as well as an MBA.

“Closing the Nation’s Skills Gap: Making Higher Education Achievable” found that 40 percent of adults across the nation admit they’re not where they want to be in life, with 32 percent having thought they would have achieved more by now. The study points out that no matter your age or gender, people are missing the opportunities necessary to attain career success, and hesitations are outweighing intentions. Fear remains one of the most common reasons for not enrolling in college courses. And, according to the study, 60 percent of the population can’t put a finger on exactly what’s holding them back from achieving their goals.

Earning a college degree has never been more important than it is right now as, over the next 10 years, nearly half of all new jobs will require a college education. And with the rapid rate of job growth in the employment services industry, the market will become increasingly competitive. More education will give HR professionals  an advantage in this competitive field. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, HR managers earned an average of $108,600 per year. This income is more than double the national average, which is roughly $43,000. With this higher-level pay comes a cutthroat market, one that will reward applicants with advanced degrees.

Adding higher education into the already-busy schedule of a working adult can make for an intense balancing act. To adapt to the needs of the adult learner, educational institutions must offer inexpensive, accessible and flexible plans to better serve their students. Colleges must employ a personalized, student-centric philosophy with forward-thinking faculty who understand the importance of providing guidance to adult students who may lack the confidence needed to succeed. With this in mind, Bellevue University has launched Flexxive℠, the first-of-its-kind, skill-based learning model that offers unprecedented affordability and flexibility to students. For more information, visit There is no time like the present to begin a successful journey toward higher education. The future of each individual’s career depends on the choices they make today.

About the author:

One of the nation’s best-known authorities on adult education, Dr. Mary B. Hawkins has observed the American education scene for more than 30 years and is keenly aware that the future of American prosperity relies on a better-educated workforce. She is known for leading the charge to make higher education accessible to everyone.

She speaks about how, in the coming decades, a high school diploma is not going to be enough, and advanced degrees will be necessary to meet the challenges of a 21st Century economy.  Her refreshing honesty and enthusiasm for student success shine through in her advice and strategic thinking about how to best match people with learning options that fit into the lives of working adults. Her expertise has been featured in USA Today, Fox Business, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, LA Times,, national radio shows,, KUNS-TV Seattle, and dozens more.

Mary also serves as President of Bellevue University.  She is leading the charge at Bellevue University and across the nation to “do our part” to strengthen the ailing national economy by creating a work force that is competitive with that of other nations.