Are you a resident of Illinois and you are ready to enter the work force with a bang? At this point are you working on researching viable educational paths to determine which one most ideally suits you? Doing ample research before you make an important decision such as a post secondary educational plan will always benefit you in regards to your future. In the state of Illinois only about 19-27% of available jobs will be fitting for individuals who only possess a high school diploma. On the opposite end of that employment spectrum, within this state there will be about 64-71% of employment opportunities that will require individuals to hold some level of a post secondary degree. It is important to note that while a two year associate's level degree may land you one of these jobs, your rate of pay will surely be lower than that of an individual who has completed a four year bachelor's level degree or even a graduate level degree program. Continue reading below to gain valuable and insightful information about some of the more popular collegiate choices that are present in this state.
Located in the heart of Chicago is Loyola University. This private, Catholic based research university is currently home to about 16,000 students (approximately 10,000 of these are working on undergraduate degree programs). As one of the top Catholic universities in our country, prospective students can expect to be offered strong business degree programs, and phenomenal liberal arts and science courses of study. It is important to note that this university has two locations within the state of Illinois a northern campus that is on the Chicago waterfront and a downtown campus that is found just off the Magnificent Mile.
The second option for students to consider is Northwestern University, which is located in Evanston. Although this university has one of the most selective admissions processes of any other post secondary school in the state, the current enrollment is nearly 20,000. However, it is important to note that over half of the students enrolled at this university are pursuing a graduate level degree program. As with many other collegiate choices in this state, Northwestern University is known for having strong liberal arts and science degree programs. In addition, Northwestern is also recognized for the strong research programs that they make available to their students.
One of the top public universities in our country and one of the largest in the state of Illinois is the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. This research based facility reports a current enrollment of approximately 43,000 students. Of this large number, about 30,000 are working to complete an undergraduate level degree program. Although this university is recognized for its strong degree programs in the areas of liberal arts, sciences, and research, it is their college of engineering that receives them the most recognition. In fact, the engineering program that they make available for their students is one of the top in the United States. On a much smaller scale is the notable Wheaton College. This private Christian liberal arts college is reported to have a current enrollment of about 3,000 students. Despite this small number, prospective students can expect to have the chance to thrive among an interdenominational environment with students who are representing over fifty five different church denominations.
Wheaton College has also been recognized by Loren Pope in the publication Colleges that Change Lives. With a strong, highly ranked liberal arts program and an impressive twelve to one student to faculty ratio, this college certainly has some things to brag about. If you are looking for a home away from home in the college or university that you choose, look no further than the University of Chicago. Current online statistics show that this university has an enrollment of approximately 15,000, with only about a third of those enrolled pursuing an undergraduate degree program. The University of Chicago is well known for its strong, on campus housing system that they offer to their students. This private research based university is known to be one of the most selective colleges in Illinois, where admissions are concerned. In relation to this factor, the University of Chicago is also noted as one of the top universities in the United States. Other notable accomplishments that this university has reported are exemplary liberal arts and sciences degree programs and phenomenal research opportunities for their interested students.
The state has over 180 schools that offer either an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree as well as 50 vocational schools. Online programs are on the rise in the state and over 10% of all college students have taken or plan on taking an online course with the next year. One of the biggest reasons why people are taking online classes is the cost and also they have the option of taking their training from the comfort of their own home. Also students might want to take classes from another school that isn’t in their state. Often we see college students transferring their credits to another online school in order to take advantage of a lower tuition or price per credit that is offered by the other school.
The school systems in Illinois have also been improving and more high school seniors are graduating. Approx. 43% of the 7 million working adults have earned a Bachelor’s degree or Associate’s degree. According to the most recent US Census Bureau almost 13% have earned a graduate level degree in the state and 22% have earned a Bachelor’s degree. Receiving a higher education is really necessary in order to land some of the jobs that are available in the state. The Census also shows that by population 48% of all working Caucasians are receiving degrees where 28% of all African Americans and 71% of all Asians.
The state is very educated in terms of the percentages of the population by county that have earned an Associate’s degree. The highest percentage goes to Champaign County at 53.5% followed by DuPage, McLean, Woodford, Piatt, Jackson, Peoria and Cook.
The key industry clusters are in mining, manufacturing
Manufacturing: The top industry in Illinois by far is manufacturing and it represents more than 14% of the GDP for the state. It is also the 3rd largest manufacturing state in the nation and employs over 575,000 workers. The metal fabrication sector has a 2.1 billion dollar projected project export and employs over 65,000 people.
Technology: The state is home to 30 top Fortune 500 companies. It is constantly ranked as a Top 10 state for new companies to come in and set up a business. Technology companies love Illinois due to the quality of college graduates the schools produce as well as the type of degree program the enter the workforce with.
Automotive: With a combined workforce of over 20,000 employees working for over 324 companies the automotive industry is Chicago alone is massive. Ford Motor is the largest employer.
Healthcare: Just in Chicago over 14% of their workforce is in the healthcare and medical industry and is home to close to 100 hospitals and 5 top medical schools. If you are looking for a fast paced career then look no further than a career in medical. The state is 2nd only to California in terms of the number of operations and patient admissions.
Illinois has some of the top colleges in the state and are listed in the top 20 nationwide year after year. Some of the colleges include the University of Chicago in Chicago, Northwestern University in Evanston, Weaton College in Wheaton, DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Knox College, Loyola University, College of DuPage and College of Lake County. Northwestern leads the state in tuition cost exceeding $65,000.
Once you start researching potential careers one thing you’ll notice is the state has a lot of industries that pay well with lots of job opening. From someone who has lived in the state I can tell you that the weather is probably the main reason why people leave. They can make the same salary in other surrounding states that offer better weather.
Automotive Industry – Besides manufacturing the automotive industry is a great career path for those just graduating high school or anyone looking to start a new career. Several trade schools in the state offer programs in automotive repair and collision. Also we know of one that deals in diesel and large engine repair. You can become ASE certified but also become certified by the car manufacture that you work with.
Trades – Going into a trade like HVAC, welding, plumbing or even electrical is a great way to get trained quickly and started on your new career. These careers are the backbone of our county and needed in almost every city across our nation. We found jobs ranging from $24,020 to over $45,000 DOE in Joilet, Decatur, Chicago, Naperville, Wheaton and Orland Park.
Medical – As mentioned above the healthcare industry is the state’s top industry. If you want to learn a medical trade quickly and get employed then we recommend looking into dental assisting, medical assisting and pharmacy technician. You can get all the training you need from a vocational school in a short period of time and many of them even offer financial aid for those who qualify.
Education – Become a teacher is a very lucrative career in Illinois with the average teacher making $74,990 per year. The test schools of the schools however are lower than other parts of the county and only 47% of the high school graduates can do work at their grade level. The reason why IL is having so many issues is they fail to get rid of teachers that aren’t doing their job. For you as a new college student this is a great opportunity. We recommend not only getting your teachers license but also continue on with school and earn a graduate degree. This will allow you to have more education and hopefully be able to replace those that the state will eventually need to fire.