If you are a resident of Pennsylvania who is anxiously awaiting the perfect time to begin furthering your education, perhaps now is the time! Let's go through a few things first. Have you completed your high school diploma requirements? Do you have an intended course of study in mind, or maybe you have at least narrowed down the choices? Have you identified your educational goals and you are ready to begin marking them off of your to do list? If you find yourself nodding in agreement to each of these things, then it certainly sounds like you are ready.
Continue reading below to become familiar with the employment projections for the state of Pennsylvania and some of the most popular collegiate choices that you will have to choose from. Pennsylvania is one of the top five states in our country (over 41%) with regards to available jobs that will be appropriate for individuals who only possess a high school diploma. However, if you have completed a post secondary degree or training program you will find yourself adequately qualified for 49-58% of the jobs that are available in this state. Keep in mind, the level of education that you have not only weighs in on whether or not you get the job you are applying for, but also the amount of pay that you have the potential to earn.
Carnegie Mellon University, located in Pittsburgh, is classified as a comprehensive research university. According to current online research, this university is home to approximately 10,000 students. Of this total enrollment figure, about half of these students are working to complete an undergraduate degree program. Although this university is known for its strong degree programs in the areas of the sciences and the liberal arts, its engineering and science degree programs have received top ranking in our country. Of course, research is another strong area that this learning institution has to offer its interested students.
Despite the fairly large enrollment, students at Carnegie Mellon University will have the opportunity to learn in a class with an eleven to one student to faculty ratio. On a much smaller scale is Grove City College. This private Christian liberal arts college only offers undergraduate degree programs to its students. Recent online figures show that there are about 2,500 students enrolled at this learning facility. Grove City College has been recognized as one of the country's top conservative colleges that provide students an excellent educational value. It is important to note that true to its roots, every student at this college is required to attend chapel. Grove City College is also known for having a high retention and graduation rate among their student body.
Penn State University, located in University Park, currently reports a total enrollment of about 45,000 students. While the majority of the enrolled students are working to complete an undergraduate degree program, it is also possible for interested students to obtain a graduate level degree at this institution. Operated as a comprehensive public research university, Penn State University has an extremely broad range of academic offerings for prospective students. As with many other collegiate choices, Penn State University has received recognition for its strong degree programs in the areas of research, science, and the liberal arts.
The University of Pennsylvania, which was founded by Benjamin Franklin, is surely not a school you want to miss checking out! As a member of the Ivy League, this university operates as a comprehensive private research based facility. Currently, there are about 25,000 students working to complete undergraduate and graduate level degree programs at this university. Along with many other great academic programs, this university has been recognized for its strong programs in research, liberal arts, and science. The University of Pittsburgh, which is aptly located in Pittsburgh, is categorized as a comprehensive public research university.
Recent online figures show that the University of Pittsburgh has a total enrollment of about 28,000 students. Of this number, only about 18,000 students are working on an undergraduate degree program in the area of their choosing. While this university is like many others and has been recognized for strong degree programs in the liberal arts, sciences, and research, there are also several other notable areas for interested students to consider. In fact, this university has very strong academic degree programs in the areas of medicine, philosophy, business, and engineering. Keep in mind, if you still haven't found that perfect college or university there are many others in this state.
The state ranks 10th nationwide in terms of the number of degrees that are granted based on their working population. One ting Pennsylvania does better than almost every other state is it attracts more students into the state for their postsecondary education. With over 38,000 students each year coming into the state from other states to attend school means more graduates accept jobs in PA which helps boost the economy and strengthen the many industries of the state.
With a population of over 12.7 million is the 6th highest populated state. The healthcare needs of the state are massive, especially after the new healthcare mandate. The increased number of people visiting hospitals and doctors’ offices have put a strain on the state however it’s highly education workforce is growing and employees are being compensated with record salaries. With an aging workforce, PA is also forced to look outside of the state to attract medical professionals to come work in one of the over 247,000 healthcare related jobs in the state. Some of the most popular healthcare careers in Pennsylvania include:
Medical Assisting – One of the most needed careers in the healthcare field is medical assistants. The routine care of patients at hospitals fall under the responsibilities of the MA’s. Doctor’s offices also hire medical assistants to help with routine procedures as well as front office duties. The most medical assistants in Pennsylvania are in Philadelphia where over 8050 are employed and they also have the highest median income with MA’s making $33,550 per year. The next highest city that employ MA’s including Pittsburg, Allentown, Bethlehem and Harrisburg. The state has over 250 hospitals and 23 are ranked in the top 10 0 in the nation.
Practical Nursing – We can’t think of another career in the medical field that has received so much attention over the last 10 years as that of nurses. The state needs 10% licensed practical nurses over the next 5 year to keep up with demand. Cities of Reading, Lancaster, Erie, Forty Fort and Scranton all have schools that offer training. One of the biggest problems students are facing however the long waiting lists to get into these schools are. If the college you are looking at is full get on their wait list but also try other institutions that might not be as popular. The cost for training can range from $18,000 to over $30,000 so shop around. You want a PN school to have a high NCLEX pass rate for the state.
Pharmacy Technician – Technicians are not regulated by the state however by earning your national certification will give you a better chance to get employed.
For those who are looking for a hands-on career you can find plenty of career training opportunities at any of the vocational schools or trade schools that offer short-term training. The advantage is you’ll get the exact training you need to work in an industry without being burdened by high student loans or a degree that might not be worth receiving. Some of the top trade programs in Pennsylvania are:
HVAC/R – One of the more popular careers in Pennsylvania are those working in the heating, air-conditioning and ventilation (HVAC/R). Over 11,480 HVAC technicians are employed in the state with an average salary of $51,000 in Philadelphia. Careers we found online were focused in Erie, Scranton, Altoona and Landcaster.
Electrician – Being an electrical technician can be a lucrative job in the right city. Residential electricians earn on average $54,000 where commercial journeyman electricians earn over $56,000. As an electrical technician you’ll h the ability to not only work for a service company but you can also start your own business.
Welding Technician – According to the BLS welders earn approx. $38,000 per year. Many of the top industries in PA hire skilled welders and as a welder you’ll be able to work for multiple companies. During your training learn all about arc welding, welding prints and working with different types of metals.
Careers in auto mechanics including repair and body make up over 38,000 jobs in the state. Over 15% of the automotive working population is self-employed. Service technicians typically make between $18.75-24.50 per hour. The state has over 30 CDL truck driving schools with an average tuition cost of $14,000. Most schools that offer Class A training are full-time programs that can be completed in 4-6 weeks.
We get asked to debate this question all the time and to be honest it is an easy question to answer. First off degree come in 4 different levels. The first is an Associate’s followed by Bachelor’s, Master’s then PHD level. The least amount of time you’ll spend earning a degree is 2 years, 4 for a Bachelor’s, 6 or more for a Master’s degree or PHD. Certificate or diploma programs last 6 to 24 months on average. When it comes to knowing which one is better the first question is what type of career you want. Once you know that then you can start to research if the career requires you to earn a degree or certificate.
One common misconception is that you need a degree to compete in today’s economy. This has led so many college students to enter college without knowing what they actually need. When they graduate they might graduate with a degree that either is too generic or doesn’t qualify them for the position they want. With a certificate based program earned from a trade school you’ll end up with something that you can use right after graduation.
Pennsylvania Additional Education Resources