Higher education was supposed to be a simple choice: Even if you must borrow money, you’ll supposedly earn more with a degree, but that Return of Investment (ROI) is breaking down. As more students take out gigantic loans and struggle to find the right jobs, they ask: is a student loan worth it or not?
The answer is: “it depends.” When considering your options, it helps to look at the big picture.
Today, nearly 70 percent of American Bachelor graduates leave school with debt, and for those, the median balance is $26,500, which is repaid in the first decade of their career, when earnings are at their lowest. So, it is essential to strategically decide whether you should go to college and which program you choose.
On the other hand, cybersecurity, as one of the fastest–growing tech fields, offers high salaries and low debts. Before the coronavirus pandemic hit in early 2020, there were approximately 500,000 cybersecurity job openings in the U.S, indicating a significant talent gap.
Evaluating Student Loans
Education is important. Over time, certifications are a good investment. The wiser you are about it, the more you can maximize your Return of Investment (ROI). Find a low-cost school and pick up specific skills that can boost your abilities. Start by looking at how much you’re likely to earn the first year in a job, then consider how many years you’ll have to work to pay off your student loan.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid racking up more student loan debt than what you’d earn in your first year on the job.
The following scenarios will illustrate what we are trying to explain:
Scenario 1 – Pharmacy
Growth in pharmacy school debt has accelerated dramatically in recent years. But it’s unusual for someone to graduate without taking on six figures of debt to finance their education.
Based on the 2018 national survey from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, most pharmacists will graduate with a school debt of around $50,000 to $250,000. And Pharmacists starting salaries, if they can get a job the first year, will be between $80,000 and $120,000, unless they do a residency with a much lower payment, which means that it will be difficult to pay the loan.
Scenario 2 – Dentistry
The American Dental Education Association estimates that the average debt per Dental School graduate was $292,159 in 2019. Sixty-four percent of graduates report having over $200,000 in debt. Do the math.
Scenario 3 – Cybersecurity
If you plan to pursue a cybersecurity career, pay ranges vary from $50,593 to $67,550 at entry-level. At CyberWarrior Academy, we are offering you a 6-month Cybersecurity Bootcamp from $19,500, with several funding options, and you will be able to pay for the entire bootcamp with your first year’s salary while enjoying the benefits of a rewarding career.
That said, even if you take out a loan, you can reduce your costs by applying for any scholarships and grants available to you, and you can do a lot of this online, so you can easily shop around and keep your tuition costs low.
Cybersecurity Pays the Debt
Cybersecurity has two key logistical advantages for a strong career: Low to no unemployment and solid compensation.
You don’t have to be an expert to know that Cybersecurity has become critical to any modern business, as more people are working from home and breaches are hitting the headlines. However, if you want to get a job in this field, consider that most schools are too theory-based. One of the reasons people struggle when coming out of University/College to get into the job market is that they lack work experience.
Most employers are not going to hire you solely based on the classes that you took. If the program you chose is not teaching you hands-on skills and allowing you to build a portfolio that you can show to an employer, you may struggle to break into Cybersecurity and end up with a large amount of debt and no job.
It’s critical to do your research on the school, examine the curriculum, get hands-on experience and pick a career that has a strong job market so you will be able to find work upon graduation easily – Cybersecurity is one of those fields.
Plus, if you choose this path, you’ll always have room to grow. You’ll continually be learning new skills and working to understand new technologies. New challenges will keep popping up, and you’ll be exposed to a multitude of new people, situations, and opportunities.
It’s a common misconception that you must go to a four-year College or University to land a well-paying job. Getting cybersecurity certifications can earn you a higher salary than the one might get after putting in four years. What more could you ask for in a career?