How Much Education Do You Need to Be Successful in Business?

The cost of a college education has been trending upwards in recent years, seemingly headed towards the outer stratosphere. Unfortunately, starting salaries haven’t grown by a corresponding amount, which makes it challenging for new graduates to pay off their student loans.

This situation has sparked an ongoing public debate about whether higher education is actually worth its substantial price tag. Does a degree adequately prepare people for the “real world”? And, more importantly for aspiring entrepreneurs, do you need one to be successful in business? Let’s take a look at some of the varying training options that are available for people who want to start or grow their own businesses -- and let’s also discuss how each could potentially help a business owner.

Legal Requirements for Training

When you make any decision about what sort of training you need to start your own business, the first consideration is the legal requirements for training in that particular industry niche. This will differ greatly depending on the sort of business you want to start.

For example, if you want to start a business as a homebirth midwife, you will need to obtain a master’s degree in nursing or midwifery to comply with the law. These requirements are typically governed by the state in which the business will be active, and they will vary from state to state. Most businesses do not require an advanced degree, but there are some, like midwifery, that do.


Four-Year Colleges and Universities

Opinion is divided on whether entrepreneurs should have college or university training.

Some of the world’s most prominent entrepreneurs attended university but didn’t graduate. Prominent examples include Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, who didn’t complete his degree at Harvard University; and Bill Gates, co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation, who was similarly a Harvard University dropout.


Although they didn’t graduate, one could argue that the brief amount of schooling these entrepreneurs received probably did contribute in some ways to their successes. In particular, they made valuable friendships and associations by participating in university life.

The logical conclusion is that a four-year degree could be valuable for entrepreneurs; however, it isn’t essential unless the government requires it for businesses in the specific industry in which you’ve chosen to do business.


Trade Schools, Technical Schools and Community Colleges

If you’re interested in starting a business in a niche such as welding, a trade school or technical school might be the right choice for you. This option tends to be far less expensive than college, and it will teach you the specific technical skills you need for successfully operating a business in your chosen trade.


Certification Programs

Certification programs are useful in industries like tech where ongoing education is essential. Nowadays, with technology being such an important component of virtually all other industries, the information obtained from the typical four-year degree program is in danger of becoming quickly outdated.

Certification programs are frequently offered by the actual tech companies that make various software and hardware products available.

In academia, there is always a danger that you will be learning outdated info from instructors who have been out of their former industries for a substantial amount of time. Enrolling in a certification program gives you a greater amount of assurance that you’re learning the most up-to-date information.

In a business environment, this assurance is likely to be valuable, considering the ongoing challenges of keeping pace with technology. Your business cannot afford to fall behind its competitors, and certification programs can help you (or your employees, as the case may be) to stay current with technology.

Certifications are also available in niches like human resources. This is an area where laws change frequently, and it is important for business owners to stay current with new legislation.


MOOCs and Other Free Courses

Many universities and other organizations make their training materials available to the public at an affordable cost, or sometimes even for free, online through massive open online courses (also known as “MOOCs”). There are also various other types of free courses available.

These can be extremely valuable resources for business owners; however, they also have downsides. Two of the greatest downsides are as follows:

●  The free courses usually do not provide any interaction with other students or the instructor. The greatest value in education tends to result from the networking opportunities that classes present; therefore, choosing a free course usually means that you lose out on the potential to make valuable business connections while achieving your educational objectives.

●   Most people don’t actually complete the MOOCs they sign up for, presumably because there is no accountability to do the work or finish the course.

These aspects might or might not be deal breakers for you; and there could potentially be other considerations aside from these. If you’re wondering whether a free course could be the right option for you, you can learn more about free vs paid business courses at the website.

In todays’ technologically advanced marketplace of ideas, an entrepreneur will almost definitely need to have at least some education to succeed. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be formal education from a four-year university; many entrepreneurs can learn in other ways -- including being fully or partially self-taught -- and still enjoy tremendous success.


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