March 7, 2012: Getting Schooled

One of the hot-button topics in the U.S. is education. Everyone (or nearly everyone) agrees that education is vitally important. And the good news is there’s a lot of potential opportunity for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses in this market.

If you can train or teach (or hire the talent), research from IBISWorld shows more and more American adults are signing up for skills training, educational and certification courses to prepare them for a better future. In fact, according to IBISWorld, the “Testing and Educational Support” industry saw annual revenue growth of more than 6 percent over the past five years, reaching $15.4 billion. And the trend will continue, with revenues expected to hit $19.1 billion by 2016.

This sunny outlook is partly fueled by the ever-rising costs of going to college. Sageworks, a research firm, says the revenue growth of tech and trade schools (which topped 8 percent from 2008 to 2009) climbed to 15.22 percent in 2010 (the last year for which we have stats).

Performing particularly strongly (and as we reported last July), according to research company were cosmetology and barber schools (where future salon entrepreneurs go to get trained), which grew an astounding 29 percent from 2009 to 2010.

Language schools are also doing well these days. Inc. magazine attributes this to the “increasingly diverse U.S. population [and] the globalization of industries.” This has driven up enrollment in schools offering instruction in foreign languages, English as a second language and sign language. Language instruction, according to, is already a “$1 billion industry, with a 13 percent year-over-year growth rate.”

The truly good news is that education is a field that’s wide open for entrepreneurs, since the startup costs are relatively affordable.