School’s Not Out: How to Advance Your Career Through Continuing Education
You’ve hit a wall.
Your boss has asked you to complete a task but you have no idea how to do it because the technology has changed so much in your job field. So, you end up spending hours with your head in a manual and turn in your assignment late.
It sounds like it’s time to teach this old dog a few new tricks by looking into continuing education programs. These programs can walk you through all the changes that have happened in your career field and give you the skills you need to advance forward.
Does all of this sound great to you? If so, check out these tips on how to advance your career with continuing education.
1. How You’ll Benefit in the Long Run
Before we get into how to choose a school and how to succeed in their programs, let’s give you a little bit of motivation to get started with the process. Here are a few benefits that will come your way when you choose to continue your education.
It Looks Great in the Eyes of Your Employer
Employers love employees that show a strong effort in the workplace.
When you inform your boss that you’re planning on taking classes, it will show them that you’re willing to keep up with advances in the company so you can keep producing quality work. It will also tell them that you’re a trustworthy worker because you’re committed.
You’ll Learn New Skills
Technology is constantly evolving which means the required skill set for jobs is always changing.
By taking classes you’ll be able to keep up with the newest skill requirements for your job field. It’s also nice to have these skills on your resume in case you decide to get back into the job search game at some point.
Gain More Motivation
When you get behind in the technology in your workplace, you’ll lose your confidence and your self-esteem will drop.
This will have a huge negative impact on your productivity. Continuing your education will help you gain a new appreciation for your job and give you the confidence boost you need to advance.
2. Types of Continuing Education
Do these benefits have you interested into looking into programs?
If so, then it’s time to weigh your educational choices. The main two are going to be heading to a university or doing courses online.
Going to a University
While online learning and going to a university are both valid choices, you’ll develop personally a little more when you take physical classes. You’ll also have a lot more networking opportunities through your university staff and it makes for more hands-on learning.
The negatives with going to a university are that it’s hard to juggle with a full-time job and it’s expensive. If your work schedule is a little hectic or you’re not in a good place financially, it may be best to go with online learning.
If you want to improve on the new advances in your workplace then online learning is a great choice. You can pick and choose courses based on what you want to learn. The only real requirement for online classes is that you turn your assignments in on time.
You’ll never have to physically be in a classroom so it gives you a little more flexibility to work and go to school at the same time. You’re also only paying for the classes that you take and maybe textbooks so it’s a lot cheaper than attending a university.
4. How to Succeed in Your Chosen Program
Choosing a university or online program is the easy part of continuing your education. You have to go through certain lengths to make sure you succeed with it. Here are a few tips.
Decide On Your Goals
You have to identify why you are going back to school and this answer can’t be because you can. If you don’t come up with a valid reason it’s very likely that you’ll lose motivation halfway through. Sit back with a pen and a piece of paper and really write out your goals.
Do you want to impress your boss by strengthening your skills so you can get a promotion on down the line? Do you want to leave your current career field altogether and try something new? Both of these are great reasons.
After you write down your goals, you should get feedback from a professional in your field.
If your goal is to advance in your current company then you can take your questions to HR or even your boss. If your goal is to go into a new career then you can research big influencers in that field and reach out to them.
These people will be able to talk to you about your goals and suggest programs and schools that would be a good match for you. This will ensure that you don’t waste your time with a program that won’t actually help you, won’t be so hard that you quit, or be so easy that you don’t benefit from it.
Consider Your Schedule
Going back to school calls for quite a bit of schedule juggling and if you can’t handle that or don’t have the time then you may be setting yourself up for failure.
Take a look at your current work schedule and see if you have time gaps during the day where you can fit in classes or course work. The biggest part of succeeding in school is time management so you have to be able to commit to that. If that means doing your homework during your lunch at work then so be it.
Choosing the Right School and Program
Going to an accredited university is great and all but if the program you go into doesn’t actually help you then all you come out with is a piece of paper. To make sure you’re picking the best program for you, take the time to do a little research.
Compare the new advancements in your career field to the school’s course list, check out reviews online, and look at what kind of experience the professors have (most school websites have a list of staff so you can get names and do research).
In short, do all you can to learn more about any program before you commit.
Going back to school is all well and good but if you can’t fund it then that will be a bit of a problem. The good news is that you have plenty of options in this regard.
Will Your Boss Fund it?
The last thing that you probably want is to get involved with loans to fund your education. That’s why you should ask your boss about helping you out first. If you’re a truly valuable employee many companies will actually pay you to go back to school.
Sit down with your HR department to see what they can do for you in this regard. The worse that they can do is tell you to go take a hike. Keep in mind that if your motivation for going back to school is to go into a new company you may want to try and go a different route in regards to funding.
Nine times out of ten companies will fund your education because it’s an investment in their business. The truth is, they will usually make you sign a contract before they do though.
This contract will bind you to the company for a few years when you get done with school to ensure you don’t use them to further yourself and then leave. It’s simply their way of protecting themselves and their money.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
If your HR department or boss won’t fund your education, you do have other options. There is always the tried and true FASFA and scholarships. Most students reach out to both.
There are many organizations that offer scholarships. Most of the time you just need to apply by writing a short essay.
How to Advance Your Career with Continuing Education
If the developing technology in your workplace is going a bit over your head, you may benefit from taking a few classes to catch yourself up. Use these tips on how to advance your career with continuing education courses to get in the know and head down the path to greatness.
Some classes are going to be harder than others when you go back to school. One subject that a lot of people struggle with is writing.
If this is your problem area then it may be time for you to hire a tutor. Keep reading to find out all the benefits of hiring an online writing tutor.