Resolving to Go Back to School
In our article, Redefining Your Career in the New Year, we address how to plan for a career change. In outlining the process, one area we addressed was the potential need of further education, especially for those looking to shift careers completely. If you think this may apply to you, there are several questions you will need to address before you embark on the process of continuing education.
The first and most important part of the decision making process is to examine the reasons behind your desire to go back to school. A weak economy and a poor jobs outlook conjure up an immediate reaction by many that their only option is additional education, and this is the one thing that will propel them towards job success. While this is certainly true in many cases, the best approach is to research job opportunities and requirements necessary very closely before you make the investment to go back to school.
While advancing your education may open up opportunities for higher-paying jobs, you will also need to determine if the cost, time and commitment required will help in your overall job search. If you are resolved to going back to school this coming year, do the research first. This will lead to asking how you looking to augment your education.
Your education requirements may simply involve completing a certificate program, or may require a degree. Determining what level of education is needed will better help in choosing a program that best suits your career objectives.
Once you’ve made this assessment, determine if you can afford to go back to school. There are many affordable options today including certificate training and online courses. You can also explore if your company offers any form of tuition reimbursement. Leveraging the benefits your company offers is a good way to secure additional training.
Will you be able to manage the time and energy it will take to pursue additional schooling? Going back to school may take a significant commitment of your time, not to mention financial resources. It’s best to decide early on if you are willing to make this investment before you pursue additional schooling.
Ultimately you will need to decide if going back to school will help you secure a new job, advancement for your current job or open up new opportunities. Examine the reasons why you are choosing to go back to school and if they will align with your goals. Education is always useful and beneficial; however, before you embark on a costly endeavor of time and money, you should assess whether it will pay off in the long–term. And before you put in the time, effort and energy it will take to complete a course or degree program, it’s best to asses how this will impact your career.For more information on school programs and other career advice, read our career articles.