How to Earn a Degree While Working Full-time

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With the job market constantly fluctuating, it’s not hard to see why so many members of the workforce are returning to school. Many careers that were in demand as recently as a decade ago are currently on the downswing, thereby facilitating the need for people to broaden their respective skill sets.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the financial security to simply quit our current jobs and return to classroom. However, while earning a degree as an employed adult can be challenging, it’s by no means impossible.

Keep Your Class Load Manageable

When returning to school after a lengthy absence from the classroom, the worst thing you can do is overexert yourself. Far too many adult learners take on heavier class loads than they can handle, which often results in them becoming overwhelmed and quitting.

The temptation to sign up for too many courses is certainly understandable; after all, some schools charge students the same rate per semester regardless of how many classes they take, and it’s only natural for people to want the most for their money. Additionally, the more classes you take, the faster you’ll be able to earn your degree. Regardless, signing up for more classes than you can reasonably handle while working full-time is practically guaranteed to burn you out.

For the best results, limit yourself to no more than four classes per semester. While this will still require a time commitment on your end, it should be manageable as long as you put in the work. Furthermore, if four classes prove to be too many, don’t be afraid of dropping a class or two. Depending on the difficulty of the courses and the demands of your job, this may ultimately be a necessary step. Yes, your degree is important, but so are your health and well-being.   

Adhere to a Set Schedule

Solid time management is an absolute must for working adults returning to the classroom. In the absence of good time management skills, earning a degree while working a full-time job is next to impossible. With this in mind, it’s imperative that you create a manageable schedule and meticulously stick to it. This means carving out a block of time for your studies each day and never wavering from it.

Your designated study periods can occur at any time of day that’s convenient for you. For example, if you’re a morning person, getting up an hour early and using the additional time for schoolwork may prove feasible. Alternatively, if you do your best thinking at night, your study time should take place after you’ve gotten home and come down from the day.  

For people whose time management skills are lacking, sticking to a schedule may initially prove challenging. However, after a few weeks of adhering to your new routine, it should become considerably easier. As an added bonus, your heightened time management abilities will serve you well in many other areas of life.  

Consider Online College

In recent years, online degree programs have become viable alternatives to the brick-and-mortar college experience — and frankly, it’s not hard to see why. In addition to being occasionally more cost-effective than traditional degree programs, online programs are ideal for working adults with packed schedules. Whether you’re hoping to earn a sports management online masters or a basic B.A. in business, going the online route can be beneficial to both your work schedule and personal finances. Rather than adhere to the inflexible schedules of professors and traditional schools, you can attend classes and turn in coursework on your time when earning a degree online.   

The American job market has become stuck in a state of perpetual ebbing and flowing. The speed with which in-demand careers become the jobs of yesteryear has increased exponentially in recent decades. Although previous generations were able to comfortably work in a single field throughout their entire professional lives, this is far from the case with modern-day members of the workforce. With the demands of the job market seemingly changing by the day, many adults have little choice but to continue their educations. However, since earning a degree represents a substantial commitment, returning to school while working full-time can be a daunting prospect. While this can present some challenges for working adults, it’s entirely doable — provided the previously discussed pointers are put to good use.   

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