Retraining is the name of the game today. The recent years have put many in situations where they have been forced to confront the direction that their career and realize that it just wasn’t for them. They want something more. That more might be something that they are passionate about, or it may be more pay.
Ultimately it depends on what you value in your career. Some are only interested in the wage and how well it can fund the lifestyle they want – and that is a perfectly acceptable focus. Others want to work in a role that they are passionate about and enjoy. No matter what your goal is for your next career, this guide will help you get there.
Why You Should Retrain with an Online Degree
There are many reasons why you should retrain with a degree. Going back into education, especially if that degree is a step further in your education career, will give you more in-depth levels of knowledge and skills than attending workshops or learning on the job. In many roles, it is a critical requirement. If the role you want to work in needs you to have a license before you apply, then more often than not, you will need to have a recognized degree and have passed a state exam.
Going to a university also means expanding your network of professionals and benefitting from student and alumni services.
This doesn’t mean retraining with a degree is always worthwhile. You need to know when it is the right way to go and when alternative methods are a better fit. You don’t need to go to university to learn coding, for example, but if you do go down the self-taught route, then you need to be dedicated and build up a portfolio that can showcase your skills.
Being honest and realistic when it comes to whether your career would benefit from a second degree is important. The most important characteristic of any degree is that you see its value and believe it is worthwhile.
Continue Your Education
One of the most important things to consider before you set about completely retraining yourself is if you can simply further your education. If you have a bachelor’s degree already in a care-related career like social work or as a teacher, for example, then you can directly get started with a master’s that would specialize you in a different role.
If you currently work in education, for example, then you can work towards a degree in counseling. This SBU Online school counseling masters degree will give you the training you need to earn your license as a school counselor. Take that and apply to roles in high schools, colleges, universities, and even in non-profit organizations.
Continuing your education like this means you can kickstart your career in a new direction sooner, and often for less. Master’s programs usually take half the time that bachelor’s degrees do, and when you add the ability to complete many of these degrees online now, you can start to see their appeal.
You won’t have to quit your job and rely entirely on a loan to cover your living and education costs. Instead, you can take out loans that cover just your education and work to pay off a large part of what you owe before that interest rate starts to become a problem.
Expanding Your Education
If you want to alternatively work in an entirely new field, then chances are you will need to take on a second bachelor’s. This takes more time, but if you want to switch from a marketing role, for example, to working as a marine biologist, then you don’t have another choice.
If the new role and sector you want to work in don’t require that you have hard skills or technical knowledge, then there is the chance that you can use the transferable skills you have built up to get into the field of your dreams. You may not be able to work as a marine biologist after being a marketer, for example, but you can work as a marketer for a non-profit that is working to save the reefs or stop overfishing.
If your dream job does require those hard skills, however, then earning a second degree is going to be crucial. The good news is that even in this situation, you won’t usually have to start entirely from scratch. In many degrees, there are foundation courses and credits that have nothing or very little to do with the degree itself. You may need to take a philosophy credit, for example, in your first year in marine biology.
If you already took that philosophy credit as part of your first bachelor’s, then you will usually be able to transfer it so that you won’t have to take it again. This speeds up your second bachelors and lets you focus solely on the new information and skills you don’t have.
How to Complete an Online Degree While You Work
For many, the reason to take an online degree is to continue to work. This work may be something part-time, or it may be your full-time career. While online degrees are naturally a better fit for those who want to work and study at the same time, do know that not every online degree is going to let you do this. There are intensive online degrees meant to be completed full-time and those designed for working professionals.
Know what level of commitment the degree requires before you commit to it. If you are in any way confused, always get in touch with the admissions advisor. You may be able to take an intensive degree part-time so that you can work or take care of your home and kids, for example.
There are a lot of options when you negotiate, so don’t immediately disregard a top option because it doesn’t seem to fit your needs. Get in touch and see if anything can be done to help you with your goals.
Once you have a degree that supports your goal of either working at a job or at least caring for your household, then you’ll want to use these tips to help you with the balance:
1. Create and Stick with a Routine
One of the biggest challenges for many is staying consistent. Online degrees do not have physical classes to attend, which means it is entirely up to you. This is particularly true when you can log in from anywhere, at any time. Some online degrees have live classes and discussions which can help you enforce your routine. Some don’t. Know what your schedule looks like, and what pace you want to set for yourself, and then create the routine that will help you reach it.
If you are worried about not being able to keep up with your own goals, start in advance. You can take a free online course for fun before your degree starts so that you can get in the motions and build up the good habits that will help you succeed with your online degree. \
It is not easy to be a full-time parent, a full-time employee, or a full-time student. If you are taking on more than one of these roles on at a time, it can feel impossible. That is often because it is. The good news is that by prioritizing and working with friends and family, you can often juggle your responsibilities enough that you can do it all.
This does not mean that you will be able to do everything perfectly. Instead, work out in advance what is the priority and what isn’t. It can be critical that you go to your kid’s student recital, for example, but not important for you to go to every single soccer practice for example.
Know what is a glass priority, meaning damage will happen if you miss it, and what is a rubber ball that you can pick back up later when you have more room.
3. Stay Healthy
Health makes a massive difference to your ability to learn and juggle responsibilities. The difference in your day when you have a good night’s rest versus when you don’t is immense. This is another area where routine will make a huge difference in your ability to reach your goals.
For example, to get a good night’s rest you should aim to go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day. This resets your internal clock so that your body doesn’t fight against you and instead works with you.
Healthy living helps you manage stress, it helps you learn and memorize better, and it gives you the energy you need to accomplish all the tasks you need to do in a day.
Last tip: you need to give yourself time off. It is impossible to keep going without breaks, and those breaks need to be taken during the day and during the week. Make time for yourself, and you’ll be able to see your dreams come true.