So, you’ve completed your college degree, and perhaps you’ve been working for a while now. Maybe whatever you’re doing right now is quite right for you. Alternatively, you may have earned your degree, but now you’re unsure what to do next (or maybe you’re even struggling to find your first footing in your chosen field of work).
Whatever the case, it can feel overwhelming and perhaps even disappointing at this stage if you’re bewildered and not having as much luck or direction as you had hoped; all that hard work you put in, only to find that you’re not where you thought you would be.
The good news is that this feeling is quite normal; you’re not alone. These unsure thoughts and emotions can be dealt with, and you do have options. One of those options among the many is to go back to school and take another program. This might be another bachelor’s degree; it could be a master’s, or perhaps it’s something more specific, depending on the career you want to pursue once you’re done.
Although this might seem like even more hard work (and the truth is it will be) and perhaps even a step backward, you need to look at the bigger picture. If you can get this other qualification, would it make a difference in how you feel about your career? Would it mean you could get a different job? How about changing careers? What if it could help you move forward and see your dreams come true? If it would, it’s worth the short-term hardship, isn’t it?
If you’re still not sure what you should be doing despite having a degree already, read on for some inspiration. Here are some great reasons to keep learning after your first degree.
New Career Paths
In the past, people would pick a career and stick with it. They might not like what they were doing, but that was their job, and there was nothing much else they could do about it once they started. Today, however, things are different – it’s almost expected that people will try a variety of different jobs and careers before settling down into one they like. Or perhaps they never settle; many people continue to try all kinds of roles.
There is no stigma attached to switching professions and exploring new career avenues like there once was, and you can effectively do what you like in terms of jobs. In fact, trying different jobs and venturing down new career paths could even be seen as a positive thing; it means you’re searching for the job that works best for you, and you’re happy to try new things.
However, there are limitations to this. There will be some jobs that you can’t just walk into without the right qualifications, and although your first degree will open many doors, some will remain firmly shut. If you want those doors to open, you’ll need additional qualifications; you’ll need to go back to school. This is why it’s important to think carefully if you want to start an entirely new career.
If your first degree will not help you get the job you desire, will it help you get a head start on further education? Could you get a master’s, perhaps? Or do you need to start again, but with the added knowledge of how to deal with college life? These are certain questions that need to be asked, and this is why, at a certain point, your new career ideas can’t be undertaken on a whim; planning has to be thoroughly involved.
Career Advancement Opportunities
Of course, some people will find a career they love and stick with it. They won’t want to keep switching from sector to sector, and they’ll gain a lot of knowledge and experience from simply doing their job every day. If you are one of these people, do you even need to consider returning to school to obtain another degree or a certificate?
You might think the answer is no, but that’s not always accurate. You might not have to get any more qualifications and education, that is perfectly true – but what would the outcome be if you did? Could you advance your career in a way you wouldn’t be able to do if you didn’t go back to school? This is actually highly likely.
In some specialized careers, you can only get ahead if you have the right qualifications, no matter what experience you have. Take nursing, for example. You might have an MSN in nursing, but in order to get to the next level in your career, you may well need something more, such as the Rockhurst online AGACNP post-master’s certificate available through Rockhurst University.
By going back to college – even if online, which is helpful when you have responsibilities like a family to care for – you can gain the additional knowledge you need to move into the area of your career you want to and the degree (or postgraduate degree or qualification) itself will be proof of that.
Although it is possible to move forward without going to college and continuing to learn, this is only true of some careers. In others, like nursing, as mentioned above, it would be impossible to get ahead without this. Make sure you know what your career plan is ahead of time to ensure you are aware of everything you’ll need to do to reach your goals.
Keeping Up To Date
Are you the kind of person who likes to keep up with trends and stay up to date with what’s happening in the world? Many people are like this; they don’t want to be left behind. However, even if this is not your usual way of being, when it comes to your career and education, you might have to be. The truth is that the world moves on quickly, especially with so many technological innovations, and if you’re not aware of what’s happening, you could get left behind. This can make it hard to work productively, find new jobs, or advance in your current one.
So it could be that returning to school to continue your education and earn some form of qualification is a good idea. You can become entirely up to date and ensure that, when you want to move forward in whatever way is best for you, you can. It also means you can do the best for the people you’re helping through your job. From nursing to teaching to retail, the more you know about up-to-date practices, the better able you are to do your job in the right and most effective way.
Although it’s clear it’s a good idea to take on additional learning at some point in your life – perhaps straight after obtaining your first degree or maybe many decades later – there are some issues with this prospect. The biggest one is the cost involved. Is it really worth spending the money needed to go back to school?
This is something you’ll need to decide for yourself. You’ll have to look at the cost and then determine how much further you may be able to advance your career and figure out how much more you might be able to earn with that extra qualification. Having additional qualifications doesn’t always translate to higher earnings and greater job potential – which is important to keep in mind and be realistic.
One thing to note is that there is a more affordable alternative to a traditional college degree. If money is holding you back, you could take an online degree. Since there are no costs for the college in terms of building or traditional staffing costs, the fees are often (although not always) less expensive. Plus, you won’t have to spend any money on transport or accommodation to study. This means online college is typically a more affordable option that you could try rather than a standard, brick-and-mortar university.
Shorter Study Time
How long is a degree course? Depending on what you are studying, it can be anything from two to four years, with three being the average. This is a long time not to be earning money, and it’s a long time to dedicate to study when you have other responsibilities, whatever they might be. Remember, this is your second time at college. The first would likely have been when you were younger without any bills to pay, a mortgage, or a family to take care of.
The good news is that you can find the ideal programs to take that are much shorter. You’ll need to search around, and you’ll need to determine whether or not these shorter (perhaps as little as a year) options can truly help you get where you want to be – but they could be an option if you want to cut down on the amount of time you need to study.
Alternatively, perhaps a part-time program would be better for you. This would mean your learning takes more time – double what it would if you were studying full-time, in a lot of cases – but it would also mean you wouldn’t have to change your routine and lifestyle as much as if you want back to school on a full-time basis. What will work best for you?
You Can Re-Enter The Workforce
So far, this guide has discussed those who want to advance their careers or change their career goals and do something new. It hasn’t mentioned those who have taken time out of the workforce for any reason (to raise a family, because of sickness, through travel, and so on) and who now want to re-enter it. For these people, an additional degree could be exactly what they need.
The world of work is a competitive one, perhaps more so right now than in the past. New jobs are being created, but many are being removed thanks to automation and technology taking over. Jobs that existed in the past aren’t there anymore, and if your original qualifications and experience were in one of those roles, it’s going to be harder to get back into the workforce because you may not have what a current employer is looking for. Going back to school to update your skills and knowledge so you can apply for newer jobs is thus beneficial in that circumstance.
Not only will you have the knowledge required, but taking the initiative and returning to the classroom (physical or online) will be something most potential employers will be happy to see. Although never guaranteed, it might put you ahead of the competition because the employer will likely understand that you are willing to work hard and that you know where your strengths and weaknesses lie. More than that, you know how to deal with them. This will certainly be a skill that helps you in the workplace, and demonstrating it through obtaining an additional degree is ideal.
For Personal Fulfillment
Continuing your education is not all about advancing your career. It’s not about your career at all in some cases. In fact, for some, it might not actually help them in a real sense – in the sense of gaining a promotion or being able to find a better job, for example (although there is always a good chance that this will be the case, of course).
For some, gaining a second degree, whether it’s another bachelor’s qualification or a master’s (or even earning a third or fourth degree, at which point it could be a Ph.D., for example), is actually about their own personal fulfillment. It’s about showing themselves and those around them that they can do it.
After all, not everyone can achieve these things. Not everyone can keep learning or has the motivation to do so when they technically don’t have to. Therefore, obtaining further qualifications is something to be extremely proud of, and this can be enough of a reason to do it if you want to.
If you enjoy learning and there is something you have always wanted to know more about, enrolling in a college program could bring you a sense of personal growth and fulfillment. It might even help you feel more motivated in other areas of your life, including your career – this is true even if the degree you are studying has nothing to do with your job.