Not everybody knows exactly where they want their career to go. These days there are many other priorities to consider such as your health and fitness, your family, and your home life. Making time for everything isn’t easy when you’re trying to develop a career and work full time. This is why more and more people are looking online for solutions.
Online studies, courses, and education isn’t a new concept. However, it is becoming a more popular option for busy people looking to get ahead in their careers. Studying online is much more private. You don’t have to take time off work, so your boss and your colleagues don’t need to know that you’re working toward new qualifications at all.
Studying online also means the college or University is open twenty-four hours a day. All of your resources, your coursework, and your submissions can be accessed whenever you want. In some cases, this can also include access to your course instructors or mentors. There are often online forums and discussion boards you can use to help you meet and work with other online students too.
So how can you make online studies work for you? How can you get where you want to be in life?
Where Do You Want To Be?
Firstly, you need a plan. This might involve you having a clear vision of where you want to be in life. Many of us have goals and ambitions, but sometimes we can be fuzzy on the finer details of the type of job we want. So start with what you do know. If you know you want to be earning in a particular salary bracket, jot that down. Now you can do some online research to see what kind of jobs command that salary.
Perhaps you want to be the boss of a department one day? Chances are some management courses would help you prepare for this. Can you find any online courses that will help you qualify as a manager? Don’t forget to check the progression or career paths on offer for each sector you are most interested in. If you want to jump in at the deep end, you might need a Masters degree or a degree that offers you practical experience or work placements.
How Will That Affect Your Lifestyle?
How will studying online affect your lifestyle? Chances are, it will slot right in without too much upheaval. Many Masters courses ask for around 60 to 65 credit hours, especially if your Bachelors is in an unrelated discipline. The best thing about studying online is you can usually pace your progress to suit your lifestyle. Perhaps you should be more concerned with how your lifestyle might change when you’re ready to start that new job!
Understanding the requirements of a role is essential if you want to make your studies worthwhile. Will you be expected to work weekends, holidays, or evenings? Retail careers often have this as a standard requirement. So could work in Healthcare. Of course, if office work really doesn’t suit you, then you might be keen to develop a career in something that will lead to a more active or outdoor role. Studying for something new can get you the lifestyle and the work-life balance you’re looking for.
Am I Qualified Enough?
There are thousands of online courses that have no prerequisites whatsoever. These are perfect for refreshing your skill set, developing new interests, or just dipping your toe in the water to see if it might suit you. Some formal qualifications or certification might require some academic attainment behind you already. Of course, if you want a Masters, you need to have a Bachelor degree already.
Some Bachelor degrees don’t have any prerequisite. The course is designed to bring you up to a Foundation stage before progressing into the higher standards. You might mistakenly believe you need your Bachelor degree to relate to any further education or Masters that you’re interested in. This isn’t necessarily the case. There are social worker online programs that will reward you with a Masters in Social Work upon completion. It doesn’t matter if your Bachelors is completely unrelated.
It might depend on the area you want to go in. Social work is just one career choice that might interest you. You don’t need any previous experience or related certification. There are others where you might need to start at the bottom and work your way through each level.
What Options Are There?
Many online courses are developed and managed by independent education facilities. Others are part of an established and respected University campus. Of course, if you can afford the time to attend seminars, classes, and work experience, you are likely to achieve more benefits from your studies. For most online courses and qualifications, this isn’t necessary.
Is Online Studying The Best Option For Me?
Online studying is ideal if you’re keen to progress your career without excessive expense or cost to your time. If you need your studies to fit around a busy lifestyle or full-time job, then this could be the ideal route for you. However, if you’re easily distracted and need more of a classroom environment to facilitate your learning, this might not work out.
You must be motivated and keen on your subject if you are to be successful at studying in any capacity. You should have a clear journey path into your ideal job to keep you on track. Most importantly, you must have some regular time every week to dedicate to your studies.
How Far Can I Go?
Masters and PhDs are available through online study. It will depend on your subject or area of interest whether these options are available to you. If you are keen on just one University or educational facility, you might be limited to other choices for study. As for your career? A degree is a degree. If you have the qualification or certification and it is current, you will be a valued employee.
Do I Have To Study?
Your choice for a career might not require any further study or qualification at all. Until you’ve researched that sector and the career progressions it offers, you won’t know for sure. Continuous professional development is essential for many careers. Technologies and best practices change regularly, so you will need to continue your studies to stay up to date.
When Can I Start And How Long Will It Take?
Many online courses start whenever you’re ready. Some Universities and course providers offer several intake dates per year. Your studies will involve a minimum or set number of hours, but you might be able to undertake them all in one go. Perhaps you can qualify in just a few days? If you need to fit your studies around other commitments, then you could even spread your course over several years.
Any continuous professional development looks good on your resume. If you can add formal or recognized qualifications to your list, most employers will hold that in high regard. In that respect, none of it will be wasted time, even if you choose a different career path at the end.
Think about how much you learned at school and college? Something from that time is supporting what you do now and will continue to help you achieve more academically over time.
Getting into the habit of studying and learning new things is good for us. How far will your curiosity and passion for learning take you?