You’ve seen friends and family head off to college for years, obtaining their four-year degrees and beyond. But this was never in your plan.
Perhaps life threw you a curveball in the form of early parenthood, familial obligations, or a whole string of life events that kept you from reaching an education beyond high school.
The good news? It’s never too late. Continued education is more popular than ever before and it doesn’t have to be limited to a certain age or skillset. If you’ve ever dreamed of having a new career or a different life, that goal is not yet out of reach.
Are You One of These?
Here are the two most common reasons people go back to school?
- You’re as high as you can go with your current company without getting a degree.
- You’re tired of working yourself to death and dream about a new career but don’t know where to start.
Continued education is great if you fall into either of these, and it’s easy to find. But you don’t need the credits. You just need the class. A recent study found that 37% of 163 different educational institutions offered non-credit programs. There are also schools all over the nation offering online certificates or generic credentials. This means that those interested in pursuing a different career path can begin to explore the possibility without spending a lot or placing their current steady paycheck at risk.
Affordable New Careers with Continuing Education, not a College Degree
You don’t need to dream small when it comes to continued education. There are many high-quality (and high-paying!) careers available for those looking to switch gears. One such example is working in real estate. Brokers typically require a certificate but not a four-year college degree. Instead, you can get your real estate license in the evenings or even online. It takes about 1-3 years to complete your certificate, with just one state licensure test at the finish line.
Be Your Own Boss with These Different Ideas
Starting your own business is another very real possibility. You don’t need a degree to start your own business as long as you have the determination, the startup capital, and a fundamental business sense. Take a class in Web design to learn about advertising and ecommerce options, or take culinary classes if you’ve dreamed of becoming head chef at the popular neighborhood restaurant. You can become a personal trainer with fitness and nutrition classes, a small boutique owner through honing your art skills, or even learn a trade with your hands like landscaping. The possibilities are truly endless for those embarking on a new career path – and they don’t always end with you sitting in a classroom.
Degree or CE – Which is Better?
Gone are the days where a diploma opened each and every door. Today’s educated individuals are a wide range of age, background and experience that makes the world an exciting and diverse place to work.
Continuing your education means opening yourself up to promotions and salary increases. If you’re a hard-working employee who expresses a desire to learn and grow through means that are realistic for you and your career, employers often take notice. And in some cases, they might even pay for your classes. You don’t have to be stuck in your current situation. Through continued education, you’ll show your current employer you are committed to your job and motivated to change and grow along with the times.