With one in four employers preferring new hires to have a master’s degree, there has never been a better time for working professionals to work towards their higher qualifications. You don’t need to take time out of work. You don’t have to make do with the night school options near you. Instead, you can choose the best degree for you from a highly reputable institution and do it all online.
You don’t need to move, can save massively on living costs, and more than that can often continue to work while you progress through your career.
This is how you can potentially work off your tuition fees while you continue through your degree, and also how you can start to put what you learn to good work. Done right, and by following this guide, you can succeed both online with your degree and use what you learn to further your career ambitions.
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First, Find the Right Degree for You
The most important step is finding the right degree that will help propel your ambitions and goals forward. You may want to focus on something that you are passionate about or may want to specialize in a relatively new field, where the wages and job roles are more prestigious and lucrative. Regardless of why you want the degree you end up going for, you will want to make sure it has a few key characteristics:
Help You With Your Career Ambitions
It’s important to explore your options. How else will you understand what degree options are out there, much less the ways in which you can direct your career? For example, if you are currently a web developer and have experience with coding languages, your options are actually limitless. Rather than continue to create widgets your entire life, you can move into things like AI engineering or data science. These roles are new, growing drastically, and, most importantly, pay very well.
You can and should be able to keep your options open with your degree, of course. If you are a web designer at the moment, you will want to look into a Data Science masters online degree, which will allow you to work in a wide range of different job roles, all earning over $100,000 annually.
You should have options with the degree you choose. The only time this won’t be the case is when you’re going for a very specific career route – specifically, the ones that require licensing to practice. If that is not you, then try to choose a degree that opens up new career branches and new ways for you to reach the top.
Comes with the Right Support
You need a lot of support when you are attempting a degree remotely. That is why when looking for and narrowing down your list of options, the amount of student support and the quality of that support matters. You need both a student success coach, as well as a careers center that can help you with your goals and with your career.
You should never be dropped the moment you graduate. Good universities continue to support their students in their careers. This can be through alumni access or through the ability to continually ask and get help from the careers center. One day you may be in a place to give back and mentor a recent graduate yourself.
Can be Customized to Suit Your Interests
Every degree should allow you to customize it based on your interests and ambitions. This is how you can really get the most out of your degree for your career. Not everyone is the same, and by allowing students to choose the courses and the concentrations as they continue through their degree. This is the best way to tweak what you do as you go.
You may, after all, decide that your initial plan doesn’t work for you and that you have a knack for a different concentration. You will have the ability to switch as you go and can even potentially swap out of courses at the start if you find that they don’t suit you.
The goal is to get the education that will help ignite your passion and help you with your career goals.
How to Work While Studying
Most of those who take on an online degree do so because they can continue to work. You will need to take on the minimum amount of credits at a time. On average, an online master’s takes approximately five semesters to complete, though you can take longer to more easily fit your degree around your existing responsibilities.
Always ask and talk with the student advisor in advance before you enroll. This way, they know what your schedule and goals are like and can help you plan accordingly. Not every degree is designed like this, either, which is another option to consider.
You can, for example, take a year or so off of work to smash through your master’s degree and prep yourself for a new career. There isn’t often a negative to this option, as you have a very positive reason for the gap in your employment. However, make sure you have enough finances to last you if you decide to stop working for a little while.
If you are planning to work while studying, you will need a very consistent, stable routine. This routine needs to make it easy to be healthy and to work consistently a little bit every day on your degree every day.
How to Use Your Degree to Further Your Career
Regardless of whether you take time away from work or continue to work while you study, it’s important to know what your degree can do for your career. A great way to get started is to show what you have learned to your employer.
Data scientists are needed by every business, for example, so if you are studying to become one and your company does not have its own team yet, then you can show what you have learned, help your business, get working experience, and showcase the value of your newfound knowledge.
Do this, and you have working experience, as well as a new degree, to help you either secure a new job role within your company or alternatively a new job at a new company.