11 December 2013
Hit The Books: 10 Great Reasons to Go Back to School

A lot of people are making career changes to adapt to the new economy. One way to create a new career is by returning to school. It may have been a while since you crammed for a test, but the benefits of continuing education can deliver for a lifetime.

So whether you’re just starting out in the world of work, you’re on a plateau in your current career, or you just want to try something new, here are 10 great reasons to go back to school.

1. Move up a pay grade. Jobs, from classroom teachers to government workers, often have pay grades – rates at which employees are paid. By acquiring a degree, you may move up a pay grade or two and earn more each week.  Consider the cost of a new certification or a college degree – an investment that may pay weekly cash benefits – and make sure it will pay off in your situation.

2. Land a job. If you’ve been job hunting without success, acquiring new, in-demand skills may punch up your resume, and help you land a job. You can build on your current set of skills with in-depth training, or simply move into a new career that requires new skills. Make yourself more valuable to a prospective employer with skills in demand today within your business sector.

3. Update your skills before returning to the workplace. If you’ve been out of the workplace for a few years, you’ll probably find that technology has changed, the workplace has changed and business systems have changed. In some cases, where licenses, certifications or other accreditations are required, you may have to be re-tested to obtain an updated license. School is the place to update, or upgrade, your skills.

4. Eliminate that “nagging feeling.” Perhaps you were in school, but circumstances prevented you from completing your training or education. That may nag at some people. Complete what you started for a sense of personal satisfaction. That extra education may change your life in a lot of other ways.

5. Start over. A lot of us make career choices when we’re 18 or 20 years old. It’s not unusual to realize that your first choice wasn’t the best one. Your interests, or maybe the job market, have changed. It’s never too late to start a new career, and school can help prepare you for a career that you’ll find meaningful at this point in your life. For many people, work provides more than a paycheck. It can provide personal satisfaction and pride in a job well done.

6. Meet people like you. Going back to school puts you with a group of people who share the same interests, talk about the same things, enjoy doing a certain type of work – people with dreams, objectives, visions, and values like your own. When you return to the classroom, some of these people may become future employers or employees, sub-contractors, business partners, or other service and product suppliers. School can be a great place to network with people just like you.  

7. Get a head start toward earning more. While it may not be true in all fields, in general, the more education you have, the higher your starting position in the workplace. Instead of working your way up from an entry-level position, a degree or certification may let you get hired at a higher level, with a better salary.

8. Set an example for your children. If parents don’t value education, there’s a chance the kids won’t either. By going back to school, you set an example and make an important statement – that education is important. Instill those values in your kids by hitting the books.

9. Education fits into your schedule.  Community colleges and vocational schools may offer classes morning, day, and evening to fit into your busy schedule.  Many schools even enable you to attend classes remotely, from home, using your computer. If your job requires continuing education units to maintain your professional license, the Internet offers online instruction to simplify meeting those requirements.

10. Keep your brain sharp. If you’re enjoying retirement, consider enrolling in the local college. Many of these schools have special programs for seniors that allow you to audit classes for a low fee, or no fee at all. It’s a great way to keep your brain – and your body – active. You’ll be surrounded by the excitement of campus life, you’ll have something to occupy your time and your mind, and you may make new friends and meet new people.

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.

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