October 1, 2018

3 Signs You Should You Go Back to School to Advance Your Career

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Long gone are the days of staying with one company for life. Today, young professionals expect to work for five or more different employers throughout the course of their careers, and they may have as many as 11 different jobs by the time they retire.

What’s the reason for all this professional movement? There are a variety of factors at work, but one driving force is the increasing importance of meaningful work. Not content to settle for any old job, today’s workers are looking for opportunities that feel fulfilling to them. They are taking their careers into their own hands.

Chances are you feel the same way about your career — but you may be wondering: “If I take control of my professional journey, how do I get the professional development I need to succeed?” With the days of the employer-for-life gone, so, too, are the days of being able to rely simply on the tips and tricks you pick up around the office to get ahead.

One option for professionals looking to progress in their careers is going back to school to earn an advanced degree. With the proliferation of nontraditional degree programs, online courses, and flexible schooling options, it is easier than ever for working professionals to go back to school without dropping out of the workforce. If you find the right university, you can get the education you need in a way that fits your budget and schedule.

If any of these three signs apply to you, then going back to school is the best decision you can make for your career today:

1. Your Skills Are Outdated

Take a look at your current skill set: Is it up to snuff, or could it stand some updating? Telltale signs that your skills are outdated include:

Your Job Is Disappearing: Fewer and fewer companies are hiring people who do what you do. Instead, your responsibilities are being automated away — or phased out of businesses altogether.

You’re Still Doing Things the Way You Always Have: New tech tools are coming out every day — but you don’t know how to use any of them. Your colleagues are upping their productivity by leveraging new strategies and techniques, but you’re still doing everything the old way.

It’s Hard to Keep Up With Industry Discussions: Everyone’s talking about a hot new trend in your field — but you’ve never heard of it. When you read up on it, you’re still a bit confused.

Why You Should Head Back to School

Beyond getting you caught up with the trends of the moment, formal schooling will help you gain the mindset you’ll need to stay current as your field continues to evolve — and it will evolve. The pace of business is faster than ever, and it shows no signs of slowing any time soon.

2. You Want More Responsibility — But You Can’t Seem to Get It

You’ve been angling for a promotion for years. You constantly go above and beyond, always taking on additional responsibility to prove to your supervisor that you can handle it.

And yet, you always get passed over when a new job opens up, your manager telling you “It’s not time yet.”

Why You Should Head Back to School

If your manager isn’t willing to promote you even after you’ve demonstrated your ability to do the job, it’s generally because they’re worried about your leadership skills. You can handle the work, but they’re not sure you can handle leading a team.

Heading back to school helps in two ways: First, it allows you to take classes specifically designed to boost your leadership skills in your field. Second, it also shows you’re a self-starter who takes initiative — in other words, the perfect candidate for a leadership role.

If it seems like promotions always go to outside candidates instead of existing employees, credentials may also be a factor. The external candidates just have better resumes. This, too, is something you can address by going back to school and earning an advanced degree.

3. Your Industry Doesn’t Fulfill You Anymore

Your job isn’t as exciting as it used to be — that’s why you’re itching to advance. But before deciding a promotion is all you need, take a look at the industry as a whole. Do you still want to be in this field? If you climbed to the next rung of the corporate ladder, would you really be more fulfilled, or would you be just as passionless?

Why You Should Head Back to School

If your whole industry has you burnt out, it’s time to make a massive career move and change your field. With the majority of jobs requiring a college education, it is likely that potential employers will be looking for your credentials. Going back to school gives you the degree you’ll need to catch the right attention, plus the crucial foundational knowledge that will allow you to hit the ground running when you make the transition.

Now that you’ve taken a self-inventory, you should know whether going back to school is the right choice for you.

If it is, the next step is finding the school or program that meets your needs. For that, check out Universities.com. With rankings, tuition costs, and in-depth information on more than 8,000 colleges and universities, Universities.com can help you find the program that fits your busy schedule without breaking the bank.

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