These days, career changes are incredibly common. In fact, some experts predict the average worker will have five different careers throughout their lifetime!

If you’re one of the many working adults considering a career change, you may be hesitant to make the move. This is a major shift we’re talking about. You’re going to need some serious training if you want to be a competitive candidate on the talent market in your new industry.

Going back to school is one great way to get the comprehensive training you’ll need to position yourself for success in your new field. But can you really afford to drop everything and go back to class? How will you pay your bills? Who will take care of your children?

Full-time schooling may be out of the question, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go back to get an advanced degree. Today, there are many nontraditional options for adult learners who want to go back to school on their own time.

Looking for a way to fit school into your busy schedule? Try these options:

1. Online Programs

These days, everyone from community colleges to the Ivy League offers online classes. You can take an entire course — and in many cases, complete an entire degree program — right from the comfort of your own home. That way, you can keep your day job while studying during the nights and weekends.

Check Out: Southern New Hampshire University offers a variety of fully online business degree programs in concentrations like accounting, business administration, and marketing.

2. Hybrid Classes and Low-Residency Programs

Hybrid classes are classes that meet both online and in person. This option is best for those looking to complete much of their coursework online, but who would still like some face time with their classmates and professors.

Low-residency programs are a form of hybrid class. In this model, most of the learning takes place online, but there is also in-person instruction that is typically concentrated in a brief period of time. For example, members of a low residency program may come together for one weekend of intense in-person learning on campus.

Check Out: The New England Institute of Technology’s criminal justice degree program offers a mix of online, blended, and face-to-face formats to accommodate students’ busy schedules.

3. Self-Paced Programs

In traditional programs, classes meet at specific times on specific days, and assignments have particular deadlines that must be met. Self-paced programs are more flexible. Typically, students have a period of time within which to complete all course requirements, which may include watching video lectures, reading books, and doing assignments. Self-paced programs are great for people whose busy schedules prevent them from attending class meetings at specified times, or those who simply want more control over their coursework.

Check Out: Thomas Edison State University’s nursing degree program is offered on a flexible basis with rolling admissions. Students can apply any time and conduct their studies on a self-paced schedule.

4. Taking It One Course at a Time

Many schools don’t require you to enroll full-time to take classes. In fact, many colleges will allow you to complete a degree program one class at a time. This option is great for those who want the traditional college class experience but can’t commit to a full-time course load.

Check Out: Wilkes University provides evening classes in business administration, computer information systems, and a variety of other fields. Non-degree students can be admitted on a class-by-class basis, provided they are qualified.

Once you’ve settled on an option that works for you, it’s time to find a school that offers the right program in the format that fits your life. You can make that search easier by using With rankings, tuition costs, and in-depth information on more than 8,000 colleges and universities, can help you find the program that fits your busy schedule without breaking the bank.

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