When you’re working, it can be tough to further your education. Working, family obligations and lack of free time all contribute to a life that’s full without adding continuing education on top of it. There are ways to continue your education without taking on a huge amount of debt or losing time with your family. It’s all about finding ways to continue education in a smart way that will pay off with a higher salary like these mentioned by CNN Money.
One of the easiest ways to advance your career is with continuing education online. You can pursue a degree program that is entire online, which leaves you time to spend with your family. Instead of attending a four-hour class on campus, you can attend from the comfort of your home without the commute. It’ll save time and money to attend online. If you don’t want to commit to a degree, there are plenty of online courses that don’t require a huge commitment of time or money.
Your current employer might reimburse you for advanced education if it falls in line with the industry. Talk to the human resources department to find out how much they’ll reimburse you as well as what types of classes or degrees are covered. They’ll have all that information on hand for you. If you work for a smaller company, ask whether they’d be willing to help you pay for classes to learn a skill that would benefit the company like a certain piece of software that would make your job easier.
Find a Mentor
If there’s someone in the company that you admire, connect with this person on a deeper level. It’s highly likely that this person is incredibly busy. You might have to watch them from a distance or take time to learn about their background before introducing yourself. Find out where this person went to school. Learn about the things he or she does to advance their own educational needs and goals. You could connect on LinkedIn before meeting the person too. Even if the individual doesn’t have time to personally mentor you, he or she will have a blueprint you can follow for the same success if you find out more about the person.
Read Industry Books
Purchasing a book from an industry leader can become costly if you’re buying them as soon as they’re available. If you wait to purchase the book when it’s at your local library, you’re going to save a lot of money. If you find that it’s impossible to wait, purchase that book when it’s on sale during a promotion as an ebook. When you find a book that needs a deeper look, you can purchase it for your personal use. It’s best to try books before taking the plunge if you’re planning on using them for research or continuing learning and professional development.
Conferences and Expos
Expos and industry conferences will have speakers, open classes, networking events and discussions surrounding the type of field in which you work. Your boss might even cover the costs as part of your professional development. Some of the best companies want their employees to grow and continue learning in their field, and they’ll cover the costs. Almost every industry has a conference or expo that is interesting and packed full of valuable news and information.
Continuing education doesn’t always require a person to drive to their local college campus. The classes could be online as part of a degree program or in the form of local events and webinars for learning new skills. Trends in the industry change constantly, and the employee who stays current will have skills that stay relevant. The huge job site Monster recommends that employees attend conferences as well as joining professional associations to stay relevant in their field.