Adult Education - Going Back to School

The worldwide recession and slowdown of economy is something that has affected everyone. If you're someone who has lost their job due to the economy, there is hope. Look at the situation as a way to improve your status and increase one's learning by going back to college or trade school and applying for a degree.

Going in for a program of study, whether it's in your current field or in a new area of interest, is one of the ways to avoid the time gap on your resume. It may also be a valuable investment you may can make to improve your career and lifestyle in the long term. The key to earning a higher salary is to be highly educated, whether through a graduate level program or a certificate course from a trade school.

Adapting to being a student again

In the past few years, the changes in the education system have made it easier for professionals to go back to college and trade schools. Colleges are also offering flexible timings and evening and weekend classes for those who want to work part-time while earning their degree.

Many colleges and universities offer credit for work experience, so be sure to ask the school what constitutes work and life experience. Depending on the educational institution, returning students might have to prove prior knowledge to get course credit.

On the emotional level, many adult students are wary of adjusting to campus life, but the number of adults who now make up the student population is growing quite rapidly. Online education is a good option if you would rather not attend classes physically.

The age of specialization

With the recession, professionals who are furthering their education are selecting career-focused courses instead of liberal arts or general degrees. The amount of specialization has been significantly increasing, as the need for degrees that translate well into jobs rises. In today's competitive and rather ruthless job market, it is vital to have a specialized degree or certificate course to ensure stability in your finances and career.

When selecting a course of study, ensure that the college or trade school you select has a high level of expertise on the subject. Going for an online degree is a good option as well, especially if you're looking for a specialized degree that is not available in your local area. There are also a number of options depending on how much time you want to devote to your education - some institutions offer fast-track classes where an MBA can be completed in 10 months instead of the usual 2 years.

Financial aid options

Check with universities about special financial aid offers, as many educational institutions are waiving tuition or offering scholarships to workers who have been laid off. Many universities have also created special programs for the education of such people, focusing on aspects that will increase their job prospects as well as salaries. Earning a degree online is also a good way to save money and time in commuting.

The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and the Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) programs of the US Department of Labor offer a wide variety of assistance to those who have been laid off. Workers who are certified through this program will be able to receive benefits such as financial aid for further education for up to 2 years. Local job assistance programs in the community are a great source of information on career choices, school and financial aid options. Also visit our article Financial Aid for addional information.

Applying for a degree or updating your knowledge with a refresher course is one of the crucial ways for career advancement and to increase your marketability. Even in the current downturn, those with degrees are faring better, so having a degree is absolutely essential for one's financial security. It might just make the difference between getting a job and having a long-lasting and satisfying career. If you're thinking about a career change, look to fields that are faring better, those that are likely to continue to do so in the future and those where jobs cannot be outsourced or shipped elsewhere.

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