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What Online Learning Can Do For Your Career

Online LearningAdmit it: We all get into career ruts from time to time. After you've been in a certain industry or position for awhile and you know your job inside and out, it's easy to get comfortable. Maybe you're happy with just doing your everyday tasks, and the thought of re-training or going back to school sounds like too much effort.

But with the popularity of online classes spreading like wildfire, you’ve got no excuses. It’s time to go back to school to advance your career, and this is why:

Online Learning Fits Your Schedule

Back in the days of campus-only learning, it really was hard to go back to school. There was no way your boss was going to let you leave work at noon to attend a lecture for your MBA class. And, let's face it, night and weekend classes take up a lot of time. If you were someone juggling work, long commutes, and family, it often wasn't feasible.

Today, online classes allow you to go to class when and where you want to. Although it’s just as rigorous as going to an on-campus class, you can do it from your kitchen table, your backyard hammock, or your local library. Because the "when" and "how" is completely up to you; you can earn your degree in a way that truly fits your lifestyle.

You Need to Secure Your Position

Ask yourself this: How current are you on the trends in your field? Is your job knowledge becoming dated? Do you have what it takes to keep your company at the forefront of your industry?

If you hesitated to answer any of these questions, you should think about going back to school. In today's uncertain job market, you want to make sure you have all the skills you need to stay employed.

  • If you're in marketing or PR, that may mean taking online classes in social media.
  • If you're in construction, that may mean getting a professional certification in "green" building.
  • If you're in business, it may mean going back to school for your MBA.

It's not just about job skills either; a study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that the unemployment rate for people with master’s degrees was 3.9 %, while the rate for those with a high school diploma was 9.7 %. In other words, the more education you have, the more employable you become.

You Want a Promotion

If you've been eyeing a particular position or title, it may be time to go back to school to get the extra knowledge you need to move forward. While performance and tenure have an impact on promotions, there are some positions that are unreachable without additional schooling. If you're working in a hospital, for example, and you really want to get to the upper management level, a master's degree can really help you break through that glass ceiling. And if you're willing to take online classes to work toward the degree you need, your employer may even help you pay for it.

Another Degree Can Lead to a Raise

Just as another degree can lead to a promotion, it can also have a major effect on your paycheck. According to the BLS study, those with a master's degree take home (on average) $1,257 each week, more than double the $626 an average high school graduate gets in their weekly paycheck. That’s right: You could double your salary by going back to school and furthering your education.

Have you taken a college class online to help boost your career? Tell us about your experience.

About the author: Noël Rozny writes and edits the career and education blog, myPathfinder, for myFootpath, a career and education resource for students of all ages. She also maintains the company’s social media outlets and is passionate about using these technologies to help students and job seekers find the degree program or career that’s right for them. You can find her on Twitter at @myfootpath or @noelrozny.

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