Many people believe that pursuing a college degree is the ticket to get a better paying job. According to Forbes magazine, 60% of college graduates cannot find a full-time job in their field of study. Think of the time and money spent earning that degree and instead of landing a great paying full time job, these grads end up working the same part time job that they did in college.
Going back to school should be viewed as an investment and should be approached the same way as a business that invests money to increase their sales. If you invest your time and money getting a degree or certificate, what will your pay off be?
Before picking out schools, you should ask yourself why you want to go back to school. If you only want a job and don’t care what type of job it is, it might make more sense to find minimum wage work rather than go back to school. If you want to fill time while your children are in school, volunteer work is a cheaper alternative than going back to school.
Once you have decided to go back to school, consider your non-monetary costs. How long will it take to get this degree or certificate? Becoming a doctor may not be realistic if you don’t want to go to school for more than four years. Be sure to plan for studying time as well as actually attending that school. You don’t want to waste money on a school if you are unable to unable to complete your degree or certificate. You may find that you have to give up that full time job to make time for your family and to study. Don’t forget to add in your commuting time.
Finally, consider the monetary costs. Research the job market in the field of study that you would like to work in with the area of the country as well. Being a game programmer would be fun to study, but if you are planning on moving to the Midwest you won’t find a job in that line of work there. If the jobs that you desire, require experience you should either pick a different field to study or a different location. Also see how much the job actually pays. Is it really worth paying $500 for training school, when most of the jobs are part time and pay $9 hourly? Tuition for the school will only be the minimum cost, add in books, commuting costs, test fees, and the loss of income if you cut your working hours. Lastly, research the school that you would like to go to. Check out Yelp and read the reviews of the school. What are their graduation rates? How many grads actually find work in their field?
Going back to school does not have to mean going into a lot of debt and not finding employment, if you plan well. Viewing it as an investment will save you time and money.