The Basics

Taking online classes

Going back to school sounds great in theory, but what about your commitments that have accumulated in the past few years? Dreaming about going back to school is very different than the reality of finding the time to start or finish your degree, especially if you’re working or have family obligations. If going to school full-time and taking traditional classroom courses won’t work for you, then you should consider a new way to go to school — online. Online classes and degrees may be the answer to your education dilemma, offering you an option to gain a degree while continuing your day-to-day responsibilities.

In the past 10 years, online education has gone from random classes offered at a few schools across the country to degrees that are earned entirely online. The advantages for someone already working are many. So if you plan to go back to school, and need flexibility, check out online possibilities and sharpen your pencils … I mean … flex your typing hands.

  • Continue to work while you go to school: Taking online classes generally allows you to "attend classes" or do your coursework when it’s convenient for you: for example, after work or on the weekends. This offers advantages in a few ways. Financially, you can continue to work while you take classes towards your degree -- paying for school and supporting family is still a possibility. Working while going to school can be tiring, but keep your focus on the long-term benefits. More education can mean promotions, raises, career-change possibilities.

    Also, continuing to work while taking online courses, especially if you intend to stay in the same industry or company, means there's no gap in your work and potential promotions and other benefits. You have face-time at work, you stay up-to-date, and your supervisors will see your commitment and dedication.

  • Access to educational resources without relocating: You can get access to a wider variety of programs online than may be offered in local schools – so no need to travel or relocate to find the right courses and programs. Moving can be stressful on family, and leaving a job means loss of income, so taking classes online gives you the opportunity to be selective about the college or university you enroll in without having to make a major change.

  • Benefit from diverse "classes": Because online learning offers unprecedented educational access, chances are you will learn alongside people of different ages, educational backgrounds, geographic locations, and cultures. In today’s global economy this will be an advantage.

  • Experience technology: Learning more about using computers can only be a good thing. Regardless of your computer proficiency, online classes can help you learn how to better interact online. In today’s workforce, understanding computer basics is very important. If you are new to computers, and come with limited experience, this is an excellent way to open a whole new world for you and for your career.

Online classes and degrees can open many doors for people who have already entered the workforce and are looking for a hassle-free transition to another field. The flexibility and educational possibilities can make learning via your computer an enticing option, especially when you lay out the career and financial benefits.