• How to Know if You’re Ready to Go Back to School!?

    It only takes a few weeks of staring at a boss who is younger, less talented, and over-confident to realize that you need another degree. While this alone may provide sufficient motivation, it's not exactly sufficient reason. Nonetheless, there are a number of good reasons why it's worth the investment of time and money to go back to school.

    First, getting an advanced degree will almost certainly make you more valuable to your current employer. It puts you closer to the front of the line for promotions and raises, and can provide job security if the company needs to make cutbacks. Furthering your education will broaden your skill set, allowing you to take on a wider variety of responsibilities at work, also likely increasing your salary. Employers often feel compelled to retain and reward employees who have the drive to pursue an advanced degree.

    Second, it provides a valuable safety net. Elise, a television reporter, witnessed layoffs at her television studio in connection with the recession in 2009, and decided to go back to school. "I became very concerned and decided that I needed a Plan B." It's always worthwhile to have a broad range of options should an emergency occur.

    Going back to school can also enhance fulfillment at work as you increase your expertise. There's a certain joy and satisfaction that comes from being an expert in your chosen field. Getting the right education gives you a foundation and often provides the fundamentals that will translate into on-the-job skills.

    So if you're at a point where you want to know more, earn more, and give yourself alternatives, it may be time to go back to school. Here are some things to consider in order to determine if it's worth it for you.

    Look at a variety of jobs similar to your own. For instance, an aspiring accountant might compare his or her position to a professional with a CPA. Search job postings to compare average salaries and the roles and responsibilities compared to your own. If there is a significant increase in salary, you need only weigh the cost of education against the benefit of a higher salary.

    Next, make a chart of your future. Choose the age at which you hope to retire. Then make a list of all the things you would like to say about your life and your career when you reach that age. Is there anything that might come about faster because of further education? For instance, further education might provide you a new title or the chance to live in a more desirable neighborhood.

    If you are feeling both the push of discontent in your present situation and the pull of promising alternatives, it may be time to move on to further education. It may be time to let yourself be pushed or pulled into what comes next.

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