If you have recently been terminated from your job, you will no doubt be trying to figure out how to handle the termination and weighing your options for the future. One of the options you may be considering is going back to school. By gaining new skills and knowledge, you may be in a better position to land the job you want and obtain a higher salary.
There are both advantages and disadvantages of going back to school. It all depends on your own circumstances and what you want to get out of it. However, retraining is a great way to use your unemployment time wisely. Going back to school is not just about gaining a new certificate. It is also about learning new skills and feeling positive you are moving forward with your personal targets and goals. However, retraining can sometimes take years, and the process can often be quite expensive, so you need to decide if it is worthwhile in the long run. Use the following information to determine whether going back to school or obtaining additional training is for you.
Benefits of Going Back to School
There are many benefits to be had from returning to school after being terminated from your job. Of course, if you have been in the same job for a long time and you are advancing in years, you will probably have some concerns about returning to school. You may feel like you are too old to reeducate yourself. However, there are plenty of mature students in education and there is nothing to stop you from learning, whatever age you are. In fact, being more mature can actually be helpful because you can understand the underlying benefits of academic qualifications.
You may also think returning to school will be too time consuming. Although it is true that many educational courses will take up most of your time, it is not true of all courses. Explore your options, as there are online courses and night classes that could suit you perfectly and make it easier to fit your study time around other commitments.
Should you go back to school? Here are some benefits of returning to education after you have been dismissed from employment:
- Aid development in a career field. Returning to school can boost your confidence for returning to employment. You could study an area that is related to your past career sector, so you can get a better job within the same industry. Alternatively, you might want to choose a particular course of study so you can change careers by applying for positions a new industry with the relevant qualifications.
- Increase your earnings. Being qualified in specific areas means you are more marketable to employers and you may therefore be able to apply for jobs in a higher pay bracket.
- Use your unemployment time wisely. If you lost your job a while ago and have been struggling to find new employment and move forward, going back to school may be the answer for you. Rather than staying in a rut, schooling could give you the kickstart you need to start fresh and move on.
- The cost could be low. You may be entitled to enroll in some schooling and training programs for free or a low cost, so you might as well take advantage of the situation. Example programs include an adult school course, a university extension workshop or a community college program.
Disadvantages of Going Back to School
Taking time out to study is not without its challenges. If you are the main breadwinner of the family and the course you want to enroll in costs a large sum, you will want to weigh your options carefully before you take the plunge into returning to education. Make sure you can afford it financially and timewise. It may be worth taking out a loan to pay for your classes, but make sure it will be worth doing for the long-term benefits.
Here are some disadvantages of returning to school you should take time to consider:
- The economy and the job market are always changing. Will a new qualification really lead to a job after you have finished your schooling? Research which job sectors are more likely to employ newly qualified workers. You do not want to have taken the time out to get a qualification only to find it is more difficult to get a job than it was before due to a declining industry or another similar issue.
- Will you enjoy the process? If your only motivation for returning to school is to get a qualification to land a better job, you may find the whole education process to be a stressful and difficult situation. If you do not enjoy the courses you are taking or simply are not interested in the subject you are studying, it may not be worth pursuing.
- Will you actually graduate? A lot of workers returning to school assume they will graduate. However, many students who start education courses do not finish them or do not do well enough to graduate. Think about how serious and dedicated you are before you enroll.
What courses are available?
There are all sorts of courses available to those who wish to return to school after a job termination. Review the courses at your local college and university to get an idea of the areas you could study. Keep in mind that the courses you can enroll in are not only available through those types of academic institutions. You will find online courses, night classes and small independent courses too.
By deciding the area of study and what level of education you wish to pursue, you can narrow down the list of courses available. Community colleges and vocational schools offer various certifications, including an associate’s degree. Bachelor’s degrees can be obtained through various universities, colleges and online institutions. Before enrolling, you also need to think about the course’s duration:
- Bachelor’s degrees take four years.
- Master’s degrees typically take two years beyond a bachelor’s degree.
- Doctoral degrees take several years beyond a bachelor’s degree.
- Associate’s degrees take two years.
- Certificates take up to two years.
As an unemployed person, you may qualify for training and employment programs funded by the Department of Labor (DOL). Find out if you are eligible for any of those courses by contacting your local American Job Center. There are specific programs available for laid-off workers and workers whose job termination was due to increased foreign imports or shifts in production outside of the United States. Many of these programs are free of charge for unemployed individuals, so they are certainly worth investigating.