Even if you work a full-time job, you can still pursue one of these six degrees after you've put in your hours.Maybe you're a pro at balancing your work life, your social life, and your home life, but you're wondering how you can possibly fit school life into the mix. Did you know that there are a number of online degrees you can earn after clocking out at your full-time job?
"Studying online grants an opportunity for the student to pursue resume builders that come along with full-time jobs, such as significant job titles or prestigious company names," says Lyn O'Brien, career expert and co-owner of Your Hidden Advantage, a virtual service and training company that provides support to busy professionals.
She adds that a degree buoyed by the right work experience earns much more employer notice than a degree with no pertinent experience. So continuing to work while you earn your degree can actually be a good thing for your professional future.
Wondering which degrees you can pursue while still holding down your 9-to-5? Keep reading to learn about six online degrees that could fit the bill.
According to the College Board, a non-profit organization committed to excellence and equity in education, a degree in graphic design teaches students the design and computer skills needed to create the overall look of books, magazines, and websites, among other types of media. They also note that graphic design students may take classes in things like the history of graphic design, Photoshop for designers, and typography.
Why It's Great for Full-Timers: Studying in the evenings after work allows you to observe design all day long, because graphic design is everywhere, says O'Brien. "You can carry a small sketch pad with you and jot down what really impresses you or what relates to your current online assignment for school."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Online Graphic Design Program.
And the advantage of doing it online versus in a traditional classroom setting, according to O'Brien, is that online learning gives you more freedom to be creative, because creative work is often much easier when things are quiet and you have few interruptions.
"You can find that optimal spot to work, crank up music that matches your assignment, and get those juices flowing," she says.
When you pursue a degree in criminal justice, the College Board says you explore every aspect of the law and the justice system, as well as the ins and outs of law enforcement agencies. You might take courses like policing society, statistics, and juvenile justice.
Why It's Great for Full-Timers: O'Brien says this degree allows you to "earn while you learn," because many positions in law enforcement or security entail shifting schedules and nighttime hours. Online schooling allows you to both accommodate job demands and keep your studies moving forward.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Online Criminal Justice Program.
"Plus, you can practice in your live surroundings at your full-time job," she notes. "People-watching while conducting everyday business functions gives you the opportunity to observe behavior patterns without being observed."
When you earn this degree, you'll focus your time on learning the ins and outs of overseeing health care facilities such as nursing homes, hospitals, and rehab centers, notes the College Board. They report that you'll likely take courses like health care law, economics of health care, and anatomy and physiology.
Why It's Great for Full-Timers: Online learning forces you to gather information outside the box of a classroom structure, O'Brien says. And that hands-on experience can complement your studies.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Online Health Care Administration Program.
"As fast as health care regulations change, few people in the industry can keep up," she adds. "You, on the other hand, have the luxury of pausing anytime to relate what you are learning to the current market. Additionally, your full-time experience will keep you more vibrantly current than any course of study can."
But what can you expect to learn? The College Board says that in an IT program you might take common courses such as computer networking, web technologies, and introduction to computer science. During the program, you'll concentrate on how information and computing systems support business and communication needs.
Why It's Great for Full-Timers: "The more you explore the Internet and the more you keep up with new software developments and their equivalents, the more valuable you are," O'Brien says. "Take advantage of the opportunity to apply what you are learning online."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Online IT and Information Systems Program.
And you can apply what you learn in the degree program while you're working during the day by using the same processes.
"Whether networking or programming, IT professionals excel when they understand systems from a helicopter view. Paying attention to workflow during your current job and helping to design better structures is not only good experience, it will also impress any current or future employer," she says.
In fact, the College Board says earning this degree prepares you to plan and control an organization's activities. Along with operations management and accounting, they say other typical major courses could include business statistics, economics, and marketing.
Why It's Great for Full-Timers: By working a full-time job while earning your degree online after work, you can evaluate business practices from a customer viewpoint day in and day out, says O'Brien.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Online Business Administration Program.
"Every vendor, every service provider, professionals of any kind, and companies that you deal with every day in your job - they all give you opportunities to distinguish concepts you are learning in your online studies viewed through a customer's eyes. It's practical experience in learning."
And she says that learning online prepares you for managing people post-graduation. From identifying customers, communicating with staff, updating supervisors, and checking out the competition, research and organizational skills honed through online learning are a huge boon.
But you'll go beyond just learning about how to file taxes, according to the College Board. They say that accounting majors learn how to gather, record, and interpret data about an organization's financial performance. You also may study things like business law and auditing.
Why It's Great for Full-Timers: Experience breeds higher salaries in this case, says O'Brien. While it's true that bookkeepers, auditing clerks, and small business accountants could find work with only a high school degree, earning an online degree in accounting puts you in a better position to demand a higher salary post-graduation.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.
"On-the-job experience in financial record-keeping counts, and experience with sophisticated enterprise software scores even higher with employers," she adds.
Plus, with the added complications of the e-business world, O'Brien says that researching online transactions as you study from the comfort of your home may make homework easier than if you were learning in a traditional setting, as you have the ability to explore right at your fingertips.