A college degree is a potent tool in the workplace. It can open doors to lucrative job opportunities that were once unattainable. But earning a college degree can take a lot of time, primarily if pursued full-time. Full-time students often need to dedicate hours upon hours each week to keep up with the demands of a full-time degree. It’s no wonder that people say being a full-time student is a full-time job.

But what about people that already have a full-time job? Is there no place for them in higher education? Can people who have to support themselves through working a full-time job earn a college degree too? 

Fortunately, working professionals do have options when it comes to earning a college degree. So if you’re out there and you’ve got a 9-5 job and want to earn a college degree, here are some things to consider to make that happen.

Online College for Working Professionals

An online college is an excellent option for working professionals. There are many distinct advantages to pursuing a degree online instead of trying to earn one through a traditional on-campus experience.

Traditional on-campus degrees are built with full-time students in mind. The vast majority of courses are offered during typical working hours and usually require the student to attend in person. Naturally, that can be a tall order for someone that has a job. 

Fortunately, online colleges do a lot to make the experience of earning a college degree much more flexible and more accessible to people with different scheduling needs.

How Online College is More Flexible for Working Professionals

Online colleges offer working professionals several benefits. Many online colleges are designed with working professionals in mind and offer their courses in an asynchronous format.

Asynchronous courses are courses that do not need to be participated in at a particular time of day. These courses include pre-recorded lectures and message board systems that allow students to participate in their coursework when it best fits their schedule. 

This is a huge advantage for working professionals. Having to be at a particular place at one specific time, frequently during the workday, makes it impossible for working professionals to participate in traditional college degree programs.

Online Colleges Are Cheaper

The chances are that if you’re unable to stop working to pursue a full-time college degree, then you probably are concerned with the cost of a college education. Traditional college degrees can be Very expensive, which is another roadblock for working professionals. Fortunately, online colleges tend to be much cheaper than their traditional on-campus counterparts. 

Choosing to pursue an online degree can benefit working professionals by providing them the opportunity to earn a college degree without breaking the bank. And if the cost of your degree is cheaper, then it’s likely you may not feel as pressed to make as much money as possible at your day job.

Online College for Working Professionals Part-Time

While many on-campus degree programs are available to students part-time, online colleges offer a much better experience for part-time learners. Many online colleges are even built around the expectation that their students will most likely be enrolled part-time.

Part-time enrollment means that a student is enrolled for less than 12 credits per semester. This usually means that students are enrolled in less than four classes. As mentioned initially, being a full-time student can feel like a full-time job, and it’s hard to have a full-time job while you’re a full-time student. 

Part-time enrollment allows students to have more granular control over the amount of time they are spending on their college education at a given time. Rather than trying to keep up with 5-6 courses at once, students can take as little as one course at a time. This allows students to ensure that they are not splitting their attention in too many different ways. Part-time enrollment at an online college will enable students to continue their education while also keeping the attention and energy they need for their current life as working professionals. 

Working Professionals Getting Help With Their Online College Tuition

Something often overlooked in the discussion of working professionals enrolling in an online college is that many workplaces offer their employees tuition assistance when enrolling in a college degree. It is not uncommon for many employers to offer their employees some sort of tuition reimbursement when it comes to getting a college degree relevant to their current career path.

We encourage aspiring students to reach out to your human resources department to see if the organization you work for offers tuition assistance or tuition reimbursement for enrollment in certain college degrees. While this is not helpful for those who want to use their college education to move into a different field of work, this is great for those working professionals. They want to broaden their horizons and open the doors to new opportunities.

Things to Consider When Enrolling in an Online College Part-Time

One primary consideration when enrolling in an online college part-time is having a realistic understanding of how long it may take to earn your degree at that pace. A typical undergraduate degree, when pursued full-time can take about four years. Taking less than a full-time load will only lengthen that timeframe.

Many online colleges attempt to alleviate this problem by offering their degrees in an accelerated format. That means that courses run across fewer weeks allowing students to earn credits much more quickly. But that also means you’ll most likely be taking on a bit more work at any given time than you’d be doing in a traditional program.

Can I Attend an Online College While Working?

You absolutely can attend an online college while working. It’s a great way to increase the number of opportunities available to you. Whether it’s earning a degree to prepare for a new career path or expanding your knowledge in your current profession to open up new opportunities, working professionals can see many benefits from enrolling in an online college.

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