Reinventing Yourself Through Education


Reinventing Yourself Through Education

Continuing ed plays a vital role in career and professional growth.

December 1, 2014

As new jobs come online during the economy recovery, many established professionals are turning to continuing education programs to expand their career choices and the programs are growing dramatically to accommodate them. Those programs, originally designed to cater to women re-entering the workforce after raising a family, have applications for everyone and can open the doors to new opportunities. Many are designed to be flexible and convenient for full-time employees who are managing full schedules and families.

Anyone interested in advancing their careers, exploring a mid-life career change or simply seeking self-enrichment will find a plethora of programs both online and in more traditional college settings.

Career management
Enrolling in continuing education programs makes good sense. Updating skills to stay competitive in a global economy has become essential in nearly every profession. Preparing for the future by staying updated on trends and issues affecting your industry is all part of good career self-management.

Most large companies and many midsized firms offer employer-sponsored on-site and online training or long-distance learning programs. Many also will reimburse employees for advancing their education at traditional universities. Make it a practice as part of your career management to keep your human resources department updated on your training initiatives in off-site degree and certification programs, workshops, continuing education units (CEUs) and seminars. Your HR staff also can provide information on in-house programs or funds that may be available to reimburse you for off-site programs. If you’re self-employed, consider how your business might benefit if you learned new related skills, even if the career ladder you’re scaling is of your own design.

The ‘third stage’
It’s generally accepted that the current generation of professionals is better educated and has higher expectations for life in their later years than did the generations before. Americans are living longer, healthier lives than our parents and grandparents and, in the process, creating a new stage of life that aging experts are calling the “third stage” – one that comes after young and middle but before old.

Possessed with energy and a desire to find meaningful work, many of us find ourselves considering a mid-career switch. That may mean pursuing dreams of opening a business, volunteering to address social problems or engaging in activities for personal enrichment. Returning to school at mid-life can be energizing, and it can make an encore career possible. Plus, there are advantages in going through this process a little older and more mature. You may find yourself gaining wisdom and clarity of purpose – and becoming better self-managers. Going back to school can open up a successful new path that is engaging and enriching.

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