Studying while working: is it possible?

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Whether you want to change career, missed out on the opportunity to study after school, or just want to satisfy a hunger for knowledge, it is possible to fit studies around the other demands in your life. Learning whilst working can be hugely rewarding too.

One of the major benefits of continuing to work while you learn is in terms of education costs. Part-time and online courses tend to be cheaper options anyway when it comes to course fees, and without the need to forgo all of your wages you’ll be able to reduce the overall cost of your education.

Today’s learning market is also more varied, flexible and accessible than ever. So whatever your career or study goals you’ll be able to find a solution that will make it possible for you to learn whilst you work.

Your work-study options:

Work based learning

These are courses offered by colleges and universities that allow you to study in the classroom whilst continuing to work and picking up credit for skills you learn in the workplace too. Some of the learning takes place at work, some on-campus and some online. It makes for a great, varied and engaging way to learn – and even better, you don’t need to give up the day job or salary.

Courses typically take the form of top-up degrees and are tailored to the individual student, crediting them with the valuable skills they’ve already picked up at work. It also means that what students learn as part of the course is fully tailored and applicable to their existing workplace and career, which is great news for both student and employer.

Online or distance learning

Studying part-time online is a practical way for busy people to continue working whilst they’re learning. There’s no need to relocate or commute to a physical campus, as tuition takes place in the virtual classroom. That makes it cheaper – online course fees tend to be lower than on-campus fees – as well as freeing up valuable hours that students can dedicate to home study or part-time work.

Part-time work or part-time study

Full-time study and full-time work don’t mix, but switch one or both to part-time and learning whilst working becomes a distinct possibility. Switching to part-time takes some of the pressure off either work or study, reduces stress and improves overall performance. As opposed to the work based learning option, part-time work has no restrictions on salary or chosen job.

Getting the help you need

Whilst things get more complicated if you have a family to support, there is plenty of support out there that can make your educational dreams a reality. If you have a family, it’s time to call in some favours. Talk to friends and other family members to see if they can help with childcare while you study. You may be eligible for government help with some childcare costs and your university or college might have a nursery or crèche you can use.

Talk to your employer

Many employers are keen to see their workforce improve and a better-educated employee can be of huge benefit to a company. If you’re considering going back to school it’s well worth talking it over with your boss ahead of time. They’ll be able to help you figure out a schedule that can work with your studies – and you may even find that they’re willing to fund or part-fund your studies in exchange for your new expertise.

The University of Lincoln Work-Based Learning top-up degrees will help you achieve your career goals and obtain a qualification with a global focus. Find out more about the Lincoln WBDL programmes.

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