woman taking notes in cafe.

How to decide what you want to go back to school for.

You know you want to go back to school. In fact, sometimes it almost feels like you have to go back to school. Whether you’ve been turned down for a job you really wanted because of your lack of education, you want a promotion, or you just want to explore new career options, adding a certificate or degree to your resume can make a positive impact on your prospects. But where do you even start? If you’re not sure what program you should take, here are four tips to help you pinpoint the degree or certificate that’s right for you.

Think about why you want to go back to school.

What’s pushing you to go back to school? Your end goal can help you determine what program you should take. For example, if you have been working at a company for a while and want to move up, but have consistently been turned down for a promotion because of the lack of education on your resume, you probably want to enroll in a course that is relevant to the job.

If you’re working toward a leadership or managerial role in an office setting, earning your associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business management might be perfect for you. An online business management degree combines general education courses like Computer Applications with degree-specific classes like Financial Management, Business Law, and Marketing. You can build upon your on-the-job experience while gaining a better understanding of business in general. Even better, a business management degree is often transferable to many different roles and industries.

Or, if you work in a more specialized industry, such as manufacturing or in an industrial setting, enrolling in an online Industrial Supervisor Associate’s Degree can help you gain the education your company’s hiring manager is looking for.

The same idea applies to earning a promotion in any field. If you’re working in retail, a retail management degree or a retail supervisor career diploma can help take the next steps toward working your way up in your job, as an example.

If you know your educational end goal is to move ahead in your current line of work but aren’t sure what degree or diploma program would be best, don’t hesitate to reach out to the hiring manager. They can advise you on what background would be most beneficial for the roles they’re looking to fill and point you in the right direction for your next steps.

Answer the question, “Where do you see yourself in ten years?”

Ten years from now may seem like a long time away, but if you’re not sure what you want to go back to school for, imagining where you see yourself in a decade can help you narrow it down. So take a few minutes to sit down, get comfortable, close your eyes, and let your imagination run free. If you’re struggling to imagine what the distant future holds for you, try thinking about what you hope to accomplish in the next five years.

Where do you see yourself? What job are you doing? What is your day-to-day like? Then, think about what it took for you to get there. If you imagined yourself working with animals, enrolling in a veterinary technician degree program could be your next step. See yourself helping other people? Becoming a medical assistant could be in your future!

If you’re not sure what sort of degree or training you need for the future-you, a quick google search of the job you’re interested in can give you some suggestions on where you can get started.

Do your research.

You want to work in an industry that you’re confident has job openings and can pay you well. Research growing industries and specific roles online to help you narrow down what you want to do and how you can get started in that field.

Websites like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Glassdoor, or Indeed have resources about top jobs, which fields are growing, and what employers in those industries look for in job candidates.

Talk to a Penn Foster Admissions Specialist.

Online school offers the flexibility you need while working full-time and having a busy life. You can log on and study or take an exam whenever you have some free time. That’s why Penn Foster’s courses seem like the perfect fit. The only problem? You aren’t sure which one is for you. If you’re unsure what degree, certificate, or diploma fits your needs and goals, call in to speak with an Admissions Specialist at 1.888.427.6500. Your Specialist can help you compare the courses you’re interested in and help you discover which online program can get you where you want to go.

Take the next step toward your future today.

Figured out what you want to go back to school for or you’ve known all along what your end goal is? You can take the next steps toward the job of dreams ASAP. With Penn Foster’s online courses, you can enroll and start your first class whenever you’re ready. There’s no application process, no enrollment deadline, and no program cut-off dates. You can enroll online or by working one-on-one with a member of our Admissions team today.