When the Job You Want Requires More Education: How to Decide?
These days, it can be very frustrating for many people who have either been working particular jobs for a long time or else working in a particular field for a long time; so often, they are told sorry, you cannot continue in this position until you obtain this or that degree. What can even be worse is when these people are told that they will continue to earn less money than their co-workers, even for doing exactly the same job and doing it as well as anyone else, simply because they lack a particular degree. It can feel like a silly piece of paper is getting in the way of true equality at the job place.
However, this is the reality of professional life, more and more, as industries and organizations from factories to public schools standardize and "professionalize" their work forces. A teacher's assistant who has been working in the same school for twenty years may suddenly find herself required to go to night school for two years just to continue in the same position; a manager who's done more to mobilize her employees than anyone else in the history of the company might be told to obtain ISO9000 certification or face demotion.
And of course, there are the cases in which people are not employed as of yet, but wish to seek a position in a particular field. In those cases, the door simply won't open without the proper academic credentials. If you find yourself in one of these situations, what should you do?
Well, for those who are already employed, the demand for a specific education is probably not coming as a total surprise. Rumors and whispers have probably been circulating for some time, and been denied. Now, it's time, and these rumors have come true. People in this situation need to look into themselves and imagine leaving their jobs. If such a thing is unthinkable -- for economic reasons as well as personal reasons -- then the choice is clear: they have to go back to school in one form or another. If this is the case, employers are usually quite helpful in terms of flexible scheduling and even financial assistance. They would much rather keep you than have to train someone else, and quite frankly, they too are often opposed to this demand for "professionalism."
For those who are seeking employment, perhaps it's time to back up a step if every single career they find interesting also requires a degree which they do not have. Yes, it's possible to just change directions and seek a whole other kind of job; but when one truly wants a particular employment situation, this is far from an ideal decision! Instead, think about devoting some of your time, energy, and money to getting the degree you need. Most schools are pretty flexible when it comes to students who are invested in getting their degrees, and will work with almost anyone who has scheduling or financial difficulties in order to make it possible for them to attend school. If not working is not an option, then part-time work, or even school loans, grants, and scholarships, should be considered as a way to get through school. The years will go fast, and at the end, the greatly increased employment options will make all of the effort feel worthwhile.