If you are a working parent, you know that trying to advance your education can involve some sacrifices. It's difficult to find time to go back to school when you are juggling work and family responsibilities, but you also know that in the long run this can be the path to a better life for yourself and your family. You can make this happen, as long as you find educational options that fit into your schedule, and choose degree programs that qualify you for occupations with strong growth prospects over the years ahead.
Online education can be the ideal solution for your scheduling dilemma. With an online degree program, you can take courses from home and on a flexible schedule. The question, then, is what courses should you take?
Online Degree Programs for Career Prosperity
The following are six suggestions designed to improve your job prospects. Each is a profession that you can potentially qualify for with an online bachelor's degree, and each occupation is projected to have strong employment growth over the years ahead:
- Elementary school teacher. Between new openings and replacements, this occupation is projected to create over half a million job openings through 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). To qualify, you'll likely need a bachelor's degree in education or a related field, plus you'll need to meet any state licensure requirements.
- Substance abuse and behavior disorder counselor. With a 34.3 percent projected increase in employment between 2006 and 2016, this is expected to be one of the fastest-growing occupations. A bachelor of science in psychology or a related discipline can be good preparation for this field, though be advised that some states may require you to earn your master's degree in order to become a licensed counselor.
- Accountant or auditor. With 450,000 job openings projected for the years 2006 to 2016, this field should create ample opportunities and can be highly rewarding financially. To pursue this, consider a bachelor of science in accounting, and become an auditor. To further your career, you may ultimately want to pass the certified public accountant (CPA) exam as well.
- Software applications engineer. Just the fact that you may be pursuing your bachelor's degree online is an example of the expanded role computers play in day-to-day life. Not surprisingly then, jobs such as software applications engineer are slated for strong growth in the years ahead. Software applications engineers analyze user needs, and create programs to meet those needs. For this field, consider a bachelor's degree in computer science or software engineering.
- Computer systems analyst. This is another example of how the burgeoning use of computers translates into above-average job growth. Whereas software applications engineers focus on specific programs, computer systems analysts address the big picture, configuring hardware and software to meet an organization's information technology needs. A bachelor's degree in computer science can qualify you for this field, although a bachelor's of science in information systems may make you more attractive to business employers.
- Personal financial advisor. This occupation was projected to see 41 percent employment growth from 2006 to 2016. An important factor in this growth is the demographic make-up of the U.S. population. As the baby-boom generation approaches retirement, older adults become increasingly aware of the need for financial planning. A bachelor's degree in financial planning, accounting, finance, or economics could give you a relevant background for this profession, though expect that additional professional designations or regulatory exams might be required once you get started.
Pursuing an online bachelor's degree in any of the above areas could be the game-changer that gets you out of your current rut. Working toward your bachelor's degree online may be more convenient than an on-campus education, but even so it will take effort and sacrifice. Still, most parents don't mind a little sacrifice, as long as it will pay off for their families in the long run.