How Continuing Education Is Opening Doors for Women Everywhere

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By Avery Phillips

According to Arizona State University, the number of women with a college degree in the United States increased from 11 percent to 39 percent between the years of 1970 and 2013. Collectively, women are putting more value on higher education and their careers than the generations before them.

If you have been thinking about going back to school and finishing your degree, or even just starting work towards one, it may be about time to start taking it more seriously. Women are taking the stage as executives and directors — positions previously dominated by men — more than ever before. Even though the wage gap may still exist, women are moving up that corporate ladder. To better compete for an upper level position, it is most likely that you will be required to have a degree at a bachelor’s level or higher.

As a woman, it is common to have to put your education or career on hold to start a family and run a household. Luckily, it is becoming increasingly easier to find reputable online degree programs that can land you that dream job, even in competitive fields such as engineering and business. It is not too often that a traditional school setting is feasible once you have established a life that doesn’t revolve around school.

Online degree programs allow for you to work at your own speed and to be flexible around your life’s busy schedule. The time that you invest now may increase your earning potential, allowing for you to treat yourself and your family that stood by you while you studied to a well deserved vacation in the future.

It is wise to explore the options your current job may offer in terms of educational opportunities, both outside of the company and within. Some companies set aside funds to send their employees to workshops and conferences to further their understanding and knowledge about their job positions. Larger companies may include financial reimbursement to employees who pursue further education.

If you currently work for a company that supports its employees going back to school, take advantage of it as much as you can. Even if it is as simple as getting to attend workshops, investing your time and money in pursuit of education will always reap a reward. You can add those experiences to your resume and will make you more competitive when applying for that promotion.

With technology constantly evolving and improving, continued education is the only way to stay up to date on the newest offerings. Staying in the know may be important to your industry and you could convince your employer that taking a course on the newest version of a certain kind of software or operating system is in the company’s best interest. This would enable you to be the most educated in your field as you can be and enable you to be resilient in the face of a changing technology. It also may make your job feel less stressful, in turn leading to more enjoyment in your work and increased productivity to the benefit of your company.

The next time you settle into your couch for a Netflix binge session, consider how you could be more productive with your time by taking a course online. There are many different online learning labs that you can take a free course and obtain a certificate from in as short as one weekend, such as Coursera. Now you don’t have any excuses next time that little voice in the back of your head speaks up and demands more knowledge. Knowledge is power and power gets you paid.

Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world, including women’s ever-evolving roles in the professional business worl. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.  

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