Whether you’re going back to school or continuing your education, you’re making an investment that will pay for itself in many ways.
You’ll build your skills, expand your career opportunities, and maybe even increase your income. A part–time option offers you the best of both worlds—you can keep earning while you pursue your career goals.
Balancing work with school or training can be a challenge, but it can also lead you in positive new directions.
Is part-time learning a good choice for you?
Depending on your career goals, there are several reasons why part–time learning may be right for you:
- You’ll be able to support yourself and your family while you build your career.
- You can get a feel for a school or program before you commit to going full–time.
- Depending on your program, you may be able to apply the new skills you’re learning to your work.
- You won’t be interrupting your career to pursue your studies.
What are your part–time options?
There are many flexible programs that will allow you to juggle your commitments at school, at work, and at home:
- Evening and weekend courses
- Daytime courses
- Distance learning programs that offer online courses
- On–the–job training offered by your employer, union, or professional association.
Flexibility at work makes it easier for you to continue learning. If your program is career–related, tell your employer about it. Your employer may value ongoing learning and offer you support, such as time off to write an exam or flexible hours and work arrangements.
Part–time work, job–sharing, on–call work, temporary assignments, and other alternatives to regular, full–time work are other options that may allow you more freedom to pursue your studies.
What funding is available for part–time learning?
Funding will be limited, so think about how much you’ll be able to contribute from your own income and savings. Is there any room for educational costs in your current budget? Would any family members be able to help you financially? Could you use any assets you have to help pay for your education? Explore more funding options.
Grants for basic training or upgrading
If you’re an Alberta resident, you may be eligible for a bursary or grant for basic training and upgrading. The bursary may pay for things like tuition, books, childcare, transportation and Internet fees. You’ll have to show financial need and meet certain criteria. Depending on your situation, you may be able to continue to work and go to school and still receive income support. For more information, visit an Alberta Supports Centre or call an Alberta Supports Contact Centre.
Grants or loans for part–time studies
You may be eligible for a part–time study grant or loan for post–secondary programs. When applying for either loans or grants, you must show financial need. Your total family income may also be considered. To be eligible for a loan or some grants, you must be enrolled in 20 to 59% of a full-time course load or a 20 to 39% course load for students with a permanent disability.
Funding for persons with disabilities
Part–time, on–the–job training with not–for–profit or private sector employers may be available for Albertans receiving Assured Income for Severely Handicapped (AISH) benefits and persons with disabilities seeking employment.
To find out more, talk to your AISH worker or call the Income Support Contact Centre at 780–644–5135 in Edmonton or 1–866–644–5135 toll–free in other Alberta locations.
And check out these resources about education and training for persons with disabilities.
Other sources of funding
Your union or professional association may offer grants or bursaries for part–time study. Talk to your employer—many employers recognize the value of helping their employees improve their skills and are willing to offer some financial support.
How will you make it all work?
When you combine part–time training or school with work and all of your other responsibilities, your life will be even busier than it is now. Family life, school work, time on the job—there are many reasons why it’s a good idea to make time for them all:
- You’ve made a decision that will have a significant impact on your family and their support is vital to your success.
- If you’re receiving financial support to go to school, whether through a student loan, a government program, or your employer, you’ll be expected to make acceptable progress and pass your courses.
- You may be enrolled in a program that requires you to complete your studies within a time limit.
- You want to be sure your work doesn’t suffer as a result of your studies.
To make it all work, identify your goals and make a plan. Then schedule time for work, school and family—and stick to your schedule. It will help you to stay focused and motivated.
Plan for part-time work success
When you combine part–time learning with work, you’re taking a positive step towards a better future for you and your family. A goal and the support of the important people in your life will keep you motivated. A plan will help you stay on top of the competing demands of work, school, family and personal time. Keeping everything in balance will help you succeed!