Going to school part-time can give you flexibility to work while you study, take care of your family, or ease your course load.
Part-time learning lets you build your skills, expand your career opportunities, and maybe even increase your income—while also maintaining your commitments at home and at work.
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.
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.
How will you pay for school?
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?
How will you make it all work?
When you combine part-time learning with 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 getting funding 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.
If you have a job, 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 offer time off to write an exam or flexible hours and work arrangements. Some employers even help pay for courses related to your job.
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 success
Finding a way to make school work for you is a positive step towards a better future for you and your family. Remember:
- Having a goal, and the support of the important people in your life, will keep you motivated.
- Making 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!