How Do I Know When I’m Ready to Go Back to School?

Going back to school

As you grow in your profession in the health-care field, there may come a time when you feel it is best to advance further. Whether you would like to excel in your current position or move on to a higher-level position altogether, you may be considering going back to school to earn more knowledge or a degree. But, part of going back to school is knowing if and when you are ready to take on this new responsibility. Even if you are certain that you need to go back to school to improve your career outcome, you must still determine if attending school is the best thing for your current situation. Here are a few ways you can tell if you are ready to go back to school:

You Are Clear About Your Career Goals

Particularly in health care, higher education is a necessity to not only achieving your career goals but excelling in your position. Health-care positions are vast and detailed, requiring intense studying and multiple hours of hands-on work. Depending on your current title, you may have already earned certain certifications or training. Ultimately, your future career aspirations should be a large part of what encourages you to go back to school. Before searching for schools or programs to potentially enroll in, reflect on your career path, what you plan to do in your desired field, and what degrees or experience you will need to make this happen.

You Have Outgrown Your Current Occupation

There are many ways to tell if you are ready to move on from your current position. Some people experience a sense of unease when they have finally outgrown their jobs, while others begin to lose interest in their job titles altogether. Many might even do so because they feel their skills are not being utilized in a way that is favorable to them. With that said, probably the most common feeling many experiences is that of dissatisfaction, be it from job duties, work hours, or pay. If you are experiencing any of these, there is a good chance you may be outgrowing your current position and may need to seek additional education to qualify for a different position.

You Are Financially Prepared

Being financially prepared to go back to school does not necessarily mean you have to be in perfect financial standing. Though an obstacle in itself, your personal finances are only a portion of what you should consider when thinking about school. The other part of assessing your financial preparedness for school is researching ways to finance your education. Aside from standard student loans, other options such as scholarships, grants, and tuition reimbursement may be sufficient options for you to explore.

You Are Prepared in Your Personal Life

Part of a job's purpose is to provide the compensation needed to uphold a stable, secure home life. Considering this, it is important to assess other areas of your life and determine how going back to school will impact these areas. Even if you plan to attend school online, you will still need to reflect on how much time, energy, resources, and capacity you will be able to devote to your studies, along with everything else going on in your life. It might also be necessary to think about how well you will be able to perform in your current occupation while you study and attend classes. Make sure these many factors are strong enough to sustain the responsibility of going back to school as well.

Making your decision

Your life does not need to be perfect to go back to school. However, assessing your circumstances - both at your job and in your personal life - can help you decide if you are ready to go back to school. Still, there is never going to be a "perfect time" to go back to school; only fine opportunities that you can choose to take advantage of by working toward them. **Image via Flickr by Miranda Ward
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