The life of a military spouse is one like few others. Only the strong-willed and strong-minded need apply. A military spouse must be flexible, supportive, understanding, and willing to uproot her life at moment's notice. It's not always the easiest, but it's always worth it. With that said, being a military spouse does make jumpstarting or changing careers difficult. Employers value stability, consistency, and linearity; things a military spouse are often forced to live without. One surefire way to start a new career that's guaranteed to impress employers involves going back to school. By equipping yourself with skills and certification earned from higher education, no obstacles can stand in your way. Below are some considerations for how to start a new career by going back to school.
Benefits of Going Back to School
For many, the idea of going back to school can be terrifying, especially later in life. No one wants to feel like some prehistoric fossil while getting their education. Luckily, a large percentage of undergraduate students are older than many expect. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 33% of the 18 million undergraduate students in the US are older than 25, and 22% are older than 30. Whatever your career aspirations may be, going back to school is a surefire way to give them a boost. An obvious benefit is certification. The almighty resume is the first step to any career, and having the appropriate technical certification or diploma is a way to catch an employer's eye. In fact, unemployment overall is much higher for those without a degree than for those without. Not only that, but, on average, degree holders are also higher paid than their degree-less counterparts. Education also provides practical skills and knowledge. Nearly every industry has undergone a renaissance in the past few year, those who haven't kept up-to-date may fall behind. There are new software, programs, terminology, and industry standards for people to meet; working with current professionals is the ideal to absorb those new skills. Lastly, school can provide connections. Whether it's a teacher-turned-mentor or classmates-turned-coworkers, school is a great way to get a jump on networking.
When searching for your ideal school, think hard about what it is that you want out of your education. Is it hands-on advice? Is the degree? Is it the opportunity to learn new things? Is it all three? Research institutions, scholarships, and program with your requirements in mind. Reach out to actual professors; don't limit yourself to the administration. Ask for sample syllabi to see exactly what you'd be learning in your classes. If possible, choose a program that allows you to dabble in classes outside your concentration. Having varied interests and skills always impresses an employer.
Since military spouses lead lives like none other, they have to contend with some practical concerns like none other. If your family frequently needs to relocate, consider two things when searching for a school: transferable credits and online courses. Transferable class credits allow you to change schools without losing progress on your education. Many institutions are flexible and accept transfer credits; keep that in mind when searching around. Online courses, found at traditional schools and online schools alike, are ideal for military spouses. Online institutions specifically offer the most flexibility. Need to move across the country? No worries, all you need is a computer and Wi-Fi connection.