It’s time for class.
For some parents, the phrase, “Back to school!” is a pleasure to hear.
What about the excitement of education for yourself? Does it bring you the fireworks within?
Adults going back to college to add to or finish their existing degrees are becoming more common. Those looking for new or enhanced skills are flocking to continuing education, which brings opportunities for networking, new credentials, certifications and expanded opportunities at your current or next job.
Working adults also benefit from the sense of achievement by deepening their knowledge in a specific field. This can help avoid burnout, re-energize your passion for your job and position you to secure a promotion.
Going back to school can be a challenge for lifelong learners and working adults. So if you’re on the fence if enrolling in a course or registering for a full certificate is the right path for you, then read on!
"As an older student, many people my age have finished their education. But there is no ‘wrong’ age to continue learning more.”
—Kalyani Satpathy, Business Analysis certificate graduate
Reason #1: Career Advancement
Adult education can open up new avenues for career opportunities.
For example, studying computer systems gives an adult professional the advantage of taking on new roles and responsibilities at work. The same holds true for project management: You may not have “project manager” in your job description, but knowing the ins and outs of project management will keep you competitive in just about any industry.
While some companies offer incentives for increasing education, some adults return to school on their own dime, knowing that they can turn new learning into better-paying positions. Those new educational experiences will also make their résumés stronger if they decide to go back to the job market.
Listen to Project Management certificate graduate Jaimee Drew. “The Project Management certificate opened doors for me that work experience alone would not have. After starting the program, I was promoted to a business analyst role. After I earned the Project Management certificate, I was promoted to IT Project Manager. I believe that the instruction from the UC Berkeley Extension teachers helped me be prepared for this role.”
Reason #2: Networking
Continuing education allows working adults to meet other like-minded individuals and make new contacts in and out of their fields—whether taking an online or in-person course. You’re also learning from working professionals, who can introduce you to their network. These contacts become vital during layoffs, business-to-business deals and community projects that involve more than one industry.
Our instructors keep an eye out for job opportunities—full-time positions and internship opportunities—to help their students. Case in point, instructor Marianna Lenoci: “My fellow instructors and I are on the lookout for internships, and when we find one, we let each other know so that the information can be spread to all of our students and graduates. That’s the community the instructional team has established. We all love what we do and also know the importance of being a mentor and a resource for the students as they start to explore their career options.”
Reason #3: Change in Careers
Most adults change jobs several times in their careers, and many change fields altogether.
Continuing your education is crucial for a career change. Some adults can enter on-the-job training to switch careers, but this often means starting at an entry-level position. If you want to bridge your experience into a new field, professional courses might be the key.
For example, if you have taught English at a high school for eight years but decide you want to work in marketing, you might already have a lot of the necessary skills, including communication, writing skills and public presentation. But you probably lack background knowledge in marketing principles, statistics and financial elements of marketing. So taking core courses in these areas may help you land a job in marketing without a salary cut.
Reason #4: Fulfillment
Many think of higher education solely as a mechanism for landing better jobs, but that's only part of the picture. Many adults return to the classroom for personal enrichment. Whether you are passionate about art and design or data science, we have classes or certificates that allow non-degree-seeking adults to enroll, learn and enjoy.
Personal Financial Planning certificate graduate Sandeep Gandhi will never stop learning. Through his extensive work experience, he’s learned about the investment world. But his own investments? “My motivation to enroll in the certificate program stemmed from a genuine curiosity and desire to learn about personal financial planning,” he adds. “Even though it was stressful at times to juggle the class workload alongside a full-time job, I really enjoyed my courses and their content.”
As for me, I find fulfillment in continuing to educate myself. Learning and exercising my creativity reveals my efforts are making a meaningful impact. I was at a point in my life where I was not being challenged and was being called on to do something different. There I was: At a dead end in my career and not much room to grow. I knew it was time to consider my next steps. My boss suggested that I enroll in a digital marketing class and I found myself enjoying it. Now I am on track to earn my Certificate in Marketing.
The reasons for returning to school are varied and unique. My story may resonate with you. Or our graduates’ stories may speak to you. Each student comes with personal life experiences and goals to achieve. If you’ve been toying with the idea of going back to school, now is an excellent time to invest in your education.
Welcome back to school!