continuing education degreeFor those who already have an existing education but are interested in furthering that education, you might be wondering if another full degree is actually necessary to provide you with the required information and background to do so. It might be nice to go back to school and get your masters degree in a specific area, but would such a commitment be the best thing for you, and maybe more importantly, your career and your wallet?

Here are a few things you might consider when determining whether, when going back to school, another full degree is necessary.

Review Your Needs and Goals

Sometimes it’s simplest to ask yourself the question, what are you are lacking? Your answer might surprise you. You may find that there are only a few subjects upon which you need to update yourself, or even just a course or two that could bolster your existing education enough to get you and your career where it needs to be.

A few other questions you might consider in the process, are where to you want you and your career to be in the next five or ten years, what types of courses or coursework you need to supplement career aspirations, as well as how much money you are willing to spend, debt you are able to take on, or time you are able to devote in order to do so.

Determining the answers to such questions can help put you on the path that can most efficiently get you the continuing education you need in the most effective manner.

Is a Full Degree Necessary?

After reviewing your needs and goals, you might come to the realization that a full degree isn’t necessary. Going after and achieving another full degree can require a lot in time and financial commitment. This can cut into work and career obligations, family time, as well as money that might be needed elsewhere, such as in sustaining your lifestyle or exploring new business opportunities or career objectives. This means that it might instead be worthwhile to consider other educational options that can still help you meet your personal goals, but that won’t cut as heavily into your available time or personal finances.

Other Educational Options

You could find it preferable to continue your education by way of a more piecemeal type structure. While this won’t likely result in a full degree program completion, it may still allow you to add to your existing education without the greater time or monetary commitment. Picking a few college courses that will supplement your existing education or that might be needed for a job advancement opportunity or career change could add enough to your educational background to make you a more attractive candidate for such options.

Colleges offering online courses or online degrees should also be considered as they can help you in achieving your goals of career progression via advanced studies. These days many of the traditional colleges like University of Massachusetts, University of Maryland, Northeastern University and more have started offering accredited online programs. View a comprehensive list of online colleges.

You may even find that courses or programs offered by way of your employer or paid for by your employer could enhance your existing education. And there may also be programs offered in your community at locations such as libraries or community centers, which, when supplemented by college coursework — or even on their own — could provide the necessary continued education you’ve been looking for.