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Is Getting A Second Degree Right For You? (Do THIS First…)

If your current job isn’t satisfying, you may be wondering what to do. Do you try to find a new position within the same niche? Or, should you be focusing on getting a second degree and starting over in a new field?

Both options can improve your overall job satisfaction if they are the right decision for you. People may avoid going back to school because they think they’re too old or that changing careers will be too difficult. But neither of these beliefs is true. You’re never too old to change your career path and work a job you love.

See below for all the reasons returning to college might be right for you.

Is getting a second degree worth itIs it OK to get a second bachelor’s degree?

It’s always okay to go back to school, but make sure you have a solid plan in place.

If your first degree doesn’t involve what you really want to do, a second degree can increase your chance for better job opportunities. And, a second degree can also give you a chance to “do things right” if you graduated with less than stellar grades or a lack of experience.

However, be mindful of how and why you’re getting your second degree.

  • Will you also need to get a master’s?
  • Will your job prospects be better?
  • How will you pay for it?

These are all things that you should keep in mind before heading back.

Related: Is College a Waste of Money?

Is it smart to get a second degree?

Is it wise to get a second degree?

It can be, especially if you’re trying to transition out of a field that doesn’t pay well. It can also be smart to do to “keep up” with the changing times.

For example, many people working in the 80s and 90s are STILL working today. But so many haven’t been able to keep up with technology and the changes it’s made, so they haven’t been able to grow as much in their careers. Or, they have to take jobs they wouldn’t have thought because they lack the skills that many of today’s jobs require.

How long does it take to go back and get a second bachelor’s degree?

Will it take another 4 years to get a second degree?

This will depend on what you’re studying and how much time you can dedicate.

Luckily, many bachelor’s degrees have the same core subjects (English, Math, Philosophy, etc.). So you likely won’t have to re-take them.

Is it worth getting a second degree?The average time to get a second bachelor’s ranges from 2-4 years.

You may be able to get your degree faster if you can focus on more classes, or it may take you longer if you plan on going part-time. It depends on you.

Related: Investing In College: Is Going Back to School Worth It?

Is it better to get a master’s or a second bachelor’s?

This depends. Are you planning on making an entire career change? If so, a second bachelor’s is probably the better choice. If you want to stay in your current field (or something similar) and get a promotion or qualify for bigger opportunities, a master’s may be a better route.
 

Can I get funding for a second degree?

Is financial aid available for a second degree? Are their other options for funding a second degree?

Yes, although this will depend on your finances and the opportunities you took during your first degree.

  • You may qualify for scholarships or grants.
  • You may also be able to talk your current job into paying for some (or all!) of the degree.
  • And, you can usually qualify for federal loans for some degrees (like master’s).

Related: Financial Planning for College Students (That Can Save You $$$ In Loans!)

Is having multiple degrees worth it?

If you go back to school and get yet another degree, now you have two (or more)! Is having multiple degrees worth it?

It can be, but only if you utilize them to their full advantage. You’ll still want to update your resume, talk about the new skills you’ve acquired, and more. Getting another degree doesn’t mean an automatic “in” to a new company or career.

Related: The Real Cost of College

Getting a second degree - things you need to knowGetting A Second Degree: What You Need To Know

Getting a second degree can be lucrative. But, you need to know what to focus on and how to leverage it.

Here’s what you need to know…

Career Growth

With so many fields rapidly expanding, it’s hard to know what employers are looking for so you need to possess the right skillset. For instance, marketing and communications is nothing like it used to be. Now, certain jobs actually overlap. Without the right credentials, career growth could stall.

Earning a second degree can put you ahead of the competition and help you land a role you love. In addition, it can also pave the way for you to…

  • earn a higher salary,
  • earn promotions at your current company,
  • or change business sectors entirely.

Related: How to Stop Being an Underemployed College Graduate

Personal Satisfaction

Aside from the monetary gains, you also need to think about personal gratification. Earning another degree will make you feel accomplished and proud of yourself. You’ll feel more confident knowing you applied yourself and even though it was tough, you reached your educational goals.

If you DON’T think you’ll feel that way, a second degree may not be worth it. It’s not always about the money.

paying back student loansFinancing Your Education

Working full-time and going to college is challenging. However, it’s possible when you have a plan. If your present place of employment isn’t covering the cost of continued education, you could always use help in finding scholarships.

You would create a profile online that matches you with a variety of possible scholarship options. From there, you can decide which scholarship would best suit your educational needs. And since there are so many options available, you could have a higher chance of being awarded a scholarship.

Related: How to Work Toward a Debt-Free College Degree

Acceptance to Grad School

If grad school is on the agenda, earning another degree could help you be accepted.

Even though you graduated, your GPA might not have been as high as you would have liked. Getting another degree can help you graduate with a higher GPA and open the door to graduate school.

In addition, if you already have a master’s but want to work in a different sector, earning a second master’s can make that happen. This is especially true if want you to teach your specialty.

With more people wanting to work remotely, it’s not uncommon to see previous corporate workers switch over to university teaching. That means having an additional degree that allows you to do that.

Getting a Second Degree – Making The Final Decision

Deciding on another degree is personal. There really is no right or wrong answer. But it’s always best to weigh the pros and cons of going back to school prior to applying and going through the process.

In addition to the time commitment, finding a new job might not happen instantaneously. If you’re prepared for that, but still want a career change, I say go for it.

What about you? Are you interested in getting a second degree? Do you think you’ll go for it?

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AUTHOR Kimberly Studdard

Kim Studdard is a project manager for online entrepreneurs and small businesses. When she isn't spending time with her daughter and husband, or reading her growing pile of horror books, you'll find her working on her HR degree and working towards FIRE.

2 Comments

  1. Hello, Derek. I hope this reaches you. I am a 52-year old, divorced female for almost three years. I am part of the demographic that entails former stay-at-home moms and housewives as well as a former minister’s spouse serving a mainline religious denomination. I fit the category of the “many [that] haven’t been able to keep up with technology and the changes it’s made, so they haven’t been able to grow as much in their careers [mine were unpaid but still were and are lifetime contributions]. Or, they have to take jobs they wouldn’t have thought because they lack the skills that many of today’s jobs require”. This last statement is very valid.
    I am considering returning to college to become more marketable. I have a new mortgage on a modest property, low income and have scant access to community employment/ training/apprenticeship resources.
    What are your honest and logical thoughts regarding pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Social Work in Central Florida?
    Thank you for your valuable advice.

    • Hi Madeline. Thanks for commenting. I’m sorry for the tough position you’re in!

      Your idea certainly isn’t a bad one. I think social work makes sense as profession for someone such as yourself. However, be certain that you weigh the cost of education with the salary of social work. Based on my experience, most social work jobs pay $30,000-$35,000, which is not a lot in today’s environment.

      Here’s what I mean by my above comment. Let’s say you’re earning $30,000 a year now. If it costs $100,000 to get a degree and you only earn $5,000 more per year, then it would take 20 years (more when considering interest, but let’s keep this simple) to break even on your investment. At most, I like to see a 3-year payback on your investment. So in this case, to spend $15,000 or less to increase your wages by $5,000 a year.

      Also, I wonder if there are other certifications you could get to become a social worker instead of doing a full degree program? I’d look into that as well if I were you!

      Hope these thoughts help you in your journey!!


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