So you’ve decided that you’re ready to make your next move and start a graduate degree program—but your days are already packed with work commitments. You may be wondering, “Can I really manage attending grad school with a full-time job?”
The short answer is “Yes.” But as a full-time professional, you have to be prepared for the realities of long days and competing responsibilities. Luckily, there are many options available. In some respects, there are actually some benefits to attending grad school with a full-time job.
Adding “earn a degree” to your to-do list will mean that you need to make some schedule adjustments. Luckily, many grad programs—and, increasingly, jobs—provide flexible scheduling options. Consider what is most realistic for you in terms of time management and cost. For example:
A part-time program. This schedule will allow you to take a class or two per semester and might work better if you’re not in a hurry to complete your degree, or in cases where there are just too many scheduling conflicts with your full-time job. If your job has certain times of year that are busier than others, this might be a good option as you can adjust your course load accordingly.
An online program. Online degree programs often offer the most flexibility. However, you will not have the traditional experience of interacting in person with professors and other students. Make sure the program is accredited and be aware that although most employers now accept online degrees, some may still have a bias toward traditional degree programs.
One of the benefits of attending grad school with a full-time job is that your employer may cover some of the cost. It’s essential that you discuss this in advance with your HR manager to learn about eligibility.
You may need to have worked at the organization for a certain amount of time before you qualify for this benefit. Similarly, you may be required to stay a certain amount of time after getting your tuition reimbursed, or have to pay it back if you switch jobs before that designated date.