If you’re struggling with your current financial situation as a parent, your gut reaction might be to pursue higher education for the sake of your career.
Conventional wisdom tells us that those will college degrees typically earn more than those without them; however, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to going back to school.
Don’t know where or not your potential degree is really worth it in the long-run? To crunch the numbers and figure out if higher education is realistic, take the following five considerations into account.
Does Your Dream Job Require a Degree?
Especially if you’re dreaming of starting your own business, that college degree might not be as essential as you might think. There are endless stories out famous entrepreneurs making their way with little to no college education. In fact, it’s arguably more important to start a business based on your passions rather than a traditional educational background.
Sure, fields such as coding and computer science might require some college if you’re applying to a job, but even then there are so many opportunities to teach yourself such skills online. From coding to marketing and beyond, there’s more information at your fingertips than ever before. Likewise, the barrier to entry for your dream career might be lower than you’ve been led to believe.
Is It Worth the Debt?
The college debt crisis is getting out of hand for so many people who thought getting a degree was the best course of action but were led to a rude awakening financially. The fact remains that if you’re already debt free, you probably shouldn’t pursue a degree to put yourself into financial peril. Bear in mind that night classes and online degrees are always an option. It may require more legwork up front, but could also be the only way you avoid unnecessary debt.
What About Your Kids?
This is the big elephant in the room for many parents looking to get a degree: what happens to your kids once you get accepted into a program?
There are many hidden issues and problems that arise, especially for single parents or those with irregular schedules. For example, do you have the bandwidth to juggle school and your children? Is daycare in your budget? Are you willing to give up time with your kids in lieu of your degree?
These are tough questions to answer, but they’re arguably the most important.
Do You Have Your Partners’ Support?
Communication is key to any household, plain and simple. Before you take the leap and go after your degree, it’s crucial that you have a heart-to-heart with your partner or those close to you in terms of whether or not they support your decision. Make sure that there are no hard feelings or jealousy, especially if they’ll be saddled with more responsibilities around the house as a result of you going back to school.
It’s easy for resentment to build if you don’t speak out right away. Rather than get stuck in a messy family situation, talk about all of these points before you even think about college.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting a degree in pursuit of a better life for you and your family. That said, keeping these considerations in mind will help you determine whether or not such a path is realistic.