Whether it’s been a life ambition to pursue further education or it’s the next step on your career path, juggling a course and work together may be something you’ll face. Regardless of what stage you are in your life, it can be a formidable experience. With that in mind, let’s discuss the work and study pros and cons to see how it can benefit and put you to the test!
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Work and study pros and cons
The below table highlights the differences between working v study.
|Work and study advantages||Work and study disadvantages|
|Still receiving an income||Little free time|
|Develop experience and competence simultaneously||Can be stressful and tiring|
|Aids future career choices and promotion opportunities||Work or study performance may decline|
|Course could be funded by employer||Slower than studying full time|
|Can use employment for project ideas||Usually don’t feel the college experience|
Being able to study simultaneously is a saving grace for some people. For others, it’s an utter nightmare that they will shudder at for years after. So, what should you know before considering to work and study at the same time? Read on to discover the good, the bad and the factors that you may not have even considered and whether work and study is worth it!
In a survey of 1000 workers, 49% stated that they would favor a hybrid model of working from home and the office. 26% prefer to work remote, while 25% prefer to work in the office full time. Source
Work and study advantages
Still receiving an income
If you have been working for even a few months or years, it will be challenging and often not feasible to do without an income and go study. The natural alternative is to study part-time while continuing to work. With this model, you get the best of both worlds.
With study, it’s generally unpaid, unless you’re funded by a grant, scholarship or paid apprenticeship.
Even if you do get paid, it’s not going to be much. It may not even support your current lifestyle, bills or your dependents.
Tip: Many online courses are cheaper than on-campus ones.
Develop experience and competence simultaneously
Working and studying simultaneously allows you to develop experience and knowledge at the same time. This can catapult your career development to new levels.
Depending on how related the course material is to your current employment, you may gain valuable knowledge and ideas which you can utilize in your existing or new role.
Aids future career choices and promotion opportunities
Completing a course is one of the most effective methods of demonstrating your commitment to your career. It also demonstrates that you are willing to learn and develop which is extremely favorable when you are being considered for a new role.
Completing a course also awards you with new qualifications which may be essential to securing a specific job, e.g., web development, qualified person in a regulated factory.
Having a degree also means you can apply for higher roles which have a higher salary attached to them.
Course could be funded by employer
Maintaining a wage is only one financial element you need to consider. The cost of the course is another, and more specifically, who’s paying for it.
A growing number of companies now have development programs where they will partially or fully fund your course.
Part-time courses range in prices from $100 for short courses to anywhere around $40,000 for a master’s degree!
Generally, there is a clause that you will need to refund the employer if you leave the company within 1 – 5 years of completing the course.
Tip: Before applying for a course, you should evaluate if you are able to pay for it on the off chance you decide to leave your company during or after the course is complete.
Can use employment for project ideas
Most courses require a project to be completed. If you have work that can be used to complete the project, then you are not only getting tasks done that you need to do anyway, you’re also progressing your course project.
If your job doesn’t have any suitable opportunities for projects or if you’re not working, it becomes more challenging. You’re going out of your way to find something to work on; plus, you’re merely doing it for the sake of the project.
Work and study disadvantages
Little free time
When studying and working simultaneously, you’re looking at up to 20 a week for part-time study and around 40 hours a week for full time work. Therefore, your free time will be limited.
If you are already living a busy life or have kids or dependents, you’ll have even less time again.
I have spoken with numerous working parents who took on a part-time course. They stated that they had to get their spouse or someone to step up and assist with childcare and household duties.
If you have a busy social life, this may need to be cut back too.
With study, you can complete this at any time that suits you and your schedule. So, you might find a few hours in the evening after work or on weekends. You just need to learn how to balance work and study.
Tip: Getting up early, skipping lie ins and reducing nights out and day trips will give you more study time.
Can be stressful and tiring
Juggling both a job and a course will undoubtedly be a challenge. If the course is a particularly difficult one, e.g., the course to become a qualified person, it can elevate your stress levels further.
You may already be dealing with the challenges of a full-time job.
Putting extra hours in on evenings and at the weekend on top of that can leave you feeling tired, especially when deadlines are looming or you’re cramming for exams.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a 4 day work week, this extra day can be used to catch up!
Work or study performance may decline
Our productivity levels are dependent on the number of hours we work. Once we work over 55 hours, our performance begins to decline. This can lead to your work or study suffering.
If you have been putting in overtime in the past to keep on top of work, you might have cut that out and feel the pinch.
Or if you’re trying to focus after a day of work, you’ll often find that you’re struggling to concentrate on the subject.
But if work or school is harder is another topic altogether!
Slower than studying full time
Most part-time courses are spread out over 1 – 3 years so that people in employment or with other commitments can attend them.
If you were to complete the course full time, you would have it completed in a shorter time. This means that you wouldn’t have to wait as long to apply for a particular role.
Plus, you would be fully dedicated to the course and not having to juggle work and study.
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Usually don’t feel the college experience
For anyone who went to university, you’ll have had the college experience. With part-time courses, particularly remote courses, this experience is usually lacking.
While the college experience may not bother you as you get older or if you’re more introverted, if you’re younger or a socialite, you will miss out on making connections and embracing the culture that you would have experienced as a full-time student.
I personally loved life in college. When I completed a distance learning part-time course, I didn’t get the same experience at all. You don’t really get to talk to your fellow classmates or have discussions with your lecturer as easily. I was never even on campus!
But perhaps some courses are run different, or they are better now at engaging people with the advent of Teams meetings.
By using the above, you can learn what to expect when you combine working and studying. The reality is that many people won’t be able to give up their job or income to pursue a full-time course.
This is where part-time courses pay dividends there are both pros and cons to working and studying.
Fortunately, study will only consume a few months or years of their life before they are finished.
If you would like to further enhance your knowledge on the world of study and work, I have written some articles that are without a doubt worth a look.
Here are some other useful articles I wrote that you should go check out:
- Is Work Or School Harder? – 12 Painful & Proven Factors!
- Is Full Time Work Hard? – 10 Factors To Consider!
- Casual Work v Part Time – 6 Remarkable Differences!
- Annualized Hours Explained – Helpful Tips & How It Works!
- How Unlimited Holidays Work – An Insider Guide + FAQs!