Are you thinking of expanding yourself and working through an educational course, but aren’t sure you can handle a full schedule? Well, the option to go part-time is always present.
Part-time courses are great if you want to have a more relaxed option to learn your chosen area. Before you jump into it, though, you need to know a few things first. There’s no reason to jump into things blind, after all.
First, check if the institution you’re looking into – or the course you want – exists as a part-time offer.
Some educational courses are strictly full-time, and some places don’t offer part-time for all of their certifications. Do the research first so that you can plan accordingly. You might find your choices limited regarding location if you don’t.
Check first if there are other needs, like specific qualifications you have to present.
Non-traditional students that go for part-time courses undergo scrutiny. Some universities and other educational institutions might want documentation submitted for things like appropriate education. If you have relevant experience, that might weigh more than traditional entry requirements.
For students that have work experience, that is likely to count more than other qualifications.
You need to ask yourself how much time you have to devote to the degree, too.
A part-time degree will often run as long as five years but can reach ten in rare instances. A shorter course will still take a few months. The variation comes in both the topics that need to be covered and in how the course itself is structured.
Some institutions or courses allow you to vary what modules or credits you take, which can slow things down based on your needs. A more rigid timetable is the standard for other places, forcing you to keep up with their pace.
Can you choose the hours to suit yourself?
The ability to do that will vary based on the course and the institution. Sometimes, you’ll need to show up at pre-set times and days. You’ll need to wrap your schedule around them.
Others are more flexible or might offer distance learning. These choices are more flexible and give you more freedom.
Depending on the description of the course, your classmates might be part-timers or full-timers. Most universities have percentages on the split, but smaller ones might not.
As a rule of thumb, your fellow part-timers will be older. There are a few younger students, but they’re in the minority.
The age disparity might seem daunting but consider the other angle. Both groups have a lot to learn from each other. Older students can learn how to interact better with new technology. Younger ones can pick up wisdom from the experience of their old peers.
Will the course centre on a classroom environment?
Most part-time courses run mainly in campuses or classrooms. However, many of them involve some practical learning element that takes things away from a classroom. Some of the training might come through partners, rather than the institution you chose.
In general, employers don’t prefer full-time degrees. The ability to juggle work with other commitments is something that most managers will see as valuable. The skills needed to manage time like that can be applied to work-related tasks.
Finally, part-time is not the easy choice. Get that out of your head.