There are countless things vying for your time and attention. Your priorities may be divided between paying off debt, saving for your future, and having some fun with what you earn. It’s hard to set aside money to continue your education while you’re balancing all the things.
But for some people, it’s essential to get Continuing Education each year, and others want to advance their careers but need more education to do it. The struggle is real, but you can prioritize your continuing education with these 6 tips.
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Understand The Requirements Of Your Career
Many careers, especially in the medical, financial, and education fields, require annual Continuing Education Units (CEUs) just to maintain licensing. You need to know what the requirements are not only for you to just keep doing your job, but also for what you need to advance. Some people need more college courses or to take more tests.
Others will need to pursue higher level degrees. Different levels of training are needed even within a similar field. For instance EMS continuing education will have different options than EMT’s. Make sure the kinds of classes you want to take will meet the requirements of the career you are in or the career you want to be in.
Once you know what’s needed, it’s time to set some goals. You can do that by thinking about the kind of life you want to live in the future and how getting more education can help you do it. For those looking to switch careers, you’ll need to look at what you have and what classes can help you reach your goals.
Make your goals concrete with a deadline to be sure you’ll take the steps necessary to reach it. Saying, “I want to get my master’s degree someday” is far more nebulous than saying, “I’m going to start my master’s program next fall.”
You’d be amazed at how motivating it is to have concrete goals to work towards.
Create A Budget
Here comes the big part. The budget is critical. If you know the classes you need and you have a goal in mind. You know when you want (or need) to start or finish the program you’re choosing, and the money you must have to make it happen. Creating a budget is critical. If you don’t already use one, here’s your sign.
It’s time to create a budget. Keep it as simple as possible. In one bucket list all the money that comes in each month. In the other bucket, list all of your expenses including housing, food, gas, insurance, etc. Anything you have to spend money on.
Then see what’s left over. If you have extra, that’s what you should allocate for savings for school or other needs.
Carve Out Time On The Calendar
This one is also hard. If you’re busy already, making time for yourself for school will be hard. Look at the things on your schedule that you can suspend temporarily. Maybe you do volunteer work or run your kids to and from activities.
No matter what it is, if you need more time to do some continuing education, it’s okay to say no for a season. By making money a priority and then making the time a priority, you’re more likely to do it and complete it.
Look For Areas To Cut Back On
No one wants to let things go but having the money you need to reach your goals might require some minor sacrifices. Let’s be real, if you’re continuing your education, you probably won’t have much time to binge watch Netflix.
Look for those little things you can cut for a while to help you have a bigger financial buffer while you take more classes. Make coffee at home instead of going to a café every day. Take lunch from home in a cooler if you must instead of eating out. You’ll have more money in your pocket for sure.
For many professions, continuing education is required. Follow these steps to help make it easier to prioritize continuing education.
Erin is the mother of identical twin girls and their slightly older brother. She is a domestic engineer, and previously had a career leading customer service teams for a major HVAC company. Cleaning without harsh chemicals, and cooking easy and usually healthy meals are part of Erin's daily life. She volunteers with youth leaders, and genuinely wants to help others win. Erin has a degree in Communications, with a focus on Broadcast Journalism.