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Take two: Going back to school to find a successful new career path

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Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:36 am, Fri Aug 15, 2014.

(BPT) - Thinking about returning to school as a way to restart your career, enter a new field or complete the degree you never finished? Now may be the time. Adults are flocking back to school, with nearly 4 million people ages 35 and older enrolled in a degree-granting institution, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In fact, adults have become the fastest-growing demographic in universities across the United States.

Driven by the desire to improve earnings, change one’s life-style or reinvigorate the way one feels about going to work every day, going back to school could be the first step to getting there. The first step of course, is determining your professional goals and what experience is needed to achieve them. Even if you are not set on the exact goal, this process is essential in helping you arrive at the right field for you to explore.

With back-to-school season upon us, many may find themselves thinking about a teaching profession. A December 2013 survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Kaplan University’s School of Graduate Education found that 32 percent of Americans have considered a career in teaching. Additionally, the survey found 60 percent of parents believe they would make good teachers.

If you think the education field might be a good fit for you, there are online tools that can help you make the right decision regarding your future. One of the newest such tools is Kaplan’s new Virtual Advisor. It guides users through a series of questions and scenarios, offering interesting facts and information about many different education careers, from teaching and educational psychology to college and university administration. At the end, Virtual Advisor analyzes your answers and recommends the best education degree for you at Kaplan. While Virtual Advisor is a great resource for guidance in the education career space, there are other tools on the market for those exploring other careers, from government-sponsored websites to online career quizzes and surveys.

A new career in the education field may give you the fulfillment you desire and numerous job opportunities are available. There is a demand for teachers in many cities across the United States, but also consider various education career paths outside the classroom that may align with your aspirations. Many build on skills you may already have.

For example, if you have a background in psychology or would like to pursue the field, a master of science in educational psychology might be a good option. With this degree, you’ll learn how to build, implement, evaluate and improve instructional and training materials and programs for use in K-12 programs, colleges, corporate or military environments.

Those who have a love for technology or a knack for instruction design might consider a master of science in education in instructional technology. In this program, you’ll focus on the design, development and evaluation of instructional programs, materials and media in K-12 programs, higher education, corporate and military environments.

If your interests lie with helping people and being involved in education at the college level, a master of science in higher education will teach you the specialized skills you need to teach online or on campus, work as a college administration leader or pursue a student affairs position. To learn more about these and other education degrees, you can visit www.kaplanuniversity.edu/education.aspx.

No matter what you decide to go back to school for, make sure you follow your passion. This is the best path to self-fulfillment and a rewarding new career.

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