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Public, Documented Knowledge and Credential Programs

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

If your reason for wanting to learn knowledge and skills has to do with qualifying for a particular sort of work that interests you, you will almost certainly want to enter into a formal and accredited learning program that will result in your receiving a certificate such as a high school or college diploma or which will qualify you to sit for a license examination (such as a realtor's or a counselor's license). In other words, you'll have to go back to school.

School can be expensive and frustrating at any time of life. When you return to school as an adult it can be even more frustrating however, as you may have to balance the demands of your school program with other family or work demands. You may need to take out loans in order to afford school in the first place. School will take time away from other important areas of your life, including family and work. Also, it is likely that you will be required to take at least some classes that seem irrelevant to what you really want to learn. However you slice it, going to school will require sacrifice. What justifies sacrificing to attend school is that when you do so, you are investing in your future earning potential and happiness.

Like any investment, attending school and receiving a certificate diploma might pay off very well, or it might not; there is no guarantee For this reason, you should plan your school program very carefully before committing to it. Not all degrees are equal. Some degrees are much more sought after by potential employers than others. Some jobs that a degree may qualify you for are much more flexible in terms of the demands they place on your lifestyle than others. It's not a good idea to study something purely because it is enjoyable to you; doing so may make it very difficult to find a job when you leave school, thus defeating the purpose of attending at all from many people's point of view. You should have an idea of what the course of study will prepare you for before you commit yourself. Your choice of study should take all of your needs and the needs of your family, including your personal interests and your financial needs both, into account.