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How an Online Degree Helped My Career

By Kristie Janeway Jernigan, BS, MHA
East Tennessee State University and University of Phoenix Graduate

Getting an undergraduate or graduate degree is a great way to improve your career. However, getting a degree takes a lot of effort, and a big investment of time. This can be difficult for someone who has a full-time job, a family, or both. Here's how I made the decision to pursue a master's degree, and how I set about doing it.

Looking for a Way to Advance

Trying to change careers after a long time in the same career can be extremely difficult. Every time I requested a transfer, I was passed over in favor of someone with more experience, or with a better degree. I became increasingly frustrated and wanted to find a way to better myself.

I had worked in the same health care career for more than 20 years, and I felt that I'd gone as far as I could. I had always known that I wanted to get a graduate degree, but was never really sure if I wanted to pursue something different, or stay in the same line of work. However, what I did know is that I wanted to find a career that challenged me. I especially wanted to do something that would earn me a bigger paycheck and some financial security. I considered my options by researching careers, and chose a degree that would help me get my dream job.

Benefits of an Online University

Deciding on a degree was half the battle for me. Now, I needed to figure out what university would be the best for me, and how I would pay for it. Online resources were instrumental in helping me search for possible scholarships, grants and financial aid. I also used the Internet to research online universities and to help me find one that matched my needs.

I found that online universities actually provide the flexibility that I needed to achieve my goals. I did not want to be tied down with class times, study groups or getting to the library. I was able to easily get all of this done at my leisure. Don't get me wrong – you still spend a lot of time studying, writing papers and answering questions in class. However, it is done on your schedule, not one dictated by the school’s class schedule. You also save money on gas and books and can finish your educational program much faster than you would at a traditional university.

Moving on Up

The classes I took and the people I met getting my online degree were incredible. I was actually able to bond with several classmates, and became very close to one of my professors, who encouraged me to go for my doctorate. Getting my online master's degree has opened up opportunities that I would have never been exposed to otherwise. I was able to move into a job that doubled my income. I'm also happier than I have ever been.

While working on my master's degree, I also discovered I have a talent for writing. Once I graduated, I found a way to earn even more money writing health care articles for companies on the side. This new career would never have been possible had I not worked on that degree.

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