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Should I Go Back to School? A Guide For Adult Learners

Posted by Sara Giboney Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021

A woman is looking at the screen of her laptop with an open book in front of her computer.Choosing to go back to school to get your healthcare graduate degree is a big one. You probably have many questions about how you can make it fit into your busy schedule, whether it will help you achieve your career goals or if it’s the right time in your life to pursue more education.

“There will never be a ‘perfect time’ to kick off a graduate program as an adult learner,” said Sydney Gress, Nebraska Methodist College (NMC) recruitment and admissions coordinator. “There will always be other obligations, whether it be work or family. If you are interested in starting a graduate program, take the plunge now. We can work with you to set up a manageable plan of study that fits your work/life responsibilities. Make yourself a priority and allow yourself the opportunity to grow personally and professionally.”

Getting a graduate degree will give you more opportunities to grow in your career and become a leader in the healthcare community. It can also help increase your earning potential. 

Those who attend grad school at NMC have healthcare careers that allow them to live with meaning and make a difference in the world. 

Reasons it Might be the Right Time for Graduate School

  • You want to advance your career
  • You want to change your career
  • You want to be a leader in your field
  • You want to be an expert in your industry
  • You want to be a stronger candidate for new positions and promotions
  • You have an area of interest you want to pursue
  • You’re ready to earn more money
  • Your employer will pay for all or some of your education

When to Start Graduate School

If you’re finishing your undergraduate degree, you may want to consider going to graduate school right away. Everything you’ve learned as an undergrad is fresh in your mind, and you’re accustomed to life as a student. 

Having your graduate degree early in your career could help you move into leadership positions faster. Some jobs require an advanced degree for entry-level positions, so a graduate degree might be necessary for your desired career.

If you’ve been working in your field for a while and gained on-the-job experience, you may have more clarity around what you want to study and your career goals. Your experience could also be an asset to your grad school application and your classes.

Your employer may help pay for your tuition and expenses, making graduate classes more affordable. 

How to Balance Graduate School with Your Job

Most graduate programs are 100% online or have an on-campus and online hybrid format. You can get a professional education on a convenient schedule, which will allow you to balance school with your full-time job.

“There might never be the perfect time to go back to school. But if it’s something you want to do, you can make it work,” said Jane Herman, NMC recruitment and admissions coordinator. “Our graduate programs offer flexibility for students just like you who have busy work and family lives. We will work with you to find a plan of study that fits your lifestyle, and you will have the support of faculty who understand that you have many other obligations in your life.”

NMC is small enough to give you individualized attention, with a 13:1 faculty-student ratio, but large enough to provide a high-quality education that will prepare you for a leadership role. 

How to Pay for Graduate School

Thinking about how you’re going to pay for your education may feel overwhelming, but there are many options to make grad school affordable.

“The cost of graduate school is a concern for many. I always encourage people to seek out scholarships and tuition assistance opportunities by researching several different avenues,” Herman said. “We offer a variety of scholarships and work hard to share that information out to potential and current students. Our students have a dedicated financial aid advisor who is more than happy to offer their help as well. I also recommend that students check with their employer, as many offer tuition assistance programs to their employees.”

Often healthcare employers will provide tuition assistance. If you work for Methodist Health System and attend NMC, the Tuition Assistance Program provides up to $3.500 a year for employees who have worked at least six months at a minimum of 16 hours per week prior to the beginning of the semester. 

Scholarships and grants are available for graduate students. You can also apply for federal or private student loans.

Types of Graduate Degrees and Graduate Level Jobs in Healthcare

Whether you want to be a nurse executive, a nurse practitioner, an occupational therapist, a hospital executive or a healthcare professor, a graduate degree in healthcare will help you get there.

How to Get a Graduate Degree in Healthcare 

Follow these steps to apply for graduate school at NMC:

Visit the program webpage to review specific application requirements for your program of interest. The list above may not include additional requirements necessary for your intended academic program.

If you have questions, reach out to an admissions coordinator at (402) 354-7200 or admissions@methodistcollege.edu.

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Topics: online education, Master of Occupational Therapy, graduate programs, Doctor of Nursing Practice, nurse practitioner, Healthcare Management

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