You may have decided that pursuing an MSN may be the step you need in order to advance your nursing career. However, you’re not sure if you can afford to quit working in order to go to school. If you’re wondering whether to work while completing an online MSN, here are some points to consider.
Take Stock of Your Situation
The first thing you need to do is to look at your current lifestyle, as well as to assess your educational and career goals. You can start by formulating your career goals in a sentence or two and then posting it somewhere you will see it regularly, such as a mirror or your computer monitor. This will give you a visual reminder and additional motivation as you pursue your degree. Next, consider your current responsibilities. What are your work hours? Do you have a family to care for at home? Can you get some household help from your family or pay a professional to take on some of your current obligations?
It’s important to know yourself and your habits when deciding whether to work full time while completing your Master’s in Nursing. Are you self-motivated? Are you a procrastinator? Online learning is a flexible option because it often allows you to complete coursework at a time that is convenient for you, while not requiring additional hours commuting to campus and being away from home. That’s great, but you should know that an online program will require you to be incredibly dedicated and able to commit to completing assignments in a timely manner. Having good study skills and a firm grasp on reading comprehension is necessary for those studying online.
One factor in how many credits you decide to take may be your school’s financial aid policies. Many schools require at least half-time status in order to receive financial assistance. Half-time status is usually two classes, while full-time may only be one more depending on your school’s policy. In addition, if your employer is sponsoring any of your educational credits, it is important to understand what they require in terms of course load and work hours committed. These policies will likely all play a role in your decision as to whether to work full-time while pursuing your MSN.
Weigh the Options
Once you’ve reviewed your goals and personal situation, done a thorough self-assessment and looked at the policies related to your education, take some time to weigh all of the information and to consider your options. If you absolutely must work full-time for financial reasons or to receive financial assistance from your employer, you’ll want to determine how many credits your school considers a full-time course load and what is part-time. Then be truthful to yourself about whether you have the motivation and the time to successfully complete a full-time schedule and not become overwhelmed. It’s a good idea to speak with your academic adviser in order to develop a course schedule that is balanced and works well with your lifestyle, regardless of your decision. You’ll also want work with your adviser to determine how long it will take to complete your degree program. The more information you have, the better decision you will make for yourself.
Keep these factors in mind when deciding whether to work while completing an online MSN.