For many school leavers the decision whether to invest in a degree or jump straight into an entry-level job is a serious one. Whether driven by economics or personal preference, this decision can have a major impact on the course of a professional career.
However, with the growth of online BA degree courses, there are now greater opportunities to have the best of both worlds, particularly for those interested in a career in business or marketing. There are distinct advantages of gaining work experience, since there is nothing quite like a full-time job to prepare you for real-world challenges. This can be especially true for students who did not do well in school, who will often find real satisfaction from joining the work force. Without the tedium of the classroom, these individuals find environments that inspire them to succeed on their own terms.
Despite the availability of grants for lower income families, not everyone can afford to invest in a full-time, traditional degree right after school. It is possible for professionals to start their careers in sales, customer service, or other positions that offer on-the-job training. Although degree programs build critical skills, few colleges and universities can fully prepare students for real-world challenges. Despite the substantial pressure to meet deadlines, college experiences do not needlessly match the demands of a regular, full-time job and many successful entrepreneurs and business leaders have achieved success through the work.
However, there's no doubt that earning a degree also offers many benefits for those facing tougher job requirements in an ever-changing marketplace. Throughout most of the 20th century, success at GCSE or A 'Level was enough to convince many employers that job applicants could handle most basic tasks. In fact, many large companies operated internal training and development programs for recent school leavers. As a result, many people enjoyed long, successful careers; often working for the same company their entitlement lives.
Changes in the global job market have put an end to those traditions. Very few people experience the stability of working for only one or two employers through their careers. In fact, most workers entering their first job today will change career paths at least seven times before reaching retirement age.
With workers jumping ship more frequently, few companies can afford to invest so heavily in employee development. Therefore, more employers rely on job seekers to develop their own skills. As a result, the demand for workers with degrees has rocketed over the past few decades.
So, for those school leavers who would rather head out into the 'real' world, than to an ivory tower, the option to study for a degree online whilst gaining experience 'on the job' really does offer the best of both worlds. In fact, willingness to consider this option, in an increasingly competitive market place, may be the icing on the cake for prospective employers. Embarking on an online degree gives far greater flexibility over the length of time spent studying and, could well give entry-level professionals a real edge over those who've studied in more traditional ways.