Many say that a leader is born, not raised. While there are some aspects of leadership that require natural personality traits, it doesn’t by any means indicate that leaders don’t need extra training. It doesn’t take a degree to be a leader, but sometimes degrees are necessary for your preferred career path to provide you with the skills you need. Here are things to consider before choosing a degree program.
Getting Creative With Your Credits
Of course, there are many different ways to get a degree, including a few flexible options. If you are eager and have the opportunity to get work experience, you can take a few community college classes while you work. This is also a great option for aspiring leaders already a few years into their careers, as many offer night classes that you can go to after work. Getting basic courses taken care of at community classes can be a great way to save some money and get a head start on your education, even if you are working at the same time.
Another option is to see if you can get credits for job experience or an internship. For example, if you already know the material of a class due to industry experience, you can challenge the class for credit or test into a higher level class and receive credits for prior learning. Additionally, internships are increasingly becoming requirements for graduation in universities across the country.
If you want to fit more classes into your schedule, but you need to keep your full-time job, you also have the option of taking classes online. According to Arizona State University, 5.8 million students across the U.S. take classes online, and over 60 percent work either full- or part-time jobs. This will require time management and determination, but online programs make it easier for you to complete — or at least work towards — advanced, specialized degrees such as a Master’s in Social Work.
Where Do You Want To Be
If you are pursuing an advanced degree, then you likely know where you are headed and what you need to get there. Just be sure to double check before you make definitive plans to pursue a degree. Once you know what you want to do, you should try to avoid starting on one path and later finding out that it was the wrong one.
To do this, you can talk to people in the field you want to be in. If you already work at a company you want to see yourself grow and lead in, then talk to your boss, HR, the CEO, whoever you can to make sure you will get where you want to be. You can also ask someone to be your mentor or business coach. If you are looking to change direction in your career in leadership, find a couple of companies and talk to a manager, hiring manager, or HR to see what qualifications will allow you to work there someday.
This can help you figure out what type of advanced degree you will need, whether it’s a master’s, a PhD, or even an extra bachelor’s degree. In some cases, vocational school or even apprenticeships may be the right answer, as they focus their courses on job-related material more than academia. As long as you do research beforehand, the path you take will help you become a great leader in your career.
She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader, and dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons creativity enough that she’ll get more than groans and eye rolls in response. To read more of her work, follow her on Twitter @faulknercreek