Guest Blogger: AgCareers.com University Partner Colorado State University
Ralph Towell was raised in packing houses, watching his mother and father ship beans, cucumbers, and squash to vegetable stores. His father and grandfather started their own produce distribution business. Despite the agricultural family he was born into, there came a point in his professional career where Ralph realized he was making decisions based on his gut and not his expertise: the decision to go back to school.
The agriculture industry continues to shift and change. If you’re working in this field, you may sometimes reach the same point Ralph did and wonder how you can continue to grow in your career. Which leads to the question, “Are you ready to go back to school?” There are many factors that go into a decision to finish your undergraduate degree or continue on to earn a master’s. Here are a few questions (and answers) to help guide your decision-making process.
What level of education do I need to make the next move?
Aiming for a graduate degree can qualify you for higher-level leadership positions and teach you to conduct research. This can mean significant increases in salary. This also requires the largest time and financial commitment. Completing a bachelor’s degree, a certificate, or a digital badge program can help to advance your knowledge and set you apart from your peers. Certificates and digital badge programs allow you to learn new skills in a short amount of time.
Will school fit into my schedule?
You can expect that for every credit hour, you will need to set aside 2-3 hours of study time per week. Many courses are 3 credits, so you would spend 6-9 hours a week for each class. Start by considering how much time a week you would be able to spend on classes. Then figure out how many classes you could fit into that time.
Working a job, having a family, or other activities, can make it more challenging to be a full-time student. However, flexible, online programs are made for people with busy lives, and allow you to study from home on your own schedule. And remember, going part-time is also an option if you are ready now to go back to school.
What am I looking for in a degree program?
To answer this question, you need to begin by thinking about what’s driving you to go back to school. Do you want to make more money, complete a degree you already started, turn your passion into a career, or maybe make a difference in the world? Diving into these questions will help you to decide what’s important. Then, start to consider what’s most important to you in a program, including:
- Online vs. on campus
- Tuition cost
- School rankings
- Faculty in the program
- Ability to transfer credits
- Application deadlines
- School accreditation
When Ralph made the decision to go back to school, he enrolled in an agricultural business bachelor’s program online with Colorado State University. Today, he works as a Category Advisor for Duda Farm Fresh Foods where he’s able to handle complex data to make better business decisions.
CSU is a proud University Partner of AgCareers.com, and offers master’s and bachelor’s degrees, certificates, courses, and other training online and at a distance. Interested in learning more about your educational options? Explore CSU’s online agriculture programs.