Guest Contributor | April 2013

Augmenting Your Education With An Advanced Degree

Editor’s Note: Jenna Smith is back with a featured guest post for our “Guest Post Mondays”.  We welcome her back with this informative article!

The modern era of education and your professional development has evolved from it was a decade ago. With cut-throat competition, the more you invest in your professional development, the more you increase your chances of fairing in the job market. The college degree that you have is not a distinguishing mark any more when it comes to job applications. Now, it is the dawn of diversification.

Diversifying your professional development

As is the case with business, you need to diversify your education portfolio. Gone are the days when a professional degree would warrant you a high paying job. Now, the market looks for integrated individuals; those who have multi-tasking skills and not limited to their fields only.

If you are an arts teacher/artist, learning about how to conduct business would do you no harm. The skills that you add to your professional value would pay you back some day or another, but they don’t ever go to waste.

Methods of diversification

As mentioned above, diversification is the need of the hour; there are certain ways to achieve diversification when it comes to education. There is always a margin of innovation that you can aim for.

Sometimes, the innovation needs to be thought out. For instance, you are a scientific researcher who spends most of the day working in the laboratory. By using an arts integration approach, you can add color to your illustrations. This not only makes it easy on the eyes, but also singles you out as somebody who is willing to think out of the box.

Getting an advanced degree

Education never reaches a saturation point and there is a possibility that what you learn today is going to be debunked or revolutionized tomorrow. You have to identify yourself as someone who rides the wave, not get drowned in it. A higher degree or a certificate in a different field to yours would give you precedence over your field mates.

For example, if you get a Certificate in Project Management, you can apply the skills that you have learnt at your workplace. The thing about project management is that it is not only for business professionals, it is for everybody. This not only adds to your education repertoire, but also raises your career prospect.

One of the best example is of painters/artists who do courses or get an advanced degree in graphic designing. On one hand, they are aware of the concept of art, but by knowing how it is done in the information technology age, they increase their skill set and increase chances of landing attractive contracts from employers.

The degree in other fields apart from your main one can be pursued in a traditional education environment as well as online with the availability of virtual education.

Improving your resume

The resume that you have is your face in the market. Organizations in the times of recession are looking to hire people with multiple skills. In this case, the best opportunity for your career lies in spreading out your education options.

The idea is of maximizing your potential using the most creative of approaches. For the purpose, it is important that you keep your mind flexible when it comes to education options. There is nothing wrong with going to a classroom again; it is part of your professional integration.

About the Author

Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of The Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, STEAM, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education. Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter. Email Susan