Going back to school at 40 can make you feel a bit like a dinosaur, but it can also be rewarding. You can brush up on skills for your current job, start a whole new career path, or increase your marketability to get a better job.

    Affirmations for Going Back to School at 40

    1. I appreciate the chance to learn new skills and discover new ideas for my job.
    2. My ability to learn helps me advance in my career.
    3. I focus on new concepts to make my work easier.
    4. I make new connections as I learn.
    5. I see how the concepts relate to my job and daily activities.
    6. I bring new ideas to my daily work schedule.
    7. I help my coworkers learn new strategies that make us a stronger team.
    8. My employer appreciates the new skills I learn and use every day.
    9. I can learn at any age.
    10. Today, I enjoy learning new concepts for work.

    The Benefits Going Back to School At 40

    You Have Real-World Perspective

    Learning is a lifelong endeavor, but experience comes with age. If you went to college or had vocational training right after high school, you viewed it as a means to get to the “real world.”

    Going back to school is a choice, not just something you have to do because your parents or guidance counselor said so. You have tons of experience, now you want to have the credentials to go with it.

    School Breaks Up the Boredom

    At 40, you’ve been in the workforce or “real world” for 20 years or more. At this point, you may be bored with your profession or your skills are outdated. Thank you internet.

    Going back to school breaks up the rut or routine. You have to challenge yourself to do more with less time. You also get to meet a bunch of new people who are working toward the same goal.

    Learning Can Increase Your Earnings

    People who go back to school have more job satisfaction and a sense of being on the right path.

    It’s probably because they are getting paid more. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows the more you learn, the more you earn. These are the median incomes of each degree earner.

    Those with a bachelor’s degree earn almost 50% more than earners who have no degree and some college.

    Educational attainmentMedian Weekly Earnings 2017
    Doctoral degree$1,743
    Professional degree1,836
    Master’s degree1,401
    Bachelor’s degree1,173
    Associate degree836
    Some college, no degree774
    High school diploma, no college712
    Less than a high school diploma520
    Total907

    Source: BLS

    It’s All About You

    One of the best things about being over 40 is not giving a care about what other people think.

    In your 20s you are trying to find out how the world works and where you rank. Are you living up to society’s ideas of success, beauty and making your mark.

    At 40ish, you know who you are. You have more resources and discipline. Going back to school at 40 is a chance to pursue educational interests you want.

    If you have kids, they may not be out of the house, but they can take care of dinner and let you have the time to study.

    When going back to school at 40, be sure to select a program that fits your schedule and caters to older learners who have to divide their time between work and family

    With the right planning, continuing your education can enhance your personal and professional future, giving you broader options and more security. Here are 10 ways to prepare yourself to go back to school at 40.

    Preparing for Going Back to School at 40

    Going back to school at 40 is not an all or nothing deal.

    1. Be Clear About Your Goals

    Really think about what you want to get out of returning to school. You may want to earn more money or start a whole new career.

    It’s a big investment of time and so keep track of whether you’re getting what you paid for. If you need help mapping out your goals, this article can show you how to set them.

    2. Do Your Research For a Career Change.

    If you are looking to make a midlife career change, research can help you assess whether a the profession you want makes sense for you.

    Read about the jobs outlook and qualifications needed in your chosen field. Talk with people who are already working in similar positions to benefit from their experience.

    3. Choose a School That Caters to Non-traditional Students.

    With a rocky economy and people living longer, many schools are reaching out to an expanding market of adult learners and other non-traditional students.

    You may be able to find schools that offer flexible scheduling, daycare, credits for work experience, and other benefits that will be helpful to you.

    Online programs are a good option for the non-traditional student. You can study and interact with students as your schedule allows. You don’t have to travel to campus or rearrange your work schedule.

    4. Start Back Gradually.

    Education is not an all or nothing endeavor. You can dip your toe in the water. You may prefer to register for a single workshop or take an online course before deciding to become a full-time student.

    It’s a good way to test the waters and find the most affordable way to accomplish your goals.

    Udemy has courses on hundreds of topics and it often has them priced at just $20. For example, if you think you want to pursue a career in graphic design, you could take this graphic design course to see if you like it.

    Then you could look at more education options.

    5. Brush Up on Your Study Habits.

    If you’ve been out of the classroom for a while, give yourself time to adjust.

    If you are taking classes online, they are different from in-class learning in that you have to manage your time well. There’s no classroom to go to, so you will have to create your own learning environment.

    Practice taking notes at a lecture or highlighting a chapter in a textbook. This Udemy class on study skills is one of the most popular and highest rated. Study Skills: Study Less, Better Grades, More Play Time.

    6. Budget Your Time and Money.

    Going back to school at 40 or any age is going to take time and money. You’ll want to manage both well.

    It can be challenging to finance your continuing education and balance your time between school, family, and work.

    Keep a calendar and monitor your priorities. Look into financial aid, grants, and ways to reduce your living expenses.

    Taking fewer classes and going the slow and steady route may be your best bet.

    7. Involve Your Family in Your Decision.

    Your whole family will be affected, so discuss your decision to go back to school with them. Listen to their concerns and feedback.

    Chances are they will support you, but you have to manage their expectations as far as how much time you’ll need to study, how many years it will take to complete the program and they can do to help.

    For example, if you usually cook homemade meals most of the time, you might need to lean on frozen meals or take out, so you’ll have more time to study.

    Get the kids and spouse to pitch in on the housework, so you can do your assignments.

    8. Enlist Your Family’s Support.

    This can’t be emphasized enough — you’ll need your family’s support to succeed, so work together as a team.

    If you have young children, they may feel ignored as you spend your time studying. You may want to set up special times when you focus on them and not your schoolwork.

    If the grandparents live nearby, enlist their help too. All of the support is meant to get you closer to your career goals. Can you feel the love?

    9. You are Setting a Good Example for Your Children.

    While getting a career boost and more joy out of your work is a great reward for going back to school at 40, you will also be a role model for your children.

    This thought is especially helpful if you feel uncomfortable about spending time apart from your children. Take heart in the fact that you’re setting a great example.

    10. Decide What to tell Your Employer.

    Many workplaces encourage their employees to continue their education. They offer tuition assistance programs for qualified people. They may even work with you to accommodate your class schedule.

    It’s your decision whether to inform your employer about your coursework.

    If you think it will be viewed favorably, you may want to inform people at work and take advantage of any continuing education benefits your employer may offer.

    • In any case, avoid letting your schoolwork interfere with your professional commitments.

    Going back to school as an adult can enrich your life in many ways and open up new opportunities. With careful preparation and hard work, you can make a smooth transition back to the classroom and accomplish your life goals.