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Jan 11, 2017 09:18 AM EST

Online courses can give a great boost to your career, but taking time to study while working needs careful consideration. While online courses do add to your list of credentials, they will likely require more than just your spare time and your desire to learn.

Before enrolling in any online course to help boost your career and help you reach your career goals, here are some things you should consider, according to U.S. News.

Online Courses Are Ideal for Career Changers

Thinking of making that career pivot? An online course will help. Saint Leo University and University of South Florida online instructor and course designer Melissa Venable told U.S. News that online courses allow any working adult to switch to a different career wherever they live.

Venable notes that switching careers was more risky before online education was made available. People either had to stop working to study again, or had to attend classes on the weekends in addition to switching to a new job.

Non-degree and "Stackable" Credentials Give Faster Boosts

Four-year degrees aren't the most cost- and time-efficient means to boost your career, experts say. An online certificate, signifying a specific job skill, enables students to find a skill-specific job faster.

Sometimes, smaller credentials can even be "stacked" as a student builds them up to a degree. Completing smaller courses will, over time, promote immediate career advancement.

American Council on Education chief academic innovation officer Deborah Seymour, speaking to U.S. News, said there is a growing trend among employers to pay attention to employees' level of education.

Working Students Need to Learn to Manage Between Their Career and Learning

Students enrolled in online courses will need to manage themselves and balance their time between work and study. They will need to take full charge of how they learn, digital education consultant Debbie Morrison told U.S. News.

Online students, since they are taking full charge of their education and career, will also need to learn how to effectively manage their time, dividing it between their jobs and their actual study. It's crucial for students to create a working schedule and adhere to is so that procrastination will be avoided.

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