The US Census Bureau states there are 9.9 million single moms with children under 18 in the home. With all the responsibilities and hectic schedules of being a single parent, additional schooling may be pushed aside. However, there’s never been a better time for busy single moms to continue their educations. There are plenty of options that will allow you to continue working while earning a certification or degree, and with new technology there are hundreds of available solutions for you.
Consider Online Options
US News and World Report published in 2013, that 32 percent of all higher education happens online and this number continues to rise each year. You can earn almost anything, from a safety and occupational health degree to a medical transcription certificate online, from the comfort of your own home. For degrees that require your presence at times, you can usually complete clinical or hands-on portions at a local college. All you’ll need is a computer and an internet connection. If you just can’t imagine carving out time to commute back and forth to school, online programs are an excellent choice.
Night or Weekend Classes
Many colleges and universities have programs designed for busy adults, including single moms. Attending just a few nights a week, or on weekends can get you closer to your educational goals. What’s better, you aren’t likely to be lumped in with kids fresh out of high school in night and weekend courses, so the classes are usually mature and reasonably paced. If your child isn’t old enough to be left at home alone, call the college or university you’re considering. There may be low-cost or free childcare available to you during class time.
Find a Better Employer
If you aren’t overly attached to your current job, you may be able to switch employers to one that will work with your schooling and, possibly, help you pay for it. For example, the medical field is so desperate for nurses that certain employers will pay for employees to earn their degrees as long as the employee promises to work there for two years once they have their RN. Some financial institutions and insurance companies also have such programs for employees looking to get more education. If this idea interests you, employers that offer this usually trumpet it right on the ‘careers’ section of their websites. With some careful hunting, you may find a better-paying job with tuition matching and a flexible schedule.
Look into Financial Aid and Grants
There are numerous awards and grant options available not just specifically for single mothers, but those with low income, children in the household, and other qualifiers. Ask your institution what might be available to you and how to apply. Even asking other single mothers how they filed their FAFSA and financial aid forms might give you a clue what to watch out for, and what scholarships are available.
Don’t forget, these schools specific to a type of skill or profession can be just the thing to help you earn more money for your family quicker. You can find courses in everything from sewing to dental hygiene. Often these schools can be finished much more quickly than in four years and will enable you to jump right into a career once you’re finished. Technical colleges like these are often available online as well.
Child-Friendly College Programs
Some schools are now offering even more for single parents who still want the full university experience. These programs are comprehensive and offer support with everything from family housing, daycare, and flexible scheduling. You can live with your family at the school, get an education, and still provide for your family. They also offer support systems with mentors, advisors, and professors, uniquely equipped to help and support single parents in their education.
The demands of single motherhood can seem overwhelming. However, with some research and a solid plan, you can overcome time constraints and meet your educational goals.
About the Author: Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.