Why You Should Consider Personal Development Courses

Have you ever thought that you’d like to take more educational courses but didn’t need an entire degree’s worth of classes? It’s completely understandable, and that’s why Brighton offers our Personal Development courses.

What Are Personal Development Courses?

Brighton’s Personal Development courses are individual classes based on a specific area of study. These courses allow you to gain additional skills, build your resume, work towards advancement in your career or a promotion at your job, or simply continue your education.

You can find these individual courses in Business, Allied Health, or Paralegal Studies, on subjects such as medical office procedures, advanced selling techniques, and intellectual property (plus many more!).

Each course can be completed in up to 8 weeks and is entirely online. This allows you the ultimate flexibility in deciding when and where to complete the assignments so you can stay on track with your responsibilities while improving yourself and your employability.

Why Should You Take Personal Development Courses?

Improve Employability. Taking development courses not only proves to employers that you are dedicated to your career path, but it also allows you to gain more skills and keep up with the evolutions in your industry. In such a fast-paced world, new technology and policies constantly require professionals to stay up-to-date in their knowledge and skill sets. Making the initiative to continue your education improves your employability in multiple ways.

Improve Your Skills. Whether you’ve been continuously working in your industry or if you’ve taken a break and want to get back to work, development courses can help. Taking a course can sharpen and build upon the skills you’ve already been honing during your career, or it can help get you back into the game if you’ve taken a few years off.

Build Your Resume. If you’re looking to make a job switch to advance your career, adding personal development courses can help make your resume more attractive to hiring managers and give you an edge over other candidates. It shows employers you have the necessary skills and the dedication to your work.

Job Promotion. Maybe you’re looking to get a promotion at work and you need a little extra help to convince your managers you’re the one for the job. Having a personal development course (or more) on your resume can help convince your higher-ups that you have the abilities to fill the role.

Continuing Education. If you already have a degree and are looking to get another one, or if you don’t have a degree yet and would like one but can’t commit to a full degree program, personal development courses are the perfect way to dip your toes in the water before making the dive. Plus, if you take Brighton’s personal development courses and decide to continue on with Brighton for your degree program, the courses you’ve already taken will count towards your degree.

Whatever your needs or purposes, or wherever you’re at in your personal and professional life, personal development courses can help you take the next step without the full-time commitment. Whether you need to build your resume, improve your employability, gain more skills, or start the process for continuing your education, there is a personal development course for you.

Interested in signing up for a Personal Development Course at Brighton? Visit www.brightoncollege.edu or call 1-800-354-1254 to find out more!

3 Ways to Improve Your Employability

How To Improve Your Employability

Here at Brighton and The Paralegal Institute, we talk a lot about improving your employability, because it’s one of our top priorities as educators. Of course, you might be wondering what we mean by “employability.” Simply put, employability is your skill sets and talents that make you a qualified, attractive candidate for employers. It can be difficult for employers to find candidates that are qualified and fit in with the company’s culture, which is why job-seekers with the right skills and certifications are highly sought after.

How Can I Improve My Employability?

There is no one-stop-shop for improving your employability; it’s a process with a few different facets that lead to you becoming a more well-rounded professional. The goal is to have a good assortment of hard and soft skills. Here are a few ways to increase your hard and soft skills so you can be more employable:

Degrees and Certifications

Degrees and certifications fall under the “hard skills” category. They are credible verifications that you have taken courses to learn the technical aspects of your chosen profession. Having at least one degree is a must for any job seeker hoping to stand out from the crowd. More than one degree, or a combination of a degree and certifications, looks impressive on your resume and shows hiring managers that you are dedicated to your field.

If you already have a degree and aren’t interested in pursuing another one, consider taking continuing education and professional development courses. If you are currently employed, check with your company to see if they will help cover the cost of taking these courses, as it is a win-win for both you and the organization you work for.

Communication Skills

Being an effective communicator is an extremely valuable “soft skill” that employers don’t often talk about until it becomes a problem within the workplace.

Depending on your industry, you will need to communicate with colleagues, managers, clients, and others. Being a clear, effective, and tactful communicator will make you a strong asset to any company, and smooth the way for you to advance further in your career. You can help improve your communication skills by learning the basics of verbal and non-verbal communication, asking for feedback from your coworkers, and learning how to write professional yet friendly emails.

Motivation and Initiative

Employers like to see candidates who are self-motivated and take initiative in their career paths. One way to show motivation and initiative is by pursuing degrees, certifications, and continuing education courses, as mentioned earlier. This shows that you are serious about your career and want to perform your job to the best of your abilities.

Another way to do this is to seek out opportunities instead of waiting for them to come to you. If you are currently employed, keep asking your manager what other tasks you can do. Build your portfolio and skill set, so you can negotiate a raise or pad out your resume for a new job. Whenever you see an opportunity to show that you are ahead of the curve, take it.

There are, of course, plenty of other aspects to improving your employability. But this is a great, manageable place to start as you strive to grow in your career path and increase your job options and salary ceiling.

Brighton College and The Paralegal Institute offer degrees, certifications, and professional development courses in a variety of programs. Visit www.brightoncollege.edu or www.theparalegalinstitute.edu for more information!

What Can You Do With A Business Management Degree?

If you know you want to switch to a different career path, but you’re not exactly sure what you would like to do, a business management degree could be the right option for you.

Since businesses are, well, everywhere, a business management degree is a great Swiss Army Knife option, allowing you to get your foot in the door of nearly any business and working your way up. However, bachelor degree programs can be expensive, especially if you’re not entirely sure what kind of business you’d like to work in. An Associate’s in Business Management is a smart alternative, allowing you to effectively make a career switch without burdening yourself with debt from a four-year college.

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH AN ASSOCIATE’S IN BUSINESS MANAGEMENT?

Think of businesses you like to shop at or use frequently for different needs. Retail stores, clothing stores, boutiques, e-commerce fulfillment warehouses, grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, commercial and housing properties, etc., all need supervisors and managers to keep operations running smoothly. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does give you an idea of what you can expect your employment options to be.

Depending on what your past work experience has been, that combined with a degree can quickly get you further up the ladder than just work experience alone.

Some examples of positions in-demand right now include management at wireless retail stores (such as Sprint or Verizon), car rental managers, restaurant management at sit-down and fast food or fast casual venues (like LongHorn Steakhouse, Dunkin’ Donuts, or Panera), or an assistant hotel manager at places like Best Western or Marriott.

WHAT KIND OF SALARY CAN I EXPECT WITH A BUSINESS MANAGEMENT DEGREE?

While salary can vary depending on your experience, industry, location, and education, those with 3-5 years of experience and an associate’s degree can expect to make anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000. If you decide to continue your education and attain a bachelor’s after several years of working, this can push your salary up into the six figures!

The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites the median salary for food service managers at $52,030 per year, and $51,800 per year for lodging managers. Browsing Indeed shows wireless retail stores managers can expect to make around the $50,000 mark as well, if not higher.

HOW DO I JUGGLE GETTING A DEGREE WITH WORKING AND OTHER COMMITMENTS?

Life can be time-consuming, to say the least! Between work, family, and other responsibilities, going back to school can seem more fantasy than reality. But living in the 21st century has its perks, and distance education is one of them.

If you can’t make in-person classes work for your schedule, make your classes work for you. Online learning gives you an excellent education with the ability to fit it around your life demands; plus, you can do it in your pajamas!

While you’re pursuing your business management degree, consider finding a job in the industry you’d like to work in after graduating. It’ll give you a great experience that you can apply to your business classes while also padding your resume for future career opportunities.

If you’re interested in pursuing your Associates in Business Management, check out Brighton College’s online program! All courses are completed one at a time for maximized learning that is still flexible for your schedule.

3 Tips for Legal Research

Paralegals are to attorneys what nurses are to doctors; basically, attorneys and doctors would have a very difficult time doing their jobs without the support paralegals and nurses provide!

One of the ways paralegals support attorneys is by doing legal research. Legal research is the important foundational work to building strong legal cases for clients, and can often be time-consuming and costly, depending on a number of factors. But there are plenty of tips and tricks to becoming an efficient and effective legal researcher!

WHAT IS LEGAL RESEARCH?

Before delving into the tips and tricks, it’s important to understand why good legal research is so important. Cornell Law says, the purpose of legal research is to find ‘authority’ that will aid in finding a solution to a legal problem.” This authority can come in the form of “primary authorities,” which are the rules of law, and “secondary authorities,” which are the commentaries on the laws. Being able to support a client’s case with superior legal authorities can often make or break a case.

While pursuing a degree or certification in paralegal studies, you will have at least one course in legal research. In a legal research course, you will learn the necessary research tools and techniques to find actual laws, along with various secondary materials that help in the research process. Law firms and other legal organizations often use online databases like LexisNexis and WestLaw to help in the research process. However, these subscription databases can be costly, especially if you’re not well-acquainted with a particular area of law.

3 TIPS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR LEGAL RESEARCH:

Develop a list of keywords, phrases, and terms. This is especially helpful if you are researching a topic you are unfamiliar with. Write these down, and narrow your list as you go and become more acquainted with the law at hand.

Use Google Scholar before legal databases. Legal databases, like the ones mentioned above, often charge on the number of searches and documents clicked, depending on your subscription plan. Start with Google Scholar and other free resources to narrow down what you are looking for before using a paid legal database.

Contact a representative/librarian for the paid legal database you subscribe to. Many of these databases provide help via legal librarians or representatives who can help you with your search – for no extra fees! Give them a call and ask for help narrowing down your topic and resources. They can help you find the exact documents you need while being more time and cost efficient.

Your legal research professor will teach you the many of the ins and outs of research techniques, resources, and materials, but they are constricted by limited class time, so don’t be afraid to venture out on your own and figure out better research methods. One of the keys to being an indispensable paralegal is feeling comfortable figuring things out on your own and being resourceful; these traits will serve you well in every facet of your legal career.

If you’re interested in pursuing a paralegal degree or certification, visit www.theparalegalinstitute.edu today! With over 50 years of experience in training paralegals, you can expect an excellent education that will lead to excellent employment options.  

How Can Microsoft Office Skills Help Your Employability?

Whether you’re a PC or a Mac person, computer literacy is essential for anyone hoping to maintain and increase their employability in the modern job market, and a vital part of computer literacy is knowing how to use the Microsoft suite of products.

Why Should You Be Skilled In Microsoft Programs?

You’ve probably used Microsoft Office programs, but are you using them as effectively as you could be? Microsoft Word alone has hundreds of features and abilities – many that you are probably not utilizing! Industries from finance to non-profits use Microsoft Excel extensively in their everyday operations, for calculations, data tracking, and even inventory. Executives use PowerPoint to give important presentations and reports to the company and their shareholders. According to Microsoft, Windows 10 is being used on over 700 million devices worldwide.

Hiring managers and recruiters expect to see basic proficiency in computer programs as a starting point, and the higher the demands of the job, the more advanced skills they require. There is a reason certifications in Microsoft programs are popular.

So knowing how to effectively utilize the Microsoft suite of programs seems kind of important, right? Right.

But learning the intricacies of all Microsoft programs can be daunting, especially if you’re not as familiar with the software as you could be. Thankfully, there are courses you can take that not only teach you how to utilize software you already know but also how to use programs you’re not familiar with.

How Do I Decide Which Courses To Take?

First, you need to be realistic with what skill level you’re at. If you only know the very basics of Microsoft Word and you’ve barely touched Excel, it’s best to start with beginner courses to build a strong foundation of knowledge. Of course, the more you use these programs and the better you get at them, the more you’ll be able to experiment and figure out features on your own.

Another option if you’d consider yourself a beginner is to invest in a course that will take you from novice to advanced within one curriculum. Brighton’s sister company, LearnKey, offers such courses for a variety of different technology products, including the full Microsoft Office suite. Many of their courses also prepare you for the corresponding certification exam – and needless to say, certifications always look impressive on resumes.

If you already feel comfortable with Microsoft Office, but are a professional and want to keep up with the constant advances and added features, or even want to take the next step to get certified, there are courses that can help you achieve these goals, too. If you are currently employed, reach out to your manager and see if your company is willing to cover all or part of the costs to help with your professional development.

If you’re currently not employed but are looking to increase your employability, investing in Microsoft Office courses can help take your skill set and your resume to the next level. Knowing how to take full advantage of the functions Microsoft products offer will not only help you to get a job but will help make you an indispensable employee for future employers.

If you’re interested in increasing your employability through extra skill sets and certifications, check out our sister company, LearnKey! They have over 30 years of experience in providing video-based courseware to give you the professional edge. Courses on Microsoft Office 2019 will be released soon, so if you’re interested in the latest technology, stay tuned!

Become an IT Tech with a CompTIA Certification

The information technology field, more commonly known as IT, continues to expand as technology and its intricacies entwine into every aspect of our lives. This is great news for those interested in a tech career! If you’d like a career in the IT field but don’t know how to get there, read on to find out more about getting a CompTIA certification.

WHAT IS A COMPTIA CERTIFICATION?

CompTIA stands for Computing Technology Industry Association; it is the leading non-profit trade association that provides vendor-neutral and globally accepted certifications. Basically, if you’re CompTIA certified, employers know exactly what your basic tech skills are and will feel more confident in hiring you.

The core CompTIA competencies include certifications in A+, Network+, and Security+. Though these are three separate exams and courses, Brighton’s Cybersecurity program offers all three certifications in one course, so you’re getting more for your time and money.

WHAT CAN I DO WITH A COMPTIA CERTIFICATION?

The A+ certification is for computer technicians, the Network+ for desktop support, and Security+ for systems administration. Combined, these give you a solid foundation to build your tech career on, with job options like computer or network support specialists, IT technician, and security specialist.

All industries and business sizes require IT help in some form as they maintain or expand their tech uses. This means you can find a job in industries like telecommunications, education, health, finance, social media, or software. Since not all companies are large enough to employ their own IT department, they usually hire contractors for their IT needs. This creates a demand for companies that provide IT support to small businesses. Depending on your personal goals and job needs, you can easily find the right company fit for you in the IT industry.

HOW MUCH DO IT TECHS MAKE?

If you are willing to learn and increase your skills as your career progresses, you can easily earn into the high six-figures in the tech industry. To start with, certified computer and network support specialists can expect to earn between $50,000 and $60,000, on average, and more experienced specialists can earn up to $80,000.

Of course, these high salaries do require some education. Many tech positions require bachelor’s or master’s degrees, and employers hiring support specialist will need to see some formal certifications to confirm you are capable of the job’s duties.

WHAT IS THE JOB OUTLOOK FOR IT TECHS?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for support specialists will grow 11% between 2016 and 2026, faster than the national average for all other industries. The Bureau also predicts that as the healthcare industry employs more technology in their operations, the demand for IT techs will increase even more.

Overall, the tech industry is one of the fastest growing fields, with no signs of stopping any time soon. If you’re looking for career options with high employability, high salaries, and plenty of room for growth, becoming an IT tech could be the perfect option for you. If you’re looking to get your foot in the door and make yourself more employable in the tech field, consider earning your CompTIA certification today.

Interested in earning a certification in A+, Network+, and Security+? Visit us at www.brightoncollege.edu to learn more! A CompTIA certification could be just the right option for you.

Three Tips for Succeeding in Distance Learning

Handling life and work can be a balancing act at the best of times, and a full-on circus when you throw school into the mix. It sounds intimidating, but it is not impossible; thousands of people do it every day, and you can be one of them. The fulfillment and rewards that come from going back to school are immeasurable, and you will never regret expanding your horizons.

If you’ve decided to go back to school via distance learning, you might be searching for some tips on how to succeed in an online classroom environment. And we are here to help!

1. Know Your Limits

When you first start out, you must be realistic with yourself, your goals, and your expectations. How busy is your life? How flexible is your job? How many classes at a time can you handle? If you have never taken an online course before, consider starting out with one class to get used to distance learning. Speaking with a student advisor at your school can help you decide what the best course of action is.

Some distance learning schools are structured so that you don’t have to worry about taking more than one class. At Brighton, programs are created specifically for students to take one class per session, with 6-8 weeks to complete it on their own time. This allows for greater flexibility and is perfect for students who have more demanding schedules, but does require some discipline so you don’t procrastinate!

2. Be Disciplined in Your Studies

Speaking of discipline: all education paths, no matter where you go to school, require a certain degree of discipline to succeed and graduate. Taking your classes online doesn’t change this; in fact, it can require more discipline and accountability than in-person classes! Since you do not interact with your professors or fellow students face-to-face, it can be easy to procrastinate. Allowing yourself some grace if life gets crazy is one of the perks of online schooling, but don’t let it become a habit.

To help stay on track, it’s important to treat studying like a job. This is your education—you are paying for it, and you will get out of it what you put into it. So take advantage of the resources and knowledge your school and professors offer! You are investing in yourself by pursuing further education, and you want a good return on that investment.

3. Engage with the Material

Sometimes, you don’t have it in you to give your full attention to your classes. You had a long day, a lot of unexpected stress occurred, etc. And that’s normal—nobody can run at 100% all the time. But don’t let yourself continually go through the motions of your online coursework. As mentioned above, you are paying for this and investing in yourself for a better future; engage with the material!

Do the reading and the homework and ask your professor questions. Occasionally quiz yourself while going over the material, to ensure you are absorbing what’s being taught. Take handwritten notes and organize them in a way that makes sense to you. On the class discussion board, interact with your classmates and write meaningful replies.

Keep these three tips in mind as you start your distance learning journey and you will stay on the road to success. Create strategies that work for you and adapt as necessary. Most of all, never be afraid to ask for help! Whether it’s from your student advisor or your professor, everyone at the school is there to support you.

If you’re interested in pursuing distance learning, check out our programs at www.brightoncollege.edu and experience the Brighton difference!

Interview with Dr. Daniel Marco, Professor at The Paralegal Institute

When starting a new class, meeting the professor can be daunting—you know very little about the instructor, their teaching style, or what their class will be like. If this is true for brick-and-mortar colleges, it can be doubly so for online classes! But there are real people behind the computer screen who are rooting for you to succeed as a student and, eventually, as a professional in your chosen field.

To mitigate some of the apprehension of not knowing your instructors, we did a short interview with one of our paralegal professors. Dr. Daniel Marco is an attorney, and when he is not running his law practice, he is sharing his passion for the law with our paralegal program students. By his own words his second love is teaching, so spoiler alert: He definitely wants you to succeed! His answers will give you insight into what he’s like as an instructor, and a little bit of what you can expect as a student at The Paralegal Institute.

  1. Why did you decide to become an online instructor?

I am an attorney by trade and the practice of law is my calling in life. But I do have a second love and that is teaching. I have a passion for helping facilitating a student’s learning process. In fact, I have lectured at a number of law schools in the US and even at a law school in and a college in China! But the demands of a law practice made anything other than an occasional lecture impossible. About nine years ago I discovered the online education environment and it is an environment that quickly proved perfect for me. It allows me to pick and choose when to work on my practice and when to work on grading assignments and finals. It is just the perfect compromise for me. This also helps me be more empathetic for the time struggles of my students, most of whom work full-time.

  1. What is the best part of being an online instructor for The Paralegal Institute?

The best part of instructing at the Institute is the students. I have many hard-working, bright, and motivated students who are looking for a slight change in the direction of their career. I enjoy their enthusiasm and their no-nonsense approach to the courses. Also, the administrative staff is very helpful. I am not as computer savvy as I once was, computers simply accelerated by me, but the staff is always gentle and patient with me and with my students, they answer my questions and serve the students needs.

  1. Do you have any advice for students who are looking to excel in online classes?

Yes, I do. It’s very simple. Stop. Take a deep breath and relax. Nothing is going to register if you are tense. Always remember what class you are in. What book you are reading. What chapter of the book. And what subsection of that chapter. I always made sure to follow this little meditative process from time to time while studying in law school and for the three Bar Exams I took and passed on the first try each! For example, I might stop every few pages and remind myself that  I am reading the Torts book. I am in the chapter on negligence. I am reading the section on res ipsa loquitur. That is all I have to learn here. Just taking a moment to recall where you are and what you are supposed to be learning will cut back on the noise and, in fact, will streamline your learning process. That is my advice. Since you do not have other students to kick things around with you have to keep tabs on your own focus!

  1. Do you have any advice for people interested in starting a career in the legal field?

Learn to love the law. Learn to explore the grey areas that pop up in every issue. Put aside your judgments of people and the way they act, in the workplace and as your clients, and evaluate everything, according to the law but not until you have thoroughly researched the issue before you. Do not take anything personally. Do not personally attack anyone. If you can do those things, you can’t help but have a successful career as a paralegal and you may want to move on to law school.

While this interview is but a snippet of the wisdom and stories Dr. Marco could share with us about his compelling life and career, we thank him for taking the time to share these answers, and hope they are encouraging to all of our students past, present, and future! It’s easy to say our instructors are invested in your learning, but Dr. Marco’s interview helps illustrate that we truly mean it.

You can check out Dr. Marco’s faculty bio here to learn more about him, and you can visit us at www.theparalegalinstitute.edu to learn more about our paralegal programs!

Find Out if Pursuing a Pharmacy Technician Certification is Right for You!

If you’re looking for a career field that has serious staying power, you can’t go wrong with any position in the healthcare industry. However, a lot of healthcare jobs can require pricey schooling and a few years of experience before employers will even think of hiring you. If you’re interested in the healthcare field but not the years of waiting to be employable, becoming a certified Pharmacy Technician might be the right option for you!

WHAT IS A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN?

If you’ve ever ordered and picked up a prescription from a pharmacy, you were most likely helped out by a pharmacy technician. Their jobs involve duties like:  

  • Collecting information to fill prescriptions
  • Measuring out medication amounts
  • Packaging and labeling prescriptions
  • Keeping track of inventory and alerting the pharmacist when medications are low
  • Customer service
  • Processing insurance claims
  • Data entry

Pharmacy techs are the people who keep the pharmacy running smoothly so the pharmacists can do their jobs. In most states, pharmacy techs are also able to compound and mix some medications, under the supervision of the pharmacist. Techs working in a hospital may have slightly different experiences, though, as their duties can include preparing intravenous medications and dispensing drugs to patients in hospital rounds.

WHERE DO THEY WORK?

Pharmacy technicians work anywhere a pharmacist does. This includes traditional drug store pharmacies, grocery store pharmacies, standalone pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, closed-door pharmacies, and compounding pharmacies, to name a few. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacies and drugstores employ 52% of the pharmacy tech workforce, whereas hospitals only employ 16%.

It is important to note that pharmacy techs usually find themselves working on their feet all day, so if you have any physical constraints, this might not be the job for you. Techs can also find themselves working odd hours, depending on when the pharmacy is open and if it’s 24 hours or not.

JOB OUTLOOK

With the aging U.S. population and the rise of chronic illnesses across all age groups, it’s no surprise that the demand for pharmacies is growing along with every other facet of the healthcare industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates employment of pharmacy techs will grow 12% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average of all other jobs. To put that in numbers, in 2016 there were over 400,000 pharmacy techs employed, and that number is projected to grow to over 450,000 in the next seven years. This is up from the projected 9% from 2014 to 2024, this it is likely this number will increase and demand does.

CAREER PATH

Most people, of course, want to keep advancing in their chosen career fields, and those who choose to become pharmacy technicians are no different. While there are not really any hierarchies in the pharmacy tech position, being a certified, experienced pharmacy tech can qualify you to move up to other positions, within a pharmacy setting and in other healthcare positions.

Because of pharmacy technicians’ knowledge of pharmacology and pharmacy operations, starting out as a tech can eventually lead to working for pharmaceutical companies, in hospital inventory management, and in supervisory roles, among other options. It is completely up to you and how much more education you want to pursue based on your experiences as a pharmacy tech. You might even decide to become a pharmacist yourself!

While not every state requires pharmacy techs to be certified, it is important to note that obtaining your certification will broaden your opportunities and increase your salary. If you choose to pursue a certification through Brighton College, we offer up to $150 in vouchers to put towards the exam of your choice. Visit www.brightoncollege.edu or call us at 1-800-354-1254 to learn more about getting your Pharmacy Technician Certification!

Life at Brighton: An Interview with Student Services Coordinator, Military Spouse, and Brighton Student Kaitlin Gerth

 

Choosing to go back to school is a big decision, and choosing which school to attend can be an even bigger one. For military spouses, these choices can be compounded by the uncertainty of your location. Distance education is a great solution to these logistical problems, but you might be nervous over the “distance” part!

That’s why we’re giving you an inside look at what it’s like to be a military spouse, a Brighton student, AND a Brighton employee! Our wonderful Student Services Coordinator, Kaitlin Gerth, answered a few questions about her experiences. Spoiler alert: They might just convince you to give distance learning a try! (If you haven’t already, that is.)

Flexibility is Key

Kaitlin is currently enrolled in our Paralegal Studies program, on top of having a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a Master’s in Education. Her undergraduate degree was entirely brick-and-mortar, which she describes as being good… until she was working two jobs to pay for tuition. She says, “it made it really hard to get to class on time⎯to work on time. So when I went to grad school, I was able to do a lot of it online, and knew if I ever went back to school, I’d do it online.”

When asked about the best part of being a student at Brighton, she says it’s the flexibility: “By working here, I decided to pursue my Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies, and it’s been really helpful to do the work on my time frame instead of someone else’s set schedule.”

Flexibility is a common theme in what she enjoys most about working and studying at Brighton. The best part of working at Brighton is the flexibility and “customer service” aspect of working with the students, she says. Of course, she also enjoys the people she works with and appreciates how her bosses help maintain the flexibility.

Distance Learning as a Military Spouse

Continuing with the flexibility motif, she explains that, as a military spouse, the best part of distance learning is the freedom and flexibility. In her own words:

“…to know that, no matter where we may end up, I can ask for a week or two off for a transition period, then pick back up where I left off. I don’t have to transfer schools and worry about 10,000 pages of paperwork to transfer any credits and whatnot. While traditional programs are super great and really beneficial for students who know they’ll be in the same place for multiple years, military members/spouses get uprooted every 2 years or so, less if they draw short straws, so it’s important to have some level of continuity in their lives, which distance learning definitely provides. I actually have a student that is deploying and he’s able to work on his program in his spare time overseas. Talk about flexibility!”

Brighton’s course freedom has allowed her to pursue her Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies without the fear of having to pick up and start over somewhere else. Paralegal Studies is one of our most popular programs, and it has allowed Kaitlin to follow her legal dreams. She says that once she found out the overwhelmingly rigorous process to get into law school, she put a law career on the back burner⎯but the paralegal program has allowed her to chase her childhood dreams, albeit in a different way than she imagined!

Kaitlin’s Top Tips for Exceeding at Online Learning

If you’ve never taken online classes before, you might not know the best ways to stay on track. Thankfully, as a student services coordinator and a distance learning student herself, Kaitlin has some great tips for excelling at distance education. Her top tip? Calendars.

CALENDARS! Oh my gosh, and planners!! I never really paid attention to planners when I was in high school, but I learned VERY quickly in college how beneficial they are. They even became a Christmas tradition in my family–my mom would always get me a really nice planner for the following year. By the end of the year, it was barely hanging on because I live by it, and still do. Mom won’t buy them for me anymore, but as an “adult” (I still don’t believe that), I have to buy my own. I also have multiple calendars around the house, and my husband thinks I’m insane. But, I’m never late on anything. Also, make lists–keep yourself accountable. I have a whiteboard that, daily, I write down everything I need to do that day, and things that, if I have time, I can get to. I prioritize by color and it helps motivate me to keep on task because I also have mild OCD, so going out of order also really bothers me. But, I’m really efficient because of this so it’s weird at first… but once you’re in the groove, it’s like riding a bike!”

If you’re interested in pursuing a degree or certification at Brighton, we hope Kaitlin’s experiences have shown you what a great option it is for those needing flexibility in their lives! For more information, feel free to contact us at www.brightoncollege.edu, or give us a call at 800-354-1254.