If you are thinking about going to college and becoming a medical assistant, good for you! There are plenty of advantages to pursuing an education, like the potential for taking classes online. That means you can work at a job as you study, which is a plus for those looking to advance their careers or switch to a new field entirely.

The ability to go to school online is one of the biggest perks to come with the advancement of technology, but is it as easy as it sounds? It takes some planning and organization to find that work-school balance. Consider some tips to help get you started.

Creating a School-Life Balance

Going to school online is a little different from in-person classes. It can be more easy-going, but it also takes more discipline. There are many distractions at home like TV, social media, and the dog. It’s necessary to find a school-life balance that keeps you on track.

Manage Your Time

Time management can be an issue when you go to school online. When you attend classes in-person on campus, someone else sets the schedule for you. They tell you when the course is, and you show up.

Online schooling is a little different. The classes are often there to “attend” 24/7, and it is up to you to decide when to go. Assignments are often due weekly. Just because you can take courses anytime doesn’t change the need for a set schedule so that you do not fall behind.

To find that school-life balance, schedule time each day for coursework. It could be in the morning after the kids go to school or before you head off to work. Maybe it is better for you in the evening when everyone is in bed, and you have the house to yourself.

Complete one or two assignments each weekday so you will have far less to complete over the weekend. This gives you more time to enjoy family activities and have more personal free time.  

Figure out what works best for you, and then make the changes necessary to get there. For example, if you decide early studying is your best option, consider getting up an hour earlier each day to accommodate that schedule. On the other hand, if the weekends or days off are the only options, block out time for school.

The goal is to take the guesswork out of your schedule to know exactly when you will take classes, do your schoolwork, and study each day. If you follow that routine, it will become second nature to you. You will learn to incorporate school into your life just as you would if you were going to class on campus.

Maintain Stress Levels

Life as a college student can be stressful. That’s true whether you go in-person or online. Therefore, effective stress management is just as important as good time management.

Before you start classes, put together a support team. These might be friends, family members, or colleagues. It might even be other students. Talk to the people in your life and let them know you are going back to school. Get their support. See if they can help you manage some of the things that might get in the way of your study, such as watching the kids or picking up the slack around the house.

Next, establish your study space. It should be somewhere quiet with few interruptions. Have a designated area for your coursework and study. Make sure to have a backup plan in place, too. This is somewhere you can go if your primary study space is unavailable or not a good option for some reason. It might be a local coffee shop that has Wi-Fi, for example.

Finally, schedule breaks for when you are doing schoolwork. Sitting in front of a computer for hours at a time isn’t good for anyone, so plan both short and extended breaks.

A short break might be getting up and walking around a bit. Maybe five minutes for a bathroom break and to get something to drink. Longer intervals might include a walk outside or a power nap. If you factor stress breaks into your study schedule upfront, you will worry less about them as you work.

Set Realistic Goals

Keep your goals attainable. 

The idea that you can study all night long to get through classes faster isn’t realistic. Instead, keep a schedule and make sure it gives you enough time for other things, like enjoying family life and socializing with friends.

Within your schedule,plan to log in daily and check for course and class announcements. Look for new emails from your instructors to stay on top of incoming items and tasks. 

Stay Healthy

Getting sick will upset your schedule, so take time for self-care to stay healthy mentally and physically. Take breaks, eat meals, socialize with others – these are just as important as school. In addition, it will take a healthy you to get through your studies and earn your certification.

Balancing Work and School

You may get more support from work than you expect when you decide to go back to school, so be open about it. It is the best way to find that work-school balance you need to succeed at both.

Talk to Your Boss

Tell your boss what you want to do. They can’t be part of your support system unless they know about your educational plans. It also gives you a chance to find out what they can do to help. You might be surprised by how much support you can receive from your employer.

Set Boundaries

Talking to your boss will allow you to set some boundaries, too. For example, maybe you need a set schedule while in school, or you can’t work late or on the weekends. See what options they can offer you that will support your decision.

CHCP Online and On-Campus

The College of Health Care Professions (CHCP) offers online and on-campus learning opportunities for those looking to work in a rewarding industry. We are the leader in healthcare education and training with many fully accredited programs – there is a little something for everyone.

You can take a program like medical assisting entirely online or enjoy the best of both worlds with a hybrid blended plan of study. We have campuses in cities throughout Texas, including Austin, Dallas, Houston, McAllen, and San Antonio.

CHCP’s online Medical Assistant Program allows you to start your career as a medical assistant in just 36 weeks. Find out more about all CHCP has to offer today. Visit our website and start your journey to the healthcare career of your dreams.