Build Your Skills While Working Full-Time

Let’s say you’ve been at your job for about two or three years now. By now you have likely started to settle in and become comfortable in your position. In your mind, you know you want to maybe do more, and in turn, make more. To do so you need more skills. But how do you build your skills while working full-time?

Fortunately, we live in a time when you have many options for education and training while working full-time. An added plus is that nowadays more companies are starting to recognize non-standard education and training programs.

This is not to downplay in any way getting an education at traditional brick-and-mortar universities. There are plenty of fields of study that should require years of college and then years on the job training before a license is issued to the student.

First, Establish What Goals You Want to Achieve

The first thing you need to figure out is what are your goals? Usually, people have a wide variety of answers to this but the bottom line is usually to “make more money”.

To do this you’ll have to dig a little deeper and think about what it will take to make your employer want to pay you more money. In this way, we go from “making more money” to “earning more money”. What do employers value? Time, effort, dependability and skill.

  • Time: One factor that determines how much of a raise you will get is how long you’ve been working for the company.
  • Effort: How much effort do we put into accomplishing tasks, especially difficult ones.
  • Dependability: Not just being on time but being in a position to assist in any way possible.
  • Skill: While it is true that everyone can be replaced, even the BOSS, skilled people are not easy to find. Especially skilled people that are also dependable, put forth lots of effort and sticks around for the long hall.

While all of those are very important, skill is the one that you can drastically increase in a short period of time. Plus, skills can have a huge impact on your base pay. In this way, your goal of earning more money is closely related to your skill level. With that in mind, you need to figure out what skills you need to gain in order to achieve this.

For example, imagine you work at a restaurant washing dishes and busting tables but you want to become a chef. You would need to improve or begin to gain culinary skills. How you do that depends on a number of factors. We will discuss that and more in this article.

Map Out What You Will Need To Accomplish Those Goals

Once you know what skills you need, the next step is to do is figure out how to get them. First, ask around to see if your employer offers on-site training. This is often the most straightforward way of getting extra training. Some companies will even pay for schooling or training and allow time during work hours to attend.

The training you will need depends on the profession you’re in, the company you work for and your current skill level and education background. Let’s say you’re a construction working but you want to do some drafting and design work with CAD. You could simply go to the nearest book store, pick a book about CAD and architectural drafting, learn it, and apply it.

On the other hand, maybe you are a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) at a hospital but you want to become an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse). In this case, there are some specific education requirements. You will need to go through the process mapped out by your State.

Take Inventory of Your Available Time

Next step, figure out what kind of time you have available to get training if your employer doesn’t offer on the job training. If you work part-time maybe you can find day classes that work around your schedule. In this situation, it would be good to let your employer know so they can take that into consideration when making out the weekly schedule.

Depending on your employment status and schedule, going to school at night might work best. Another alternative if night school is not an option, online courses might work better for you.

Online courses have become very popular in this day and age. People simply have a lot going on in their lives, work, kids and taking care of the home. It’s so easy to say that you just don’t have the time for extra school or training.

In this case, we need to go from “finding the time” to “making time”. As long as the goals you are trying to reach are important enough to you, it’s possible to accomplish this.

Online Accredited Schools

There are some cases when accreditation matters. One is when you are needing to transfer credits to or from a school. Another is when the job or promotion that you are going after requires an official degree document.

Maryville University

Maryville University is a nationally recognized private institution.

  • Website:
  • Physical Location: St. Louis, MI
  • Founded: 1872
  • Online Programs: 30+ online degree programs
  • Average Program Cost: ~$13,035/semester (Full-time); $781/credit hour (Part-time)
  • Financial Aid: Available
  • Special Features: Study 100% online; Choose from 3 start dates per year

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University is a nationally recognized private nonprofit institution.

  • Website:
  • Physical Location: Manchester, NH
  • Founded: 1932
  • Online Programs: ~200 online degree programs
  • Average Program Cost: $1,881/course (Graduate); $627/credit hour (Graduate); $960/course (Undergraduate); $320/credit hour (Undergraduate)
  • Financial Aid: Available
  • Special Features: Low tuition rates

Purdue University Global

  • Website:
  • Physical Location: Indianapolis, IN
  • Founded: 1869
  • Online Programs: 175
  • Average Program Cost: ~$450 per credit
  • Financial Aid: Available
  • Special Features: 3-week trial period

Online Training/Skill Building Programs

At times you just want to get straight to the point, learn a skill and use it at minimal cost in a short time. That’s where this list of online training and skill-building programs come into play.


Udacity is an online training platform that offers short training programs called Nanodegree. These programs are primarily tech-focused and are supported by the type of companies that the students will one day work for.

  • Website:
  • Physical Location: Mountain View, CA
  • Founded: 2011
  • Online Programs: 38 Nanodegree Programs; 191 Individual Courses
  • Average Program Cost: $1,436 4 month access (most programs take 4 months or less to complete); $399 per month pay-as-you-go.
  • Financial Aid: Available
  • Special Features: Offer many FREE courses funded by tech companies; programs take approximately 4 months to complete; Work on real-world projects from industry experts

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning offers short online courses for every step of your career in business, creative and technology.

  • Website:
  • Physical Location: Sunnyvale, CA
  • Founded: 2003
  • Online Programs: 13,000+
  • Average Program Cost: $30/month or $240/year to access all courses for as much as you need to.
  • Financial Aid: Not Available
  • Special Features: Very affordable to learn a skill quickly; 1 Month free trial


  • Website:
  • Physical Location: Mountain View, CA
  • Founded: 2011
  • Online Programs: 80+
  • Average Program Cost: ~$20,000 for masters degree; $39-$79/month for specializations
  • Financial Aid: Available
  • Special Features: 1 Month free trial

Begin Building Your Skills Today

With so many ways to get educated, there’s really no reason why you can’t get started today. Begin your journey by visiting and exploring the above options in more depth. Find what skills you need to advance in your current job or even to start a new career.

Some of these courses are so inexpensive you could even learn about some things that you simply find interesting. Who knows, maybe you can turn that into a career or start your own business, the sky is no longer the limit.

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