There are multiple different ways to attack grad school. You don’t have to follow the typical path of going to high school, earning straight As, getting into the college of your dreams (or not), and finally applying to grad school, culminating in sometimes up to thirty or more years of one’s life spent completely on education.

One alternative to going this typical mold is to attend community college for some portion of undergraduate studies. One of the draws of community college is that unconventional hours of classes allow students to also hold down fulltime jobs. But can you do graduate level studies in this same capacity? Can you go to grad school and have a fulltime job at the same time?

The answer is yes.

There are definitely challenges, to be sure. For example, you have to be fair to both parties (your prospective school and your employer) when considering going to grad school and continuing to work a fulltime job.

  • Your fulltime job has to be 100% okay with the fact that you are going to be doing school. Give them time to get used to this (let them know that you are doing this when you are applying) and make sure they are okay with it.
  • Conversely, make sure your school knows that you are working fulltime. They may be able to work your class schedule around this. In the end, both your school and your place of employment will want you to succeed, so finding a balance that pleases everyone is the best course of action.

Additionally, here is some other advice for getting started:

  • Do a lot of research as well as introspection so that you can figure out whether or not you will be able to handle the increased workload that you will inevitably encounter because of doing some amount of academic work while working a 9–5, which is commonly viewed as enough for most people.
  • Don’t forget about money! Your employer might even want to help you with the costs if it is in the name of professional development. Though, also know that if things go poorly and you can’t work too well, this will inhibit your ability to pay your bills and new student loans. That said, working and going to school at the same time is kind of a good way to do grad school—it spreads out the cost and keeps your career chugging forward.

Looking for further reading on the subject? Check out some of the resources we’ve gathered below!