When I first began working in nonprofit I was young – just out of high school – with not the slightest desire to go to college. I was ready to work and I knew that my heart was – and had always been – in helping people. My first job paid next to nothing but I was really happy working for an organization that helped raise money for cancer and that helped allocate those funds appropriately. I was energetic, enthusiastic, and willing to do what it took to make my way in the world without a college degree.

For quite some time this worked well for me. I steadily worked my way up the nonprofit ladder by proving my prowess in everything from fundraising to event coordination and patient services. During this time I moved between several organizations and always managed to find my niche. When I reached a particular age, however, I began to realize that I had essentially hit the ceiling in terms of my earning potential and while I was still as passionate as ever about helping people I had a financial obligation to my family as well. Quickly thereafter a job in nonprofit management opened up and while I certainly had enough experience to handle the job I did not have a college degree – something that the organization was requesting of all applicants.

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It became obvious that if I was going to continue on to the upper ranks of management I had to get the education that would support my experience and so I decided to enroll in a nonprofit management degree program. Initially I had been concerned that I would have to take a leave of absence to complete my education but then I found online learning programs that offered everything from an online IT degree to a Masters in Education. I had found a way to do it all. More in the next post…