Are you thinking about a career change? Ready to take your current job to the next level? Education can be just the catalyst to get you there.

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Going back to school as an adult is a big decision.

Before making the investment of your time, effort and resources, it’s important to do your research — and soul search.

Advance Course offers a useful mix of motivation and information for adults who want to continue their education toward a certificate, master’s or doctoral degree.

Colleen O’Bryant (center), who started her own business as an herbalist after working at an insurance firm, gives an herbal plant identification walking tour near her shop in Sperryville, Virginia. Career shifts like O’Bryant’s typically require a skill boost and a sizable tuition tab that can be tough to fund, and an increasing number of workers are facing that reality whether they’re heading back to school to follow a passion or out of necessity. (Matt Eich / The New York Times)

When Colleen O’Bryant pivoted from her insurance job to start her own business as an herbalist, her training came with a steep price tag.

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Project managers help define the scope, time frame, budget and resources needed to take projects from plan to reality.

Andy Reischling (center), a junior, at “Essay as Resistance,” a pop-up class at Pomona College in Claremont, California, in March. Pop-up classes have grown in popularity over the last few years, with a number of colleges and universities offering them. (Jenna Schoenefeld / The New York Times)

The beauty of the pop-up is that anything goes. Some are for credit; others are strictly for fun — or, at least, personal enlightenment.

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Adam Grahek, now vice president of integrated marketing operations for Wells Fargo, was a marketing consultant with the bank before earning an MBA from the University of Minnesota. (Courtesy of Adam Grahek)

Is the cost and effort a good investment? The overwhelming answer seems to be: It depends.

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Following your passion is a good start, but acquiring some business savvy kicks things into high gear.

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We’re consuming more information than ever before, but we’re not learning more.

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Online programs and industry partnerships are increasing the value of advanced business degrees and decreasing the cost.

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The more passionate and positive you are about it, the easier it’ll be to find people who will support you and bring around those who may have reservations.

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Courses in science and engineering offer opportunities to strengthen skill sets that help professionals build résumés with earning power.

Shannon Egli (center) uses a pig’s heart, lungs and esophagus in a demonstration to students who have an interest in medicine at Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center in Peoria, Illinois. (David Zalaznik / Journal Star via AP)

A hands-on program aims to keep prospective medical students close to home.

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Dianne McDermott Cerasuolo, a North Shore Community College professor in Danvers, Massachusetts, created a one-year certificate program in social media to help fill in-demand jobs such as social media manager. (Paul Bilodeau / The Salem News via AP)

Landing in-demand jobs in digital marketing requires skills far beyond the ability to tag a friend or post a video.

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In 2018, 58 percent of the University of Washington’s MBA graduates accepted positions in tech from companies in Seattle’s own backyard.

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Free eligibility website connects current and potential students with services, employment and training programs available in Washington state.

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Program offers a fast track into the winery business.

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