Online courses to improve your job prospects

Online courses to improve your job prospects | Beanstalk Mums

Taking certificate and diploma courses online is a useful way to improve your chances of moving up in a current job or finding a better paying position. For single mums who have put their careers on hold to raise a family, it’s also helpful for keeping skills fresh and showing initiative that will impress prospective employers. You can choose to build upon a degree or job experience that you already possess or branch out into another field that interests you.

Some of the top online degree courses provide training that’s useful in a variety of fields, giving you more flexibility when looking for a job. Digital jobs are needed in just about any company or organisation. At the other end of the spectrum, jobs that involve hands-on services are also in demand. For example, if you check job openings, you’ll see that there are many nursing and health support positions available at any given time. When considering which course of study to pursue online, it’s best to balance current job market needs with your own skills and interests.

Degrees with a High Rate of Return 

Recent graduates that are the most satisfied with the relevance of their degrees have mostly graduated in either technical or people-oriented fields. Theoretical degrees and those in the humanities like social sciences, architecture and creative arts are less likely to provide as many job opportunities in today’s job market. Here are the top five degrees from the past few years with their levels of graduate satisfaction:

  • Nursing (87%)
  • Health Services (86%)
  • Education (80%)
  • Law/Paralegal (79%)
  • Business/Management (67%)

Distance Learning

Going back to school is a challenge for anyone, but especially for a single parent. Luckily, the ability to take classes online makes it easier to continue your education or make a career switch. With distance education, you’ll be able to communicate with classmates, form study groups and connect with faculty members in a cyber-learning environment. Chat rooms, online forums, e-mail and video-conferencing are available to help online students stay connected in a virtual learning environment.

The time saved by not having to drive to campus and sit through classes can help give working single mums an opportunity to move ahead. Part-time programs are available, and most online courses are self-paced with a flexible time-frame for completing assignments. Whether it’s for career advancement or re-entry to the workforce, getting an online certificate or diploma can be a positive step in the right direction for a single mum.


Based on the job fields with the best prospects, here are some suggestions for certificate and diploma programs:

Business/Tech Jobs 

Digital Support

Technical skills are needed across all five of the disciplines that rate highly for job availability. Learning to be a programmer is a career path that you can continue to build on by upgrading your skills. Typically a male-oriented field, today it includes more women than ever before, and programmers are needed in Australia. A Certificate in Programming will teach you the basic programming languages. This is a good foundation for an entry-level position in tech such as assistant programmer or web designer. If you have an interest in math and logic, programming might be the right course of study for you.

Business Administration

One of the most in-demand jobs during the first half of last year was executive administrative assistant. Professionals in business, construction, real estate, sales and many other fields rely on administrative assistants for support. A Certificate or Diploma in Business Administration will prepare you to use office systems, prepare documentation and work as a team member. This could be a good career choice if you’re organised and enjoy composing correspondence, assisting with presentations and preparing reports. There’s also a strong component of customer service involved, so excellent interpersonal skills are a plus.


Like an administrative assistant, a paralegal secretary provides support to professionals, in this case, Barristers and Solicitors. With a Legal Administration Certificate, you’ll be able to apply for a job as a legal secretary or administrative assistant in a law firm. If you previously worked in this setting, a current certificate will give you an edge when you begin looking for jobs in the field. It can also be a springboard for transitioning from a current job as an administrative assistant into a paralegal position.

People-Oriented Jobs 


The health field includes jobs in nursing, radiology, counselling and other patient support areas. For busy mums, the opportunity to enrol in distance learning courses instead of attending a physical campus can make or break the opportunity to get a nursing degree. In SA, WA and VIC, you can take classes for a Diploma of Nursing online. Some of the job opportunities available with a nursing degree include positions in hospitals, doctor’s offices, rehabilitation facilities and elder care homes. If you’re a compassionate person with good communication skills, a nursing degree could be a good choice.


If you’re interested in getting a counselling degree, there are online counselling courses in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. Courses can be completed via distance learning, and hybrid programs are also available that include some class time. Individual and family counselling is needed in Australia, and this is a good opportunity for a new career. Various branches of counselling include working with children and adolescents, bereavement counselling and vocational counselling. This type of degree is also beneficial for human resources positions. If you have empathy for others and want to help the community, a Diploma of Counselling could be a worthwhile degree to pursue.

Early Childhood Education

There’s a need for early childhood education professionals in Australia because of our expanding population, and you can get a Certificate or Diploma in Early Childhood Education through distance learning. Online courses prepare you to be a teacher or administrator who provides a caring and intellectually stimulating environment for young children. Certified online classes can be completed part-time, preparing you to work in a school, daycare centre or community organisation. If you enjoy working with children in an educational setting, you could find childhood education a highly satisfying career choice.

Making Online Courses Work for You

If you decide to take online classes toward a certificate or diploma, there are a few things that will help you along the way. One of the most important is your support network. Don’t be hesitant to rely on friends and family for help when you need it. Planning ahead and staying organised will be another saving grace. Put everything on your calendar, including school-related deadlines, and don’t forget to check it every day. There’s a lot to remember between home and school, and keeping a running to-do list is also a great help.

Reach out to other single mums who are going back to school. You can be each other’s sounding board and stress-relief valve when times get tough. Wanting to learn and grow is half the battle. Your kids will benefit from your improved prospects, and you’ll be a role model for them with your perseverance and hard work. As long as you start with a plan and stick to it, you can do this, with a little help from your friends.

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