Working and Online Classes

The beauty of online classes is that it allows students flexibility for completion so the employment and education meld successfully.  Maintaining a full time job alone is challenging enough, but when online classes take up the remaining time in the day, one wonders how students are able to balance this schedule.

There are several ways to manage a full time job while taking online classes.

Early morning hours

A common place for completion of online classes is in the early morning hours before the student goes to work.  Often students taking online classes will wake up an hour or two early in order to complete some of their class work before leaving for work. This is usually successful because other family members may not be awake yet and the house is still quite for optimal concentration.

Late at night

At the opposite end of the spectrum, students are also able to work on online classes as late as desired.  This is another advantage to online courses because this is a period when most people would not be able to take an in-person course.


For many online students who work full-time, the majority of the class work is completed on the weekends.  Some students devote the weekends to their online course work and then do not attempt to do any of it during the week.

Working non-prime hours

Another way people balance online classes with employment is to work weekends or evenings. They then are able to devote their daytime weekday hours to the tasks required for the online classes.

Work in a designated area

One of the most important ways to manage online classes while working full time is to have a designated area for working on the classes. Having an office area that has a work area and only working in this area makes time usage most effective. Working in the area of the home where there is more activity or distractions will make less efficient use of time.

Read during lunch time or during commutes

A good way to make good use of time is to complete reading for online classes during lunchtime or during a commute on mass transportation.  This allows the worker to do double duty without taking any time from the employer.  The worker should never try working on online classes during school hours.

Listen to lectures while exercising or walking

Many online classes have downloads of class lectures that can be played on MP3 players.  Use time walking, exercising or doing other daily tasks to listen to these lectures by the instructor.

Make daily task list

Create a list each day for each item that needs to be completed for a particular day.  By generating a list, it helps the student to be consistent about completing every assignment in a timely fashion. If a student works in the early morning hours and does not complete everything on the list, then the student needs to find time later in the day to complete the tasks.

Don’t take too many classes

Beware of taking too many online classes at the same time. Make sure to take an appropriate number for the amount of time available to work on the classes.  Often taking too many online classes at the same time is the reason that students struggle with this independent study type of class.

Keep in contact with the professor

Develop a relationship with the professor. If there comes a time in which work conflicts with the completion of an assignment, then contact the professor to discuss the problem. The professor is more likely to cooperate with the online student to solve the issue.

Don’t procrastinate

Finally, just like in any class, don’t procrastinate.  It never fails that when a student postpones doing a task for an online class, that is when something happens that interferes with working at the last minute. It could be an unexpected meeting for work or issues with technology. It is much better to be in the habit of completing the assignments with time to spare.

Coping with working full time while balancing online classes can be challenging, but it is certainly a manageable task.  The student must keep focuses and on top of tasks while at the same time not losing sleep or being distracted from the full time job.