Returning to School as an Adult: What to Go Back to School for | AAI

Why Go Back to School?

Going back to school is never easy, and just seems to get harder as you age, but we’ve got some good news: it’s not as hard as it may seem! Arizona Automotive Institute has been helping adults get back in the game for over 45 years, and we’d like to share a few tips and some inspiration as you consider returning to the classroom.

Also, there are tons of great reasons why adults go back to school – and the number of adult students who go back to complete their education is growing regularly as more people clue into the importance of finishing their education. 

According to National Public Radio (NPR), all kinds of adults are going back to school for higher education, even those who have been away from it for literally decades. The most common reasons people return to school tend to be about learning and earning, but those are far from the only reasons to return to school.

If you’re thinking “I want to go back to school” or even “should I go back to school”, then you can rest assured that you are not alone. But no matter the reason, it’s important to first consider a number of factors to make sure that you’ll end up at the right institution, and studying the right thing. 

Returning adult students should ensure that the program they’ve selected meets the prerequisites they need for whatever their goals or objectives are. Some typical questions that you should be asking yourself as you evaluate different options should include:

  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • Are you looking to pick up some new skills so you can become a better DIYer?
  • Are you trying to get into a different career?
  • Are you looking to prepare for certifications that would help you move to the next level in your existing career path?
  • Are you just looking to take courses to learn something new because you find learning itself interesting?

Your choice of program and location will likely depend heavily on the answers to these questions, so make sure to spend some time reflecting before deciding where to enroll, and what to study. Everyone’s path is different, so it’s important to consider where yours could lead. The cost-benefit equation of which education path to pursue changes every day, and career and trade schools are an option for more students than before. 

With flexible schedules and in-depth labs simulating real life employment situations, AAI brings together the best of convenience and education so our students can do their best in their studies. From our field-experienced instructors to our community-focused career services, AAI puts students first. We know taking the next step can be challenging; that’s why our teams are here to help. Just give us a call or email and we would be happy to discuss any questions you might have!

Should I Go Back to School as An Adult?

While going back to school may seem like a challenge, it paves the path to a brighter future. Furthering your education, picking up new skills, and preparing for certifications can bring a chance to enter new fields, discover new paths and try completely different things than what you’ve been doing. 

And while returning to school may seem like an insurmountable and time-consuming challenge, remember that this challenge is nothing more than a short speed bump on your path to a new and exciting career. 

Top Reasons for Going Back to School

No matter your age, it’s never too late to start learning. Education can change lives, providing new skills, opening new career paths, and improving your self-confidence. 

Pursuing educational opportunities can also mean developing more marketable skills and gaining a competitive edge over other job seekers.

Career Advancement

Adults returning to school may advance their careers as a result of completing educational, or trade programs. While this differs at every job, for every position, and every educational or trade program, the potential benefits of adding new skill sets, knowledge and training cannot be understated. AAI can help you get a jumpstart on your career.

Higher Paying Salary

Many have said it, but according to The New York Times, more education = more income. A diploma could mean more career choices and opportunities, as it shows you have learned the skills expected of a graduate at the issued level.But there isn’t just a monetary benefit. 

This is especially true in the skilled trades, where the people without any sort of certification or training tend to do the most menial tasks, picking up trash, moving supplies around, etc., whereas those with official credentials may be tasked with much more creative and higher paying roles.

Job Security & Options

Education can mean more choices when it comes time to select a new career. When some industries sink, others rise – which could provide additional career options even in economically troubled times. Furthermore, pullbacks tend to threaten the lowest skilled, least educated employees first.

Wouldn’t you want to give yourself some potential job security by developing new skills, taking on new tasks and responsibilities for your organization? AAI can help give you that chance.

A Change of Direction

We all need something new from time to time, and for adults, going back to school can provide the chance to do just that. Whether you want to change fields entirely, or simply pick up some additional skills so that you can take on more advanced, complicated work, AAI gives you plenty of options.

With us, you can choose to acquire new skills needed to change career paths completely, hone your skills within the industry that you’ve been working in for years to open up advancement opportunities, or acquire the skills needed to get into an entirely new field altogether.


When you enter a new field, you’ll undoubtedly meet new people, make new friends and be exposed to all sorts of new experiences, including excellent networking opportunities. Remember, most people in school are there for a specific reason, and like you, a lot of them are likely working on career development, so be sure to network, make friends and exchange career contacts whenever possible.

Networking may not be easy for us all, but it’s definitely a great chance to enhance your career in an entirely new way. AAI’s Career Services team also maintains lasting relationships with employers, businesses, and community organizations that may be able to help as well. Getting access to these sorts of relationships is likely to benefit you as you begin your employment search.

Setting an Example

Do you have children or other dependents? Show them how important education is by proving it with your time and effort. The best way to get the next generation invested in pursuing their own educational goals is to set the example by doing the same yourself.

Sense of Accomplishment

Graduation can be one of the most exciting days of one’s life, no matter their age. A certificate, credential, or some other completion document comes with the knowledge that you’ve finished one of the most rewarding and challenging times in your life, and that sense of accomplishment can do wonders for improving your self-confidence!

Competitive Edge in the Workforce

Completing a new course, training program or credential may be just the thing you need to get that competitive edge in the job market. 

AAI’s career training programs are designed with this theme in mind, and focused on improving skills for skilled trade technicians. 

What Should I Go Back To School For?

For adults going back to school, there’s much to consider. Did you already begin a program? Even if was many, many years ago, you may still be able to use the work you’d put in way back when for whatever it is that you’re pursuing now, so don’t waste time and money, but find out what’s possible!

First, find out if those credits are still valid. Some schools may not accept credits prior to certain academic years, so that’s the first step in ensuring that you can still utilize that prior work experience.

Next, consider if you’d still like to finish that program you started way back when. Attitudes and interests change, and so does the economy. Maybe you were pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in some topic that you thought was great at 20, but have since realized it’s not quite as applicable?

Consider if your original career goal still applies to whatever you’re interested in doing now, and whether or not what you had been studying even still applies to the modern economy (that will be highly dependent on what you were studying, when, and where you’re located now, so be careful on this point!). Remember, even if you nearly finished an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s program way back in the day, there could be a much better and more affordable career training option waiting for you at AAI. 

Don’t go back to school just to finish whatever it was that you started entirely for the sake of finishing, but evaluate your options, potential results and opportunities, then make a strategic choice about what to do next!

Careers Worth Pursuing

Arizona Automotive Institute offers a collection of career training programs designed to prepare you with skills and career training.

Automotive Service Technology

Do you have a passion for machinery and working with your hands? If car maintenance training is something you are interested in, consider our Automotive Service Technology Program.

Combination Welding

If you like working with your hands; with heat, flames, and sparks; and want to know that the work you do is important; then our Combination Welding Courses might be just the right choice for you.

Diesel – Heavy Truck

Do you like working on big, powerful engines? With our Diesel Truck MechanicCourses, you’ll receive hands-on learning from industry experienced instructors, giving you the skills to launch a career in the field.

Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Basic Refrigeration

Are you a problem solver who likes to work with your hands? If so, our Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Basic Refrigeration (HVAC/BR) Training Program might be perfect for you. In this field, you will have the opportunity to install, troubleshoot, diagnose, and repair a wide variety of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems and equipment.

Finish Your Career Training at AAI!

If you do decide to go back to school, there are many reasons to choose AAI. 

Our class sizes and individualized attention mean you learn what you came to learn. We teach practice, not just theory, with every lab course containing more lab hours than lecture hours. And our flexible schedules make it easy to build your learning around your existing life, meaning you may not have to sacrifice existing commitments in order to make time for furthering your education.

Get started today! Our Admissions Team will be happy to answer any questions you might have, and help launch your ramp