Would an Advanced Degree Add Value to Your Career?

By: Christine Williams

Are you thinking about adding another set of letters after your name, in addition to CAE? Find out how one association professional is taking on the challenge of pursuing an advanced degree while still working an association day job.

As current Certified Association Executives, we believe in the power of education. While the thought of going back to school to earn an advanced degree is likely overwhelming, it may pay dividends for the rest of your career.

Erika Borlie, DrNP(s), MS, BSN, WHNP-BC, RN-C, is a woman of many talents and many hats. Her ambition to reach her goals and dedication to further her career is astounding. Not only is she the education program specialist for the American Nurses Credentialing Center; she is also a professor at Drexel University and an OB/GYN nurse practitioner. In addition to working multiple jobs, she successfully manages a household of two children and recently started the journey to obtain a doctorate in nursing practice at Drexel University.

Williams: What led to your decision to pursue an advanced degree at this time?

Borlie: I wanted to make a difference in the nursing community, and it was also on my bucket list.

Out of the plethora of institutions of higher learning, how did you choose Drexel University?

I was pursued by the school. I also get a discount because of my job affiliation.

Are you learning things in class that help in your current role?

Absolutely. I like the networking element of adult learning and I enjoy bringing back new ideas and concepts to my organization. However, education yields itself in many ways. Life experiences evoke invaluable lessons.

How have your studies influenced you to become a better leader?

Being in this program is helping with the advancement of my career. With more education, I can definitely become a more effective leader. This opportunity is also allowing me to make a positive impact on the world around me.

What are the benefits to pursuing an advanced degree?

Through my doctoral studies, I have the opportunity to improve upon my writing and communication skills. These skills will surely benefit me in the business environment.

What is the most challenging aspect of being enrolled in the doctoral program?

Work/life balance.

Raising children and working one job can prove to be difficult. However, you do that, work two other jobs, and are working on your doctoral degree! What are you doing to conquer the work/life balance challenge that many people struggle to manage?

I prioritize my tasks and make lists every day to stay organized.

After receiving your doctoral degree, what would you like to do?

It is my goal to become part of the executive management team.

What advice would you give to someone seeking an advanced degree?

My advice is this:

  • Strongly consider the needs of your family and yourself.
  • Strive to obtain work/life balance.
  • Learn to prioritize.
  • Last but certainly not least, remain positive!

Christine Williams is senior operations specialist at the American Nurses Credentialing Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. Email: [email protected]

Christine Williams