It's never too late to get your college education, and in today's shifting economy, it can be a smart investment in your financial future. Maybe your career has stalled, and you want to advance it further by learning about the newest developments in your field of choice. Or maybe you want to do something new completely.

But if you're a working professional, it's hard to make that leap. You have bills to pay, a family to support, and, well, you need to stay employed, and taking time off so you can get a different career won't sit well with your current employer. That's why distance learning exists. Either online or through mail, you can access course materials and a 24-hour virtual classroom, and get education on your own time, by your own rules. Still not convinced? Here's four more reasons it's the right choice for a mature student:

  1. You can learn in the comfort of your own home, or any other place that works for you.
    Don't like a classroom? How's your living room sound? You can settle in with a cup of coffee, a blanket, some music, and a cell phone that's not turned off, and learn in whatever environment is most comfortable to you. Or leave your house and hit a library, a community centre, or even a coffee shop. When you're distance learning, you can choose the venue.

  2. Schedule your life in previously impossible ways
    That ideal learning setting I mentioned? That can be at any time of the day, be it three in the afternoon, nine at night, or any other time you wish. Distance education doesn't work on any clock but your own. The important factor here is you can still go to work, take care of your family, and do any other leisure activities you want, and still have time for your education, because you can get that education at any time.

  3. Save money on food and transportation.
    Gas is expensive, and if you're trying to park anywhere in the GTA, it comes with hefty fees. And if you don't have a car, be prepared to shell out triple digits for a Metropass. When you're learning from home, it's not something you have to worry about, unless you want to travel. Along a similar line, cafeteria food isn't cheap, and not everyone has the time or supplies to make their own lunch. Learning from home lets you eat where and when you choose, with grocery store supplies that both cost less and are better for you than a burger and fries. Or you can chow down on chips and chocolate, I won't judge.

  4. You're not getting a compromised education
    Admittedly, there's a lingering negative perception of online-only schools. It's a changing workforce and a new economy we live in. The public view of distance learning has already begun to change, and will likely continue to shift to becoming a mainstream option for post-secondary learners.

    Beware of online-only colleges, though. Instead, pick one like Centennial College, a school with regular day programs, as you'll be sure to have an experience backed by a solid, real institution. You get the same education you'd get in a classroom, taught by the same industry professionals, and get the tools you need to get whatever career you wish moving.