Ashworth College Blog

Tax Preparation courses can set you ahead of the curve

Written by Ashworth College on Wednesday, 07 June 2017. Posted in Career

Tax Preparation Courses Can Set You Ahead

Tax season 2017 is finally in the rear view. But like the old saying goes, you can count on it coming back around next year, and the year after, and on and on forever.

Since many (or all) of us view doing our taxes as a chore, you can imagine that tax preparers are pretty high in demand—and you’d be right! Over 28% of people in the U.S. hire an accountant to file taxes. After all, why take the time to do then yourself and potentially mess up, when you could hire a professional to do them correctly and maximize your return.

And since we’re on the topic… why can’t that professional be you? If you’re looking for a stable career that is consistently in-demand, or even if you’re just looking to start your side hustle to make some extra money, becoming a tax preparer could be a great option. If you agree, Ashworth College has tax preparation courses that can help you get started.

By working to earn your career diploma in tax preparation, you’ll learn the skills required to prepare taxes. You’l also be ready to take the National Bookkeepers Association Exam—your exam fee is included in your tuition! This national certification helps you to validate your knowledge, show your legitimacy and set yourself apart from your competition.

Our Tax Preparation courses will teach you how to:

  • prepare complex tax returns for individuals, businesses, and other organizations
  • conduct client interviews so you can obtain needed information
  • recognize taxable income and deductible expenses and allowances
  • legally lower clients’ tax bills will adjustments, credits, and deductions

These are just a few of the many skills you will learn by completing our tax preparation courses. Best of all, by learning online with Ashworth College, you can study at your pace and from the comfort of your own home. Fit your studies around your busy life, not the other way around.

There are also a few different directions you can go in this career. Tax preparation experts spend most of their time either working in a professional office environment alongside fellow well-trained experts, assisting accounting firms or retainer services for individuals and families, so there are options!

Ashworth College’s tax preparation courses are flexible and affordable. You could finish in as few months and be ready for next year’s tax season. If you’re interested in this new career, you can request more information to learn more!

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Ashworth College

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Life Hacks How to Organize an Effective Study Space

Where do you study? If you find yourself studying on your bed in a messy room, you may want to consider revamping your space. The environment you’re studying in can determine how you learn, how much you retain, and how you apply that information. As an online learner, you have a lot of control over your study space. That’s why it’s important to make sure you make it the perfect study environment.

Here are five ways you can make your study space learning-friendly while also personalizing it for you.

Limit distractions and set guidelines

iphone & glasses

At home, there are countless distractions. Between family, a page long to-do list, and lack of motivation, it’s easy to let your mind wander. That’s why it’s important to set study rules. Let your family or roommates know that you’re studying, what you’re studying for, and how long you plan to study. This way they know not to disturb you and understand the importance of the material you plan to go through.

Your spot should also be peaceful and noise free. Listening to distracting music or watching TV may not be the best approach to studying. While music helps some people focus, if you find yourself singing along or concentrating more on the music than your studies you may want to turn it off. Your phone should be off or turned over to limit distractions. It shouldn’t be buzzing and giving you the temptation to surf the Internet. If your area is too quiet for your liking, turn on a fan to add some white noise. Or, think about past study environments that have worked for you. Try recreating that environment with sounds, smells, or lighting.

Comfort is key

Woman looking at computer

Nobody likes to be uncomfortable and you definitely shouldn’t be while you study. As an online learner, it’s easy to roll out of bed and start your schoolwork. While comfort is key, you need to draw the line between comfy and too comfy. This means you may want to change out of your pajamas before you hit the books. This way, you’re telling your brain it’s not time to nap, it’s time to learn.

Think about your desk and chair, too. You want to make sure your chair is comfortable with good support and won’t hurt your back as you’re busy reading and writing. Don’t forget to make sure that your computer monitor and chair are set to heights that are comfortable for you so you’re not injuring your neck or wrists. Lastly, keep your space cool and well lit. If it’s too hot or too cold, or if you’re straining your eyes to see, you’ll be easily distracted. Research shows that productivity is at its highest when the temperature is between 72°F and 75°F.

Keep it organized

Notebook on desk

Now that you have a study space, you want to keep it organized. First, make sure to gather all the supplies you may need and place them where they’re easily accessible. You want these items to be within reach so you don’t have to waste precious study time looking for what you need. You can organize these items by using desk drawers or by placing them in organized piles on top of your desk. Try keeping your materials together by course, including all notes and printouts you may need.

Ultimately, organization means something different for everyone. While a clean desk promotes productivity, a messy desk may help you be more creative. Everyone has a different style and it comes down to personal preference, so choose whatever style fits you. After all, comfort is key.

Personalize it

Decorated home desk

Adorning your study space with photographs, inspirational quotes, or posters can motivate you and keep you going. Maybe a picture of your family reminds you why you’re working so hard to earn your education. You can also spruce up the area with a plant or two. Studies show that plants improve air quality and can help you focus.

Most importantly, this space should be somewhere you enjoy being. A space that’s yours and only yours, even if it’s only a small corner in a busy room. Make this a space you actually enjoy spending time in.

Use the space only for studying

Laptop on a desk

You love your new study space. It’s comfortable and personalized just for you. So, it’s tempting to use it for non-study related activities. Don’t! You’ll be more likely to create distractions if you decide that this is also the space where you’ll watch Netflix, play video games, draw, or just relax. Dedicate it exclusively to studying, that way you only associate the space with learning.

BONUS: Enjoy it

Creating a study space is all about you and the way it makes you feel. It’s about dedicating time to study and creating an atmosphere that allows you to get ready to hit the books and work towards reaching your goals. Due to budgeting restrictions, you may not be able to create the study space of your dreams, but with these tips, you can turn even the most boring space into a spot that inspires you to learn.

Share your study space with us! Use the #AshworthCollege on social media and show us your favorite space to learn.

Woman doing yoga on a dock.

Life Hacks How Exercise & Diet Can Impact Your Learning

If you’re lacking energy, having trouble concentrating, or just aren’t feeling your normal self, what you’re putting into your body (or lack thereof) may have something to do with it. Often times people tend to overlook how their lifestyle choices, like nutrition and exercise, can affect their brain. Making small changes in your busy life to adopt a healthier lifestyle can fuel your body and mind while giving you the energy you need to complete your tasks. Here’s how to fit healthy living into your busy schedule.

Nutrition as brain fuel

If you’re losing focus or falling behind in your schoolwork don’t brush it off. It may be due to your overall health. Believe it or not, nutrition affects your learning. Adopting a healthy lifestyle around your busy schedule, schoolwork, and career may seem exhausting, but it’s important. Eating well and moving more doesn’t mean you have to be miserable or eat foods you don’t enjoy. It’s about making small, gradual changes that result in you feeling better. And, if you feel better, you’ll produce better work, gain more energy, and enjoy a boost of confidence.

Food is fuel—fuel for your brain. But, “bad fuel” like processed or refined foods—meaning foods that have been pre-packaged, canned, or frozen—affect your brain in a negative way. Diets that are high in refined sugars can result in impaired brain function and mood disorders. According to the Harvard Health Blog, eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress. Healthier foods produce serotonin, which is a chemical in the brain that affects your mood. If you eat food that’s good for you, that means your overall mood will be better, resulting in better productivity.

With your busy life, it may seem easier to grab a burger on your lunch break from the closest fast food restaurant. Maybe you’re eating just to eat, not considering how it’s affecting your learning and overall mood in general. However, the more junk food you consume, the less nutrients your body receives.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the thought of fitting healthy eating into your hectic life. Instead, try tips like

  • Meal prep. Meal prepping is the easiest way to get on track with healthy eating. Taking some time on a Sunday (or any day that works for you) to prepare meals for the week will set you up for success, and could even save you a few bucks. Wake up, grab your packaged meals, and get learning! When meal prepping, remember to remove foods that offer little to no nutritional value such as processed foods.
  • Pinterest is your friend. Pinterest is a one stop shop for all the easy, healthy recipes you need to get on track. Ashworth’s Nutrition, Diet & Exercise board is full of balanced, vitamin-packed recipes and food prep tips and tricks. Start there!
  • Start slow. Introduce nutritious foods and remove foods from your diet slowly. Incorporate more colorful fruits and vegetables (the more colors the better) as you remove more and more beige and white starchy foods. Take note of how you feel when you eat foods that are healthier and remember how good it feels to eat well when you slip back into old habits to get back on track.

Small changes is all it takes to get the nutrients you need to concentrate on your studies.

Work it out

There are plenty of reasons to exercise that range from reducing the risk of diseases to improving your body composition. But that’s not all. Research shows that exercise is just as important for our brains as it is for our bodies. Exercise helps our memory and thinking and reduces insulin resistance, inflammation that can lead to disease, and raises the growth of new blood vessels in the brain and the abundance and survival of new brain cells, according to Harvard Health Blog. Additionally, studies have shown that those who exercise have greater brain volume in the parts of the brain that controls thinking and memory.

While finding the time to exercise may sound exhausting there are ways to be active without spending hours at the gym. Here are some exercise tips that will have you study-ready:

  • Take a walk. Walking is a great way to introduce physical activity into your life. It’s low impact, doesn’t leave you sweating, and can be easily fit into your daily life. Instead of sitting at your desk at work, take a walk around the building or outside! Or, if you’re having trouble concentrating while studying, take a walk break. Pro tip: Track your steps and set small goals to add more into your week.
  • Find a buddy. If it's hard for you to stay motivated on your own find a buddy to help! Consider group classes such as Zumba, a spin class, or Crossfit. You can also get a personal trainer, but they can be expensive in the long run. Instead, you can commit to being your own personal trainer with Ashworth!
  • Destress. Yoga is low impact and makes you stronger, but it’s also good for your brain. Yoga helps you stress less while also keeping you sharp.

Your health can help you succeed

Nutritious eating and exercise is the ultimate self-care. When you’re healthy inside, you’ll produce better work on the outside. Keep your memory sharp and ready to learn with a solid diet and regular exercise. If you’re not sure where to start, Ashworth College can help! Our Nutrition, Diet and Health Science Program can help you understand how a better diet can improve your quality of life, while our Personal Training Program can help you recognize why physical activity improves your overall health. Ready to take the first step? Enroll online or call us at to see if these programs are right for you.

Flowers planted near fence.

Online College Help Your Passion Bloom into a Career with Landscape Design

Summer is here! The sun is shining, the grass is green, and flowers have bloomed. You’re using your imagination and working hard to make your backyard look picture perfect. After all, you have a knack for planning, design, and creating beautiful outdoor spaces. Friends and neighbors are in awe of your yard and often ask for tips. You may not realize it, but you can turn your hobby into a career. Here’s how Ashworth can help you make the outdoors your office with our Landscape Design program.

Grow your hobby into work you enjoy

Now that it’s summer, homeowners want their backyards to be barbeque ready. That’s where you come in. You’re creative with an eye for design and an imagination. You also enjoy working with your hands and bringing your ideas to life. With your skills, you know what it takes to transform a yard from average to wow! From trees and flowers to fire pits, pathways, and seating areas, you’ll do it all as a landscape designer. And, with a faster than average job growth rate now is the time to become a landscape designer.

Plant the skills you need

Landscape design involves hands-on skills as well as communication skills. You’ll need to work with clients to make their vision a reality. In our flexible, online Landscaping Design course you’ll learn basic design techniques and how to use plants and materials to execute design projects. You’ll also complete courses to help you prepare for the landscaping design field such as

  • Introduction to Construction Technology. You’ll learn about potential career paths and the skills related to building construction. This lesson also covers math and science concepts and the applications of modern technology in the workplace.
  • Creating a Planting Plan. In this lesson, you’ll learn about how specific plants have a purpose and how to add them to a design. You’ll be introduced the concept of plant morphology and how it can be used to identify unknown plants.
  • Lines, Lettering, and Symbols. Worried your drawing skills aren’t up to par? Don’t be! This lesson will expand on your drawing and design skills. You’ll learn how to control line quality and apply line types to create a master plan. Additionally, this lesson will cover lettering and the symbols used to represent plants in a design.
  • Adding Color, Section Drawings, and Using the Computer. This lesson will introduce the tools used to add color and sections to drawing plans. You’ll also be introduced to drawing software that can be used in plan drawing.

Your career will allow you to be creative while you work to meet clients needs. It’ll also be rewarding as you watch your designs come to life.

Let your career bloom

A major part of landscaping design is the business side. It’s important to know what it takes to run a business. The Landscaping Business Management lesson will walk you through the process and what materials are required for you to start a landscaping business. You’ll learn about the minimum amount of equipment required to start, legal issues that you may encounter, and how to write contracts and even bid for jobs.

Start planting the seeds you need for a budding career as a landscape designer. Grow your skills with Ashworth College by calling an Admissions Advisor at .

 
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