Skip to Content
Resource Articles //

5 Core Determinants of Professional Success

Discover the qualities you need for the career of your dreams.


Everyone wants to be successful. Of course, how people define success differs—one person might consider owning their own business as the height of success, while another person might see being named teacher of the year as their top goal. But no matter what career goal you plan to pursue, there are five factors that help determine your professional success.

1. Confidence. If you want to become a school principal, counselor, health specialist, nurse, CEO, or anything else, you have to believe that it’s possible. You must have confidence in your aspirations and your abilities in order to take steps toward your dreams. After all, if you don’t believe you will be successful, why even try?

2. Education. Many careers require a degree to begin work. For instance, no matter how passionate you are about helping others, you can’t become a social worker without earning a degree in social work or human services. Earning a bachelor’s degree is often the first step to starting your career, and some professions require a master’s degree or a doctorate. Even if a graduate degree isn’t a requirement for a particular position, earning a master’s or a PhD can often advance your career.

3. Commitment. Success in any field requires commitment. You can’t go to the gym once and expect to be muscular forever (unfortunately!); you must commit to working out regularly if you want to be fit. Similarly, you have to remain dedicated to your career goals if you want to be successful in your profession.

4. Adaptability. Even if you have all the confidence in the world, hold a degree from an accredited college, and are committed to doing a great job, you could still encounter obstacles on your quest for success. If and when that happens, you’ll need to be adaptable. As we saw in 2020, the pandemic forced teachers to pivot to online learning, auto manufacturers to start making ventilators, and many workers to shift to working remotely. Businesses that were unable to adapt to these changes shut down and employees who didn’t adapt were let go. If you’re able to be flexible and make changes when needed, you are more likely to be successful in your career.

5. Support. Having support is a key factor in professional success. Negative people can bring you down and hold you back. But if you’re surrounded by people who believe in you and encourage you, that can help you remain confident and committed, even in tough times. If you’re not lucky enough to have a supportive family or partner, develop a group of friends who will cheer you on. Even an online group can give you the motivation to keep going in the direction of your dreams.

Regardless of how you define professional success, a degree can help you achieve your goals. You can earn a bachelor’s degree, master’s, or doctoral degree online to begin or advance your career.

Earning a degree online gives you the opportunity to study from anywhere you have internet access. You can also work while you earn your degree online because you can participate in courses at whatever times work best for you. Many students appreciate the flexibility and convenience of online college courses.

Accredited online colleges go through the same accreditation process as campus-based colleges. Accreditation means an institution meets recognized standards of education and federal compliance requirements. An accredited online college offers quality education in a flexible format.

Education is a key factor in professional success. Earning a degree online can help you gain the right skills for the career you want. Combine your education with confidence, commitment, adaptability, and support, and you can more easily achieve the career of your dreams.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,