With the various ways higher education has changed over the years, it’s safe to say that so has the idea of what a typical college student looks like. While college campuses are still teeming with crowds of students fresh out of high school, the numbers of adults going back to school has changed the “student demographic” dramatically. This fact has not gone by unnoticed by college and universities, either. As a result of this change, many schools now offer life experience degree programs.
What is a Life Experience Degree Program?
Also known as a work experience degree, this type of degree program was designed for adult college students who already have years of experience in their field of employment but who have yet to earn an actual degree. Because these students are typically 24 years of age or older, it isn’t quite fair to require them to start from scratch in terms of obtaining enough college credits to get a degree. The life experience degree program gives them a leg-up on the process of earning credits so they can finish within a realistic time frame. Who wants to take 101 college courses with freshmen and sophomores when you’re in your 30s, 40s or older?
It is important to note that online colleges and universities are the main educational institutions that offer accredited life experience degree programs.
Advantages Life Experience Degrees
While not mandatory, obtaining a life experience degree does offer a handful of benefits for working professionals. Earning this type of degree is great for anyone’s resume. Because many employers are looking for candidates with degrees in specific fields, having a life experience degree is the ideal substitute for an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s. It gives your resume credibility without requiring you to enroll in a 4-year college or university.
Working professionals with a life experience degree under their belt tend to increase their chances of receiving a pay raise or promotion. Employers are always impressed by people who take the extra step to enhance their current skills while acquiring new ones.
Since life experience degrees are offered through online colleges and universities, adult students have the flexibility and convenience of earning their degree through distance learning. This means arranging classes around their schedule and being able to still spend time with their families without the need for being present in a classroom.
Disadvantages of Online Colleges
Going back to school, even online, means paying for tuition and fees, supplies and other related costs. Unless your employer has a tuition reimbursement program or something similar, you’ll have an added expense to add to your stack of bills. It is important that prospective adult students double check that their company accepts this type of degree, as well as if there are a specific list of schools they must obtain their life experience degree through in order for it to be accepted.
Another vital factor to take note of is to enroll in a life experience degree program from an online school that is accredited. Failing to do so could mean a waste of time and money on a degree that won’t be accepted by your company.