Many of us dream of it - to finish an abandoned degree, pursue a new career path, or break through into a management position. But often time, money and family commitments make it impossible to participate in the classroom education that we think will help us realize those dreams.
That's why more and more people, including employers, are recognizing the value of a life experience degree earned online. According to a survey of 239 employers developed by the well-known career network, Vault.com, 61% of employers now find online degrees acceptable. And why not? After all, isn't life work an educational experience? Shouldn't education take place throughout our lives, not just in the classroom?
Continuous learning has become a requirement for success on the job. And countless skilled workers have amassed substantial knowledge in their given fields through the day-to-day rigors of solving problems, facing challenges, and keeping up with constant advances in their industries. How often has anyone heard a traditional college graduate say they felt their classroom education prepared them adequately for their chosen field? The truth is there is no better education than what you learn on the job.
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Life experience degrees, when evaluated and issued by an experienced institution recognize and reward people for their years in the trenches. Using many of the same traditional educational benchmarks as traditional colleges such as previous college courses, CLAP (College Level Examination Program), employer-sponsored training, military training, workshops, and certificates of achievements as their guide confers upon worthy applicants a degree that is a true representation of a person's knowledge and skill.
Traditional institutions, threatened by the way advances in technology and changes in the workplace are altering the definition of education, and how it is acquired, are rallying against life experience degrees. But their world is insulated. The rest of us live in a world of rising education costs, excessive competition, the loss of job security, and a weak job market.
The quality of the U.S. workforce matters now more than ever. Yet, within countless firms where productivity, quality, flexibility, and experience matter, many highly qualified workers are running into closed doors because their achievements are undervalued and unnoticed.
A college education is still a fundamental prerequisite for getting a decent job, and a Master degree is still the path to higher management. The best forecasts of job growth in the nation suggest that the economy will continue to favor those with the highest years of schooling.
Life experience degrees are making their deserved mark in changing the landscape of adult and continuing education. When both traditional and life experience degrees can proudly reside side by side on a resume, employers will finally get a richer, more fuller picture of who sits before them in an interview.
Just as the traditional medical community, over time, had to adjust its ideas about holistic approaches to human health, traditional educational institutions must do likewise.
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