written by: Ivy N. McQuain MBA•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 8/5/2013
Are you thinking about returning to school to complete a degree? As a working adult, this poses many challenges. A degree completion program allows you to get on track and complete your degree despite obstacles such as work and family commitments.
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If you are like many of us, you realize mid-career that a college degree would help you greatly to get ahead. Many adults already have some college classes under their belt, but weren't able to complete their degree for one reason or another. Now you are considering going back to school to complete your degree, but you cannot afford to stop working.
A degree completion program (also referred to as an online, adult, military or bachelor’s degree completion program) allows working adults to complete their college degree who have college credits at a bachelor or associate degree level.
Degree completion programs are typically offered through distance or adult learning programs at both traditional and online colleges and universities. At some universities the student is required to have some college credits. Other universities allow students to use their work and life experiences to be used as college credit, which decreases the amount of time needed to complete their degree. Either way, it allows for working adults to return to school to complete their degree while maintaining their job.
Through the various continuing education departments for working adults, adult learners can choose to earn certificates, non-credit coursework and degrees. Many of these programs are accredited and offer degrees in many of the popular fields of study including, technology, business, education and other popular academic fields.
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Benefits of this Program
Unlike traditional admissions requirements, working adults who enroll in these programs can include life and work experience as credits to count towards their degree. These completion programs typically have flexible scheduling options during a semester or quarter, and also count previous college credits and work/life/military experience towards studies and the flexibility to complete your degree as you see fit.
Technology:With the continual advancements in technology, going to school is becoming easier and easier for working adults. Now, all you need to attend class is your computer and cell phone. While there are many schools opting to have more online courses, online colleges have the advantage of being accessible at any time, any place, which is the number one perk for working adults trying to complete their degree.
Scheduling Flexibility:Flexibility is priceless to working adults and as a working adult, you have scheduling options that are not like traditional classes. Depending on your college, you may be able to attend classes at night and on the weekend.
Previous Credits: Working adults who previously earned college credits may be able to use those credits toward their degree. For an associate’s degree, some colleges require you have at least 18 hours of previous credit hours while others need a minimum of 54 credit hours.
Work/Life/Military Experience: Working adults may be able to use their work, life and/or military experience towards their degree. In some programs, such as education and business, working in the field you are seeking a degree for a minimum of five years counts as credit towards your degree. Military experience is evaluated through the American Council for Education and compared to the degree.
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List of Colleges that Offer Degree Completion Programs
Here is a list of online colleges and universities from Worldwide Learn to help you restart your college career:
Capella University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It offers online bachelor degree completion programs in Business and Information Technology. Students can use their use their work experience to push them through some of the required courses by completing a Petition for Credit.
American InterContinental University Online is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. This school offers both individual students and employees of corporations the opportunity to receive an online accelerated degree in Information Technology for student with at least 48 quarter credits.
Miller-Motte College Online is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). Students with 60 semester credit hours or 90 quarter credit hours in an approved program can complete their degree in Allied Health Management, Business Administration, Criminal Justice or Nursing (RN to BSN).
Ellis College of New York Institute of Technology is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. This college offers associate, bachelor’s, and undergraduate certificate programs in over 30 disciplines of study, including Health Care Administration, Business Administration, Marketing, Finance, Accounting, Interdisciplinary Studies and more.
Bellevue University, established in 1966, is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Students can use their associate degree or 60 credit hours towards their degree completion in Business Administration of Technical Studies, Business Information Systems, Criminal Justice Administration, Healthcare Administration, Internet Systems and Software Technology, Leadership, Marketing Management, Management, Management of Human Resources, Management Information Systems, and Security Management.
Boston University, founded in 1839, is the fourth largest private university in the country. BU offers accredited executive undergraduate degree completion program that is designed for highly motivated individuals who have finished at least 64 transferable credits of their undergraduate work and want to complete their bachelor's degree.
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Western Governors University (WGU) is the only university to have received simultaneous accreditation by four regional accrediting commissions. WGU is a competency-based university that does not award degrees based on a given number of credit hours accumulated or a certain set of courses completed. WGU offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in Computer Information Systems, Information Technology - Network Management, Business, and Teaching Mathematics as well as Master’s degree in education and teaching. Note: Some programs are not suited for those interested in additional certifications.
Lamar University offers complete online degree completion programs in several degree options for students who either want to use their work experience or want to finish a bachelor degree.
Saint Joseph's University is a 150 year old university that offers a 100 percent online program in Professional and Liberal Studies.
Indiana State University, accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, offers Associate of Science in General Aviation Flight Technology.
Ultimately, if you are unable to return to college full time, you have the option of attending school on your own terms and a degree completion program allows you that option. These programs are for working adults and offer a fast track toward completing the degree they started. For more information on a specific degree completion program and if it is the right one for you check with the college you are interested in attending.