So you've been on the job or in the military for a few years and you think it's time to get another degree... or maybe your first one?
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s College Completion Tool Kit, 50 percent of all new jobs in the next decade will require a post-secondary degree. Yet, more than 97 million Americans between the ages of 25 and 64 do not have a college degree.
Before you invest the time and money into returning to get your degree, consider whether your school of choice offers prior learning assessment. You could be converting what you've learned on the job into college credit. Some people find that using prior learning assessment helps them save a year's worth of school and tuition.
Clayton Sparks had worked as a java architect for ten years when he realized he would need to head back to school for a degree if he ever wanted to end up on the management side of things. One of the programs he found was an online prior learning assessment tool.
"The benefits to me were in time, money and moving forward in my career. Now I’m part of the management at my company," said Sparks. "The program worked like a charm. For anyone who has worked, this process is a win/win."
KNEXT is a college advisory service that was launched in May. Its learning recognition course has students complete online modules with online and offline assistance from advisers.
Students can then review their backgrounds, develop outlines of their job experience and training and create portfolios that document their learning and make the case for why the learning should be considered for college credit. Then students are guided through the college application process with partner institutions, as well as any other institution that accepts experiential credit by portfolio.
Teresa Jackson participated in KNEXT's pilot program at Kaplan University.
"The program teaches you to look at yourself and value your experiences," said Jackson."The outcome is well worth the process even as a standalone program."
KNEXT estimates that through its learning recognition courses, the average student could save about $10,000 and 29 college credits during the pursuit of a four-year degree.
According to Brian Ouellette, general manager of KNEXT, the U.S. Department of Education is calling for the use of prior learning assessments to give credit for skills learned outside the classroom. He says there is a shortage of qualified college-trained workers to meet the growing demand.
“We’re proud to play a part of this change in adult education,” said Ouellette.
Could prior learning assessment be a tool in your higher education?
Find more on going back for your degree on EducationOption.