Nontraditional Ways to Earn Your College Degree

With the rise of technology and the onset of the remote workplace, traditional college programs are becoming less and less popular among the new generation of post-high school graduates. While there will always be a place for the conventional four-year degree program, there is a growing demand for options which do not involve dedicating a full four years in order to graduate. There are many reasons for this. First, four-year residential college programs are expensive. In today’s economy, many have questioned whether such a large investment actually pays off. For many students, receiving concrete instruction in practical job skills is a better investment than a liberal arts education. There has also been a shift away from the “traditional student.” Many students need to hold down a full-time job or attend to family matters while completing a degree. This means that there is a need for flexible classroom time. Likewise, professors and faculty embers benefit from the flexibility of nontraditional degree programs. This gives them time to pursue side projects and even teach remotely from anywhere in the world.


If you fit into this ever growing “nontraditional” student category, read on for a few ways that you can earn a degree or continue your education without attending a conventional four year University.

College Certificate Programs

For those who want to learn a skill in a specific field in half the time of a traditional college, a college certificate program may be for you. These degree programs focus in on a very specific skill, such as management, accounting, or information science. Certificate programs are also a great way for those who already have an undergraduate degree to gain more specific, targeted knowledge in their field. Many careers require a specific certificate in order to practice in that field. Schools such as Anderson College in Toronto, for example, offer a range of specific certificate programs for healthcare professionals looking to add new skills to their repertoire while still holding down a full-time job. No matter what your field, you can find certificate programs at many local community colleges and universities and most offer flexible schedules for full-time professionals.

Online Degree Programs

Online degree programs are great for those who cannot make it to a physical campus. Perhaps you have kids, you work full time, or you are off traveling the world. Whatever the reason, if you have a computer and a reliable internet connection, online programs may be a good choice for you. There are a number of colleges and universities, which offer their programs online, usually at a fraction of the cost of the traditional program. Some may require occasional in-person meetings while others let you interact with the professor and fellow students virtually. Another great benefit of online degree programs is that with many of these programs, you can work at your own pace. This allows you to finish the degree requirements quickly or take your time as you continue to balance other responsibilities.