Making the leap back to school can feel nerve wracking - but it doesn’t have to. You may not look or live like the typical college student from the movies, but if you are driven to advance your career or set out on a new path you are the perfect candidate for higher education. Lucky for you, online education offers seemingly infinite options for programs that won’t derail your current job, family or lifestyle.
Older adults who decide to return to school are often referred to as "non-traditional" studentsbecause they don't fit society's typical description: the 18-24 year old, unmarried student, living on or near campus. However, today over 50 percent of students enrolled in higher education don't fit this narrow definition. So many students fall into this category that some are ditching the term "non-traditional" for the updated label of "contemporary students." The new contemporarystudent is typically over the age of 30, works full-time and has kids, all the while working to complete their degree. Fortunately for these students, there are a number of options for college that fit their schedule. The need for flexible education options is likely the reason for the growing interest in online programs among adult students.
The incredible flexibility of online courses and degree programs is a draw to all online-enrolled students, but for older adults, it can be the difference between pursuing higher education and not. Online programs offer adult students the opportunity to complete a degree previously started, or start a new career path entirely, without major interruptions to lifestyle. Since there are no set class times in online programs, students can move at their own pace. For older adults, this flexibility means they can study when it works for them and avoid disruptions to their regular schedules. This is particularly helpful for parents, who are increasingly making the decision to go back to school. Additionally, online programs open the possibility to attend a vast number of institutions across the country without having to relocate the family or live far from home.
According to Forbes, one-third of America's 21 million enrolled students are taking some or all of their instruction online. So, much like the traditional student demographic is changing, the traditional classroom is evolving as well. While the physical classroom isn't going anywhere, decades of research from the U.S. Department of Education finds no significant difference in learning outcomes between online and classroom programs. This increased confidence in online learning has boosted the reputation of many online programs and attracted more people, including more adult students.
The options available to adult students are also expanding. While traditional degree programs, like nursing, criminal justice and business administration, are increasingly being moved entirely online, so are less time intensive certificate programs that can help professionals advance theirexisting careers. While often not associated with a degree program, certificates can offer adult students a leg up in a competitive job market with specialized skills to set them apart from the competition.
If you are an older adult thinking about enrolling in an online degree program, you are in luck. Columbia's Teachers College found that older adult learners are ideal candidates for online education – finding better outcomes among older adults in online programs than those in classroom settings. While younger students benefit greatly from the accountability and real-world lessons gained in a campus-based program, adult learners often thrive with more flexibility and the ability to maintain their jobs and families while completing a degree.
As more older adults pursue higher education, an increase in demand for online education programs will ensue. Increased flexibility, improved tools and platforms for online learners, and more programs focused on potential employment opportunities, will continue to be in high demand. Whether returning to a previously started degree, starting out on a fresh new career path or seeking to be more competitive in the job market, now could be the perfect time for older adults to seek out educational pursuits.
If you’ve taken any prescription medications, you’ve no doubt interacted with a pharmacy technician. These professionals are most recognizable as the folks at your local drug store – handing you a prescription bag and ringing up your purchase on the cash register.
Retail pharmacies aren’t the only places pharm techs work, though. Pharmacy technicians work in a variety of settings, from hospitals to mail-order prescription facilities. And their job tasks can vary greatly depending on where they work.
About half of all pharm techs work in drug stores, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In a retail environment, pharmacy technicians work under the direction of the registered pharmacist to handle a number of important tasks, including:
Most pharmacy technicians employed in a retail setting work full time, sometimes in shifts that include nights and weekends. The median pharmacy technician salary in retail drug stores is about $30,000 per year, and demand for pharm techs is expected to grow rapidly as the Baby Boomer population continues to age.
Some pharm techs don’t want to interact with the public as much as required in a drug store setting. If that sounds like you, then you may be interested to know that hospitals employ many pharmacy technicians “behind the scenes” to prepare medications for patients. Like their retail peers, hospital-based pharm techs also work under the supervision of a registered pharmacist, but they may perform more complex tasks, including:
Working in a hospital is tops for pharmacy technician pay: the median salary for these professionals comes in at nearly $37,000 per year.
Many people receive their medications through the mail these days, and while it’s true that big machines count and package those pills, the prescriptions still must be processed by someone who has passed a pharmacy technician exam.
In a mail-order pharmacy, a pharm tech might:
Pharmacy technician hourly pay in a mail-order facility might run as high as $15.50, for a median annual salary of about $31,000.
Pharm techs work in other settings, too, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities, where they may package and dispense medications to patients.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to become a pharmacy technician, our Admission Advisors can put you on the path to enter this this fast-growing field. Learn more about the online pharmacy technician program at Ashworth College. Call 1-800-957-5412 or request free information today!
In our GO AFTER IT blog series, you'll meet fellow students and grads who committed themselves to chasing their dreams and proving it pays to GO AHEAD toward better opportunities -- no matter the obstacles to be overcome.
When Dan Brennanhusen* attained his role as the new director of safety and security for a major school district, his qualifications included nearly two decades of law enforcement and corporate security experience. He had also earned his Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Ashworth College and is a strong believer in the power of education to achieve success.
“I believe higher education is a leveraging tool to seek higher positions,” says Brennanhusen, “and with higher positions you typically are better compensated.”
While Brennanhusen was rewarded with better compensation, he feels that his Ashworth College program provided him with something much more valuable than the promise of higher pay. Even after working as a professional in law enforcement for so many years, he learned new concepts and techniques from the books and lessons in the Master of Criminal Justice Degree Program. He also discovered the practicality of his education, since he is using what he learned every day in his new job.
“I found the program to be contemporary and directly applicable to my profession. The core principles and components of my studies positively impact my career daily,” he says.
The quality of the program was unquestionably relevant to Brennanhusen’s career, but there were other benefits of an Ashworth College education that drew him into attending in the first place.
“Because I had a really busy work and family life, including two kids, I had to find a flexible program. I had been promoted to new assignments and divisions so life was as busy as it could possibly be. Ashworth College offered the accreditation and flexibility I needed to attain my objectives. The cost was also a plus.”
One might ask why a successful criminal justice professional who was already promoted would want to continue their education. According to Brennanhusen, the answer was twofold: career advancement and personal growth. At the time, he was a police sergeant and wanted to become a member of his department’s executive leadership team by working his way up to chief. After being promoted to commander, Brennanhusen realized that he would need a master’s degree to be considered for the next step up. And he knew that a higher-level degree would help him in his role for future promotions.
Says Brennanhusen, “Hiring someone always comes with some risks. I view degrees and higher education as an important piece of the puzzle. Having ‘missing pieces’ may cause a potential employer to find someone who has a more complete puzzle.”
As Brennanhusen completed his educational “puzzle,” he took his time. Aside from his competing priorities of earning a living and caring for a busy family, he says he didn’t want to merely pass assignments – he wanted to get good grades, do well and truly learn. He even paused his studies for a while so he could regroup and refocus.
Congratulations to Brennanhusen on completing his master’s Degree in Criminal Justice and the opportunities it has afforded him. If you’re interested in this field, or other fields of study, we recommend you contact an Admissions Advisor at 1-800-957-5412 who will be happy to answer any and all questions you may have.
* At the request of the student in the interest of job privacy and security, a pseudonym is being used; otherwise, all quotes and information in this blog are actual and verifiable.
What’s your dream career? Working in the booming healthcare field? Criminal justice? Owning your own business?
All too often, people’s dreams get derailed because they think they can’t get the education they need to turn their vision into reality. The Ashworth College graduates in these videos will tell you otherwise. Hear their inspiring stories, and then talk to an admissions advisor today so you can stop dreaming and start pursuing your ideal career!
Wouldn’t you love to star in your own graduation video, dressed in a gown and mortarboard like these students? We would certainly love to see you walk the stage at our live commencement event to receive the certificate, diploma, or degree you earned at Ashworth College.
Learn more about the many flexible, afforedable programs available to help you start turning your dream career into a reality: Talk to an admissions advisor today!