A person who has acquired expertise in his career field (a "life degree") may find that colleagues with less expertise but holding academic degrees are getting the jobs he can't get. A "life experience degree" isn't the equivalent of an academic degree as there is no certificate to prove it, but previous experiences in work and life can qualify you for jobs, so they are valuable to possess.
- Skill level:
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Gain the experience that will be recognized by degree-granting institutions. This is the first and most difficult step in acquiring a life experience degree. This means not only success in your career field, but courses you've taken through your employer, at technical schools, and even through colleges or universities.
Gather your credentials, including college transcripts, certificates of completion, awards earned, job descriptions and performance reviews, so you can take your life experiences to the college to see about gaining a real degree.
Look for a degree-granting institution with an actual program that requires the skills you've amassed while earning your "life experience degree." Although no life experience degree is equal in prestige to one obtained through traditional means, one that has specific requirements that must be met are better than those that can be obtained simply by paying a fee.
Apply to the degree-granting institution and pay the required fee. Don't be fooled by those that claim to be accredited; check with the U.S. Department of Education for a list of recognized accrediting agencies.
Tips and warnings
- Use your life experience degree as a way to summarize your experience. Be prepared to show your work and education history to your employer or prospective employer, and explain how it qualified you for your life experience degree. Don't pretend that your life experience degree is the same as an academic degree.
- Don't expect to get into graduate school with your life experience degree.
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