The cost of college is rising and more and more Americans are leaving school with degrees unfinished. It’s notoriously hard for non-traditional students to be successful on 4-year university campuses that are designed specifically for full-time students. If you’re not sure investing the time and money into a traditional education path is right for you, here are three affordable options to consider:

1. Distance Learning

More and more schools are offing partial and full distance learning options for students. That means that a significant part of the program curriculum is available online. There are both paced and self-paced programs. Paced programs emulate a classroom setting online, holding students to a synchronized curriculum. Self-paced programs allow flexibility in completing courses. Many prominent schools offer these kinds of programs, and some schools are even entirely online. It’s important to be as prudent in choosing a distance learning program as it is in choosing a traditional program. Make sure the program is accredited, and if you have to be present at the location for part of the program, make sure you can get to the location for the dates you must be there.

2. Vocational School or Career College

These programs are focused and tend to have higher rates of job placement in the field. The program tracks also tend to take less time than a traditional college and tend to be much more affordable. Before you enroll in a vocational school or career college, talk to people in the field you’re interested in and, if possible, get some work experience in the field to make sure you’re investing in what you want to do.

3. Go to work!

Whether you’re already working or between jobs, work experience in which you learn on the job can count towards earning a degree. Professors can often issue college credit for work experience where you learn new skills on the job that is reflected in how the nature of your work changes over time. If you plan on going to school, are enrolled full or part-time, or even if going to school isn’t on your radar, your work experience can help you earn your credential. To learn more, visit us at


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