Short Term Degree Benefits

In today’s economy nearly all jobs require some form of a credential beyond high school. However, many small businesses find it difficult to find qualified job applicants to fill job openings, particularly those entry to middle skill level jobs that require specific technical skills. These skills are often able to be acquired through a short-term degree program designed in partnership with business and industry standards and expectations. Accordingly, the demand for entry to middle level skills is strong. In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 53 percent of the US labor market was entry level skill jobs, yet only 43 percent of the country’s workers possessed the necessary skills.

Thus, short-term degrees and industry-based certifications are increasingly important for individuals who want to advance in the workplace and achieve greater economic mobility. The attainment of a credential demonstrates the mastery of the knowledge, skills, and abilities desired by employers, putting learners on a path towards gainful employment. One recent study shows that certification holders earn 30 percent more than individuals with a high school diploma alone and the wage premium for short-term degree programs is often comparable or higher than bachelor’s degrees in certain fields.

Since the early 2000s, community colleges have been stacking certificates to create career pathways. The short-term degrees embedded into career pathways make up 24 percent of all postsecondary awards in the US today. In the 2014-15 academic year, more than 600,000 short-term degrees were conferred—a 63 percent increase from the 370,000 degrees granted during the 2004-05 academic year. Short-term degrees along with certifications have become so popular that they are now the second most common higher education credential in the United States, signaling that students and employers are recognizing the value of this educational route at an increasing rate.

Nonetheless, short-term degrees only have value if they are a) designed to respond to local labor market needs, and b) designed to ensure long-term success through continuing learning opportunities. When these programs are developed utilizing labor market data and employer engagement in the design, it leaves students with a credential that has high meaning in the local economy. Therefore, short-term degree programs must be thoughtfully designed if they are to improve a student’s employment opportunities.

Labor markets are not static. Rapidly changing technologies and skills are compelling workers to return to school and upgrade their skills just to retain their current jobs. Colleges that offer short-term degrees are able to move and adapt to those changes rapidly in order to meet the needs of the local employers. Providing the local economy a highly trained workforce that is able to fill the needs of changing industries is a key benefit to short-term degrees. Students are looking for ways to improve their economic status in the fastest way possible with as little debt as possible. Short-term degrees are filling that need for the new age of student demographics.

Study Tips

Have you ever wondered what the best study habits are? Well, wonder no more! We are going to give you some helpful tips to make your studying sessions less painful. The best advice we can offer is to get a good’s night rest. Having a regular sleep schedule is so important and vital to your success as a student. You should always go to bed and get up at the same time every day. We understand that work schedules and family time may sometimes interfere with a sleep schedule, but it’s important to plan ahead to try to avoid that at all costs. This brings us to our next tip. Get a planner! A planner will be a lifesaver. Planners can help keep you organized. You can plan when to study, around your work schedule, school schedule, and family events.

Where you study can affect your study habits as well. You should always study in a quiet area with little distractions. Also, make it a point to tell your friends and family that you are studying. This way they know not to disturb you. We know cell phones are a big part of day to day life, but sometimes they are a distraction. We suggest turning them off while you are studying, or putting them on silent or vibrate.

See below for more study tips!

  • Get a good night’s rest.
  • Get a planner.
  • Always study in a quiet area.
  • Tell friends and family you are studying.
  • Turn off your cell phone.
  • Use a dictionary or dictionary app.
  • Make sure to have all your supplies ready (notebook, pens/pencil, textbook).
  • Study in a well-lit area.
  • Study for 30 minutes and then take a five minute break. Repeat as necessary.
  • Only highlight 10% of your notes.
  • Make a study checklist.

United Hospital Center – Externship Highlight

Externships allow students to experience real-life skills in their field of study, in order to gain valuable experience and knowledge from the experts in the field. At WVJC, all students have the opportunity to participate in an externship where they get to interact in their field of study.

One of WVJC Bridgeport’s incredible externship partners, who we have worked with for years, is United Hospital Center. One of the programs UHC offers an externship program for is Information Technology. With this externship program, IT students work with the men and women in the IT field, experiencing everything from server management to network management.

Brian Williams works closely with the IT externs through the UHC Department of IT. He, along with other members of his team, work with information technology students on projects ranging from routine IT maintenance to new project installation. WVJC students get to work with industry professionals either one on one or in large groups to perform these various tasks and gain valuable experience.

Brian stated that the benefits of externships include the ability to see large infrastructure in action, ongoing project management, and viewing customer support in person. Brian recently moved into his role and is excited to see what the future will hold as WVJC and UHC’s partnership continues to grow.

WVJC Bridgeport encourages students and graduates to learn from many different sources to better facilitate their education and experience in their field of study. If you are interested in gaining hands-on experience in your chosen career field while still in school, don’t hesitate to reach out at!