College for Working Adults – What You Should Know

July 8, 2021

Adult learners or non-traditional students are growing in number and for a good reason. A college education can offer higher pay, new skills, better work opportunities, and much more. If you are looking for a college for working adults, read on.

We’ll walk you through why you should go back to school, what you should look for, and highlight a few different institutions to jumpstart your search.

Is Going Back to College A Good Idea?

College for working adults
Source: Unsplash

Going back to college and pursuing an associate degree or bachelor’s degree is a good idea if you are looking to start a new career or make advancements in your professional life. 

Several college and university courses cater to working adults’ unique needs by providing a level of flexibility, on-demand courses, online accessibility, microlearning, and off-campus learning. 

When it comes to honing new skills, age is just a number. A college degree is a key to higher wages for entry-level positions. The median weekly earnings for bachelor’s degree holders are almost double the earnings of high school graduates.

Who is a Non-Traditional Student? 

Anyone who fits into the following categories is considered a non-traditional student:

  • Delays enrollment in postsecondary education after finishing high school
  • Works full-time while being enrolled in a full-time program
  • Doesn’t have a high-school diploma and is over 24 years of age
  • Has dependents (spouse, children, elderly family members, or parents)
  • Is financially independent (in terms of determining financial aid eligibility)

Students enrolled in a college that caters to working adults may have unique needs, responsibilities, and financial capabilities.

As a working adult, you might have skipped college because you wanted to start working early. You might have had responsibilities like taking care of the elderly members of your family. You might have pursued a career in a specific field, hoping to learn the ropes on the job. 

You might have also skipped graduation because you couldn’t afford a college education back then. Whatever your reason, going back to college is always a good idea from a long-term career perspective.

Colleges That Offer Programs for Working Adults

Are you in the process of finding and evaluating the best adult degrees or online college degree programs? There has never been a better time for adult students to complete their higher education. The influx of technology in education has allowed university and college degrees to become more flexible, accessible, and effective for working adults. 

Whether you want to start your college education or resume your education through degree completion programs, the following higher education avenues provide you with an opportunity to learn and evolve. 

Disclaimer: The following is not a “top 10 colleges list” – it is simply a list of colleges we found while researching degrees for working adults.

New England Institute of Technology, RI – New England Tech offers comprehensive associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs in fields like automotive technology, engineering, architecture, design, nursing, life sciences, criminal justice, game development, web development, digital media, and building technologies. 

With dedicated courses for adult learners, the institute provides a flexible learning environment with internship and placement assistance. 


Earn your degree from NEIT and begin your new career path today!




Charter Oak State College, CT – Known for its dynamic transfer policy and online programs, Charter Oak State College is ideal for adults with existing credits. With a variety of adult degrees, the institute offers world-class facilities for adult learners. 

Excelsior College, NY – Since 1971, Excelsior has been offering dedicated programs for older learners. The average college student at this institution is around 36.7 years old. The vast range of online classes includes technology, health sciences, and business administration. 

Walden University, MN – Walden University’s headquarters in Minneapolis is home to thousands of students looking for affordable education. The for-profit university caters to adult learners and their unique learning needs. 

Thomas Edison State College, NJ – A college that fulfills the online learning needs of older adults, Thomas Edison State University offers programs in accounting, cybersecurity, and nonprofit management. 

Northcentral University, AZ – With courses in business, education, health sciences, psychology, social work, and technology, Northcentral University delivers an intimate learning experience. 

Brandman University, CA – With a diverse student population, Brandman University offers over 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The university’s learning model, referred to as iDEAL (Instructional Design for Engaged Adult Learning), provides a great deal of flexibility to working adults. 

University of Maryland, MD – With more than 90,000 students, UMUC is the ideal avenue for individuals seeking distance learning classes and online programs. The university offers over 120 degree programs.

Granite State College, NH – Regardless of your age or career situation, GSC makes it easy for you to start your learning journey and begin a new career. GSC is an excellent college for working adults and students looking for the best online program options. 

Peirce College, PA – Pierce College, founded by Thomas May Pierce, delivers practical, career-oriented training to adults (especially women). Being one of the oldest accredited colleges in the United States, Pierce College is one of the best institutions for adult degree programs. 

With regular courses, online programs, and asynchronous courses, these institutes offer various degree programs for working adults. 

Things to Consider Before Choosing a College 

For adult learners, the most important thing is to choose a degree program and college that complements their work schedule, fulfills their career aspirations, and equips them with new skills to go the extra mile in their chosen profession.

For adult learners, the most important thing is to choose a degree program and college that complements their work schedule, fulfills their career aspirations, and equips them with new skills to go the extra mile in their chosen profession.

Program flexibility – When comparing programs and college classes, make sure you look at how flexible the schedule is. For many adults, it’s essential to maintain a balance between their professional and educational life. 

For instance, a university that offers you the option to pursue an online degree would be a better choice for working adults than one that requires you to clock in a fixed number of hours on the campus every day. 

School reputation – Browse through reviews, ratings, and testimonials from past students to get a better sense of the quality of the community college in mind. Also, look at school rankings and talk to the alumni while doing your research. 

Credit transfer policy – If you have earned college credits from any previous academic endeavor, find a degree program that accepts some or all of them. This will help you save time, effort, and money. 

Cost of learning – The annual cost of your college courses and classes is an important consideration, too. Make sure you look at the various tuition, fees, textbooks, and transportation costs involved. You can also look into what kind of financial aid the college offers. 

Duration of the degree program – Ideally, you want to finish off your degree program as quickly as possible. The longer the duration of your degree, the higher the cost of your learning will be. Look for accelerated degree program options and bachelor’s degree programs that you can complete in quick time.

Why Online Programs Are a Good Option for Working Adults

We are seeing a rise in the number of working adults going back to college to pursue or complete their associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, and master’s degree programs, and for a good reason. Going back to college is a great way for adult learners to complete their education. Online degree programs offer working adults an opportunity to do the same. 

online programs for working adults


Online degree programs are accessible 24/7, 365 days a year. This means that you can study around your daily schedule and access online courses from any corner of the world. For adults, this is ideal for taking care of their other obligations. Online programs allow you to study at your own pace and complete the online courses in smaller chunks. 

Career Opportunities 

You can effectively enhance your resume to compete for better positions and pay with your current employer (or at another company). Online programs enable you to reinvent yourself in your existing career or even make a career change. As is the case with any profession, having a solid education in the form of a degree can help you stand out from the competition. 

No Accommodation or Travel Costs 

Students spend an enormous amount of money on housing and commute when they go to a regular college. An online degree allows you to save time and money by learning from anywhere and at any time. You can study at home, at work, or even on the go. 

Scholarships for Adult Working Students 

Federal grants, scholarships, and honor societies for adult students, military veterans, and women pursuing technical or vocational education and associate degrees help you complete your education. 

Apart from the hundreds of financial aid options, scholarships, and grants you are likely to find online, here are three reliable options you can choose from:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  • State-specific grant programs
At New England Tech, we provide adult college students with expert guidance so you can take complete advantage of the financial aid resources available to you from various federal, state, or private programs. We assist you with completing your FAFSA application and selecting the right options to pay for your education.

Why Choose NEIT?  

Many adult students choose to study at New England Tech because we are known as a leader in technical career education. Based in Southeastern New England, Rhode Island, NEIT is a private university that offers various associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree program options. 

why choose NEIT

We also offer some of the best online degrees for working adults, making sure to cater to their unique needs. Here’s a quick look at some other benefits of studying at the New England Institute of Technology.

  • The institute boasts of a solid team of faculty members who are domain experts.
  • We offer flexible, fully online classes and online courses across various degree program options.
  • We provide wide-ranging career services to help you get internships and employment.
  • NEIT is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
  • Many of our programs maintain individual accreditation, too.

NEIT delivers its online degrees for working adults in four formats:

  • Fully online degrees
  • Weekend classes
  • Evening classes (day options available for individuals who work at night)
  • Hybrid online/on-campus (weekends or short residencies on campus per year)

The online programs have classes that start in October, January, March, and July for added convenience. Working adults find NEIT to be the perfect launchpad to earn a degree and make a substantial career progression.

Learn more about how NEIT helps students achieve their career goals and aspirations with its online program offerings and career services. Take a look at our degree program options for adults and working professionals.


Earn your degree from NEIT and begin your new career path today!





Can I go to college at 40?

Of course, you can! If you have left college before graduating or didn’t enroll in a degree program after completing high school, now is a great time to do so, irrespective of age. Many adults, non-traditional students, and working professionals take to online programs for completing their education. 

What is a good degree for an older person?

Choosing a career path involves self-assessment along with a good understanding of what will serve you well in the years to come, especially for working adults. 

You have many options even if you look at only technical careers, from architecture, design, engineering, automotive, information technology, digital media, nursing, and health sciences, to veterinary technology.

Should I quit my job to go to school full time?

You can go to college without having to leave your regular job. Several colleges, including the New England Institute of Technology, offer wide-ranging options for non-traditional students and working adults. 

We offer our associate degree programs and bachelor’s degree programs online (or in a hybrid model), so you can complete your courses without having to be on the college campus.

Apply for working professional degrees and graduate in less than 2 years.