A life experience degree is a degree that is given based on your work experience and qualifications rather than taking courses at a traditional university. Your work skills, previous educations, employment history and job training are all taken into account and evaluated for their equivalency to a college degree. Most life experience degrees are available online. However, be on the look out for diploma mills and scams and make sure you get your life experience degree from an accredited university.
While each university has its own evaluation for life experience degrees, most use a one-for-one credit. That is, one year working equates to one year in a college program. However, some universities equate one and half years of work to one year in college and other programs require proof of your other work qualifications. Universities may also require individuals to take online courses to make up for any deficiencies in order to receive life experience degrees.
Not every university that offers a life experience degree has accreditation from the Canada department of education. Some universities only require you pay the necessary fee. To get a degree that is universally recognized, make sure the university and course you are applying for are accredited. Many professionals have had legal issues when it was found that their life experience degrees were not from accredited programs. In particular, make sure the program is regionally accredited and that the government recognizes the degree.
Types of Degrees
It is possible to receive any type of degree as a life experience degree. This includes associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and doctorates. However, the life experience degree is not available in all fields of study. Life experience degrees can be found in human resources, culinary arts, public administration, engineering, computer sciences, management and drafting.
The time it takes to receive your life experience degree will depend on the university and your qualifications. If you have sufficient work experience, skills, knowledge and qualifications then it can take as little as two days to receive a life experience degree. However, if you require additional qualifications or have not met all the equivalency for the program then it can take several additional years. Assessment depends on the university as you may be required to provide additional certifications and transcripts.
Liz Tomas began writing professionally in 2004. Her work has appeared in the "American Journal of Enology and Viticulture," "BMC Genomics" and "PLoS Biology." She holds a Master of Science in food science from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from the University of New Hampshire. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in oenology at Lincoln University.