Funnily enough, college credits are not accumulated simply through attending courses at a college, whether in person or online. Of course, that’s the main avenue for earning college credits, but you can also accumulate credits in other ways, which include Advanced Placement (AP) classes taken in high school and self-study exams such as CLEP, DSST, and UExcel tests. If you have some college credits you gained either at college or in other ways, but do not have a degree, here are some ways in which you could make use of them.
The first and most obvious way you can use your existing college credits is to put them towards a bachelor’s degree. If your credits are all in the same subject area—for instance, if you took AP Biology and AP Chemistry in high school and then attended a Calculus class at your local community college—you could look for a four-year college or university that will let you use these credits towards a Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences or a similar program.
If, however, you have college credits in disparate subject areas, don’t worry: you can use them to study for an online Interdisciplinary Studies degree, which will allow you to concentrate on two or three different disciplines and will result in either a Bachelor’s of Art or a Bachelor’s of Science qualification, depending on the subjects you choose.
Although AP classes and CLEP, DSST, and UExcel tests are primarily designed to provide you with college credit, they are also a great way to show an employer that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to do a particular job.
For example, you may have taken a DSST test in Introduction to Business while you were in high school or in a previous position, and showing your qualification to your current employer might help you gain a promotion to a manager or assistant manager role, as many of the skills you would need in such a role are covered by the DSST Introduction to Business curriculum.
Many people get bitten by the entrepreneurship bug at some point in their lives, whether it be after a disappointing first employment experience, when they are nearing retirement age, or at any time in between.
If you feel like you would like to become your own boss but are not sure which field to go into, it might help you to think back to the courses and exams you have taken over the years and remind yourself of which subjects and skills you were best at and enjoyed the most.
While having taken one class in Fundamentals of Nursing at your local community college twenty years ago won’t make you an expert in the healthcare field, the fact that you enjoyed the subject and got a good grade at the end of the class might suggest that you shouldn’t rule out starting a pharmaceutical supplies manufacturing company, for instance.