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Why Get a Degree After Age 50

Updated on February 25, 2014

Life after 50 can be a time for experimentation and learning, exploring new career directions and rediscovering past interests. For many it is not a time to sit back, slow down and wait for retirement. It is a time for rejuvenation, exploration, discovering the real you. They say that 50 is the new 30. Wow!

With that in mind, 50 plus employees have come to realize that learning is a lifelong process and there are many ways to pursue it. Some examples are attending a workshop, joining a discussion group or just plain going back to school to get a degree.

In today's job market, many employers are actively recruiting senior workers. Why? They are dependable, which means they will pretty much come to work everyday. Many of them are about to become empty nesters. This means there won't be a lot of time off needed for sick kids, field trips, FMLA (maternity leaves), etc. They are mature from their life experiences which can be a big asset in the workforce. They will help balance out the Gen X & Ys.

There are also medical reasons to keep learning. Brain research shows that we continue to grow new brain cells well into old age. Learning new things keeps your mind sharp. Studies have shown that people who stay mentally active by reading, taking courses and learning new skills at work, have better memories well into their senior years .

What are some education and continued learning options?

Community Resources:

  • The local Y. Many offer instruction in computers, art and sign language
  • Hospitals. Hospitals offer health-related classes to the community.
  • SeniorNet. Supports 200 programs around the country that help seniors over age 50 learn computers and the Internet.

What about certification and degrees?

  • Certification. Some skilled professions, such as hairdressing and auto mechanics, are taught at community colleges or technical schools. Make sure the school is accredited and licensed.
  • Associate's degree. For some positions, you will need an associate's degree, which, in most cases, you will earn after completing about 20 classes. Typically, students will earn an associate's degree from a two-year community college.
  • Bachelor's degree. Four-year colleges or universities award a bachelor of arts or science degree to students who complete about 40 classes. Many employers require their employees to hold a bachelor's degree.
  • Advanced degree. Advanced degrees, including master's degrees, are awarded for completing a program of study beyond the requirements of a bachelor's degree.
  • Don't forget about Distance Learning. Distance learning programs are another way to learn. It can take place on the Internet with students and instructors exchanging assignments through email and online forums. This is a great alternative if you have a busy schedule

If you are over 50, have a desire to continue your education, but not sure which direction to go, start looking for opportunities at your local community college or university. You may find information on continuing education courses offered.

The over 50 learner is a great role model for children and grandchildren . Getting a degree after age 50 shows that you value education and that is an important lesson to pass on to later generations.


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    • Babbyii profile image

      Barb Johnson 2 years ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      Very useful information. Totally agree with being a good role model for the grandkids. Good for them to know that grand parents continue to learn too. Thanks!

    • Evans4life profile image

      Evans4life 5 years ago

      Whydthathappen: you are so right- never too late! I love the saying.

    • profile image

      WhydThatHappen 5 years ago

      Never too late to educate! Ty for sharing JThomp42

    • Evans4life profile image

      Evans4life 5 years ago

      Jason: thanks for reading- I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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      jasontoheal 5 years ago

      Awesome stuff.

    • Evans4life profile image

      Evans4life 5 years ago

      Thanks Good Lady! Looking forward to linking with you!

    • Evans4life profile image

      Evans4life 5 years ago

      Thanks Ruby: Some people get depressed or don't look forward to 50, but life can take on new meaning and direction.

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 5 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      Good to know, thanks, many will love this information. AARP has lots of good stuff I am looking forward to. Soon the day will come to check out