Millennials are Craving Continuing Education

Characterized as being the first born into the digital world dominated by internet and social media, millennials—those born between 1982 and 2004—are thus far the largest defined generation in American history. Also known as “Generation Y,” millennials are also the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in history and are dubbed as being more progressive-minded politically than their predecessors.

A study released in June 2016 by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association, Penn State and Pearson revealed that millennial students are more likely now than ever to favor an educational system based on certifications and badging rather than traditional bachelor’s degrees. While bachelor’s degrees are reputable credentials, millennials are seeing the benefits that continuing education certifications now offer in terms of the diversity of course offerings, detailed specializations and abridged path from education to career.

Another benefit of continuing education over traditional degree programs that millennials are now touting is the cost. With millions of students plagued by student loan debt, continuing education programs generally offer a less expensive alternative than the four-year degree system. With a lower price tag and the opportunity for higher specialization, non-credit continuing education courses are looking better and better to millennials.

While many employers still prefer candidates who have earned degrees and boast experience, continuing education as a complement to degree programs is becoming increasingly popular among educational institutions and employers themselves. According to research from the University of North Carolina, millennials will make up nearly half (46 percent) of the workforce by 2020. From a hiring standpoint, that means major employers should be anticipating what it will take to attract millennials as an increasing number of them enter the workforce in the next decade. With studies showing that millennials are craving continuing education, companies focusing on the development and offering of these types resources within the workplace may have the advantage as the workforce evolves.

The University of West Alabama recently launched an all-new online-based continuing education program that is open to anyone with an internet connection. The program’s non-credit courses do not require any prerequisites and are accessible online!

To learn more about UWA Online’s Continuing Education offerings, visit!


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