It's never too late to learn something new. And for older adults looking for a change, going back to school may be a smart decision.
Why? Because "a return to school keeps older workers up-to-date and
relevant," says Debra Davenport, founder and executive director of The
Davenport Institute, a certified firm that advises on career and
In fact, community colleges are now creating or expanding campus
programs to engage the 50 plus population in learning, training, or
re-training. This is in large part thanks to the Plus 50 Initiative, a
program created in 2008 by the American Association of Community
And it makes sense that community colleges are targeting older
students, with the number of students age 35 or older projected to grow
22 percent between 2008 and 2019, according to the National Center for
What's driving older students back to school? "Many of the [older]
students returning to community colleges are seeking skill updating,"
says Mary Sue Vickers, director of the Plus 50 Initiative.
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Vickers adds that older students may return because they've
discovered they need to work longer given the recent recession, they
lost a job, or they want to finish a degree program to remain
competitive in the workplace.
But for older students, the hardest part about going back to school
may be deciding what degree to pursue. However, Davenport says that
popular career choices among her older clients include psychology,
counseling, social work, nursing, consulting, coaching, and teaching,
among many others.