What would you do if your employer introduced a new policy requiring a bachelor’s degree for you to get promoted? You’d probably look at your options for going back to school. You’d try to find a college that would get you the credential and skills you needed quickly without all the fluff courses and lessons you didn’t need.
That’s exactly what Sam Rennix did, and he discovered that Peirce College’s competency-based education (CBE) IT degree was the most direct path to a college degree.
Taking Only the Courses He Needs
Sam is an IT professional with Penn Medicine, and he knew it was time to return to college when Penn began requiring bachelor’s degrees for employees wanting to move into more advanced positions. Now Sam is looking forward to advancing his career after he finally completes his bachelor’s degree.
“It’ll be a nice thing to have when I’m 39, and it’s always kind of been a cloud hanging over me,” he says. “I never finished school – I did get pretty close, but I never wrapped it up and got a specific degree. It’ll be pretty nice to have my bachelor’s degree, and then I can continue to progress up the career ladder.”
Peirce’s competency-based education degree allows Sam to leverage the IT skills and knowledge he already has by taking final exams to prove his competency and earn credits as soon as he’s ready. What’s more, students can also receive credit for previous industry certifications earned and/or college courses completed. So instead of spending a lot of time on ancillary and lower-level courses, CBE students are able to focus on the skills they actually need to succeed in their career.
"the knowledge I’ve acquired has been helpful in my day-to-day job"
“It’s been great so far as I’ve been taking classes that I need to take,” says Sam.
“It’s all been very oriented around the degree I’m going for and what I do professionally. All the knowledge I’ve acquired has been helpful in my day-to-day job and helped me understand how things work in the background and the infrastructure of our system on top of just working toward my degree.
“So, I would say the classes themselves are high-quality [and relevant]. They’re very specific to what I need to learn, and that’s what I like about that. I didn’t like when I [previously] went to regular college you had to do basket weaving and stuff just to take credits.”
On top of avoiding basket weaving and focusing on learning career-related IT competencies, Sam is able to move through the program at his own pace because CBE students can earn as many college credits as they’re able to per session for one flat fee. For that reason, Sam’s advice to anyone thinking about earning their IT degree through Peirce’s competency-based education program is not to procrastinate.
“You have 12 weeks in your course. Don’t wait until week nine to get going because you have the freedom to do that,” he says. “You’ll end up stressed out and fall behind.”
To that end, Sam is hoping to earn extra college credits during 2017 and complete his degree in Information Technology with a concentration in Networking, Administration and Information Security. He’s off to a good start after knocking out seven credits during the first semester in the program.
Going forward, Sam hopes to earn 15 credits per 12-week session while still working full time at Penn. And not a single one of those credits will have anything to do with weaving baskets.