It’s a growing trend for baby boomers to return to college or enroll for the first time. “At 78 million strong, the baby boomer generation is bringing a surge of older students to campus,” states the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in its March 2013 report “Plus 50 Students: Tapping Into a Growing Market.
Thousands of Baby Boomers Going Back to School
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), individuals 55 years and older are projected to increasingly make up a larger proportion of the workforce. By 2002, this age group made up 14.3% of the labor force; by 2012 they made up 20.9%; by 2022 this percentage is expected to increase to 25.6%.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ The Editor’s Desk: “Share of labor force projected to rise for people age 55 and over and fall for younger age groups”; January 24, 2014
Some baby boomers are enrolling in college as retirees to explore new interests for the intrinsic value of learning. But others are doing it out of necessity—either to expand their skills for their current vocation or to start a completely new career because theirs has been phased out or they do not have a retirement nest egg.
Plus 50 Encore Completion Program
According to the AACC, community colleges are especially appealing to mature students: the number of 40 and over aged students attending community college has doubled in the last decade and it is expected this rate will increase. “Community colleges provide access to convenient, affordable learning opportunities that make these students more competitive and can lead to jobs in high-demand fields,” stated AACC president, Dr. Walter C. Bumphus, as quoted in the March 2013 report.
The AACC administers the Plus 50 Encore Completion Program which works with participating community colleges to develop courses, degrees and certificates that are applicable and beneficial to students that are 50 and older. As of November 2013, 100 colleges are participating in the program.
Fields of Study
In 2012, the AACC mandated that in the next few years it would help 10,000 individuals aged 50 and over earn degrees and certificates that equated to employment, in such career fields “that give back to the community”, i.e.in healthcare, education and social services.
Some of the programs being offered by the Plus 50 Encore colleges lead to careers such as diagnostic medical sonographer, pharmacy technician, clinical laboratory assistant, medical records professional, dental assistant, home healthcare provider and other healthcare, as well as education and social service, professions.
You can find out more about Plus 50 Community Colleges at: plus50.aacc.nche.edu
If you are specifically interested in a training to become an ultrasound professional, or a similar career in healthcare, you can visit our allied health career & school directory.