Johnson State Expands Programs, Course Delivery for Adults Seeking to Complete Bachelor's Degree Online or Off Campus
Adult learners throughout Vermont who are seeking to complete a bachelor's degree now may choose from new programs and flexible course formats through the External Degree Program (EDP) of Johnson State College.
The award-winning program — which offers online courses and weekend classes in four Vermont communities to students entering with 60 college credits or more — now provides a direct pathway to graduate study at Vermont Law School; a certificate program to prepare people for CPA licensure; new programs in wellness and alternative medicine, accounting, and other business concentrations; and accelerated courses that can be completed in half a semester or two full weekends.
EDP Degree Options
Six bachelor's degree programs are offered statewide through EDP:
Business (B.A.), with concentrations in accounting, hospitality and tourism management, management, marketing, and sport management;
Childhood Education (B.A.), offering dual licensure endorsement in elementary and special education;
Interdisciplinary Studies (B.A.), a self-designed option enabling students to combine multiple interests into a unique program of study;
Professional Studies (B.A.), a self-designed program with focus areas in business, wellness and alternative medicine, human services, communications, marketing and other career specialties;
Psychology (B.A.); and
Wellness & Alternative Medicine (B.S.)
Two programs — business and professional studies — are available entirely online. Additional degree options are available to students who can take classes on the JSC campus in Johnson.
From EDP to Vermont Law School
EDP students are eligible to apply for a new program that prepares them for graduate study at Vermont Law School (VLS) and, upon enrollment in a VLS master's or law degree program, provides an annual scholarship of up to $15,000. They may enroll in the master's program in environmental law and policy, the master's program in energy regulation and law, or, with the appropriate LSAT score, in the accelerated or three-year juris doctor (J.D.) program.
EDP Certificate of Proficiency in Accounting
A new Certificate of Proficiency in Accounting offered through EDP enables students to meet new state licensure requirements for accountants and take the CPA (certified public accountant) exam.
"It used to be that a bachelor's degree and two years of experience were all you needed to become a licensed accountant and sit for the national CPA exam, but starting this July, accountants will need 150 credits — 30 more than what is required for a bachelor's degree — and 42 of those credits will have to be in accounting-related courses," explains Henrique Cezar, associate professor and chair of the Business & Economics Department at JSC. "One way to get those credits would be to enroll in a master's or Ph.D. program, but that's an expensive and demanding route for people who simply want to become a licensed accountant or CPA. These are the people for whom we developed the certificate program."
Flexible Course Formats
EDP classes are offered online, in class on weekends in four Vermont communities (Montpelier, Rutland, St. Albans or Winooski) or through a combination of online and in-class sessions, enabling adults to fit courses into their schedules as needed. There are full-semester courses; intensive "Winterim" courses completed in just two weekends in class between the fall and spring semesters; and now accelerated, half-semester courses taught both in class and online.
The half-semester format is a new option that begins with the fall 2014 semester. "It appeals to students who want to take two courses but focus on only one at a time — so they can take one course, finish that, then focus on another," explains EDP Co-Director David Cavanagh.
Credit for Prior Learning
EDP students can receive college credit for work and life experience through the "Assessment of Prior Learning" course offered in conjunction with the Community College of Vermont. Credits may be awarded for knowledge and skills learned on the job, in the military, through volunteer work and more. Students also may take standardized tests to obtain credit.
"The hallmark of EDP is that it's incredibly flexible," EDP Co-Director Valerie Edwards says. "Many of our students attended college for one or two years, then needed to leave college to start working and raise a family. EDP allows them to return to school — while keeping their jobs and dealing with family commitments — and obtain the college degree that is so important in today's economy."
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2013 show that American workers with bachelor's degrees earn an average of $1,100 a week compared to $777 for those with associate's degrees and $651 for those with only high school diplomas. Similarly, unemployment for those with bachelor's degrees was 4 percent, compared to 5.4 percent (associate's degrees) and 7.5 percent (high school diplomas).
For more information about EDP, visit www.jsc.edu/EDP or contact the JSC Admissions Office at 800-635-2356.