Non-traditional degree programs: Students with careers in mind
As a traditional student who graduated from a non-traditional degree program, and who has gone on to excel as a male professional working in a predominantly female field, I have a strong appreciation for the education I received.
My name is Kullen Bailey and I completed the Radiologic Technology program here at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, in 2014. I am full-time faculty at FM and the clinical coordinator in the Radiologic Technology program. In addition, I am employed as a per-diem X-ray and CT scan technologist at both St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam and Ellis Hospital in Schenectady.
My brother, Kettrick Bailey, also chose a career in a predominantly female field and graduated from FM’s nursing program in 2018. He currently works full-time at St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam as a registered nurse.
What is a non-traditional student? Those who enroll one or more years after graduating from high school or those who attend college on a part-time basis are considered non-traditional. The National Center for Education Statistics informs that a non-traditional student is typically characterized by their age. These students are those that are over the age of 18, and that did not attend a post-secondary educational institution directly out of high school.
Non-traditional students also tend to balance more on their plates than just an education. In addition to attending college later in life, non-traditional students could also be responsible for family obligations, work responsibilities and other life conditions that can intrude with a student’s ability to complete educational outcomes and objectives.
What about students attending a non-traditional career degree program? Non-traditional career programs lead to students entering the workforce in occupations in which one gender comprises less than 25 percent of the current workforce. Some examples of fields that are considered to be non-traditional for women include science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) occupations, IT/cybersecurity, electrical technology, criminal justice, construction, manufacturing and transportation. Examples of fields that are considered to be non-traditional for men include education, health services and human services.
What makes a student entering a non-traditional degree program so important? These students are potential employees that will be in high demand. Additionally, non-traditional careers offer higher wage potential and benefits that contribute to family economic self-sufficiency.
Women have been known to double their income in occupations traditionally held by men. Additionally, workforce diversity leads to innovation and global economic competitiveness. Most importantly, a student choosing a career based on skills and interests leads to higher career satisfaction. There’s nothing better than being happy at your job.
The moral of the story is that students shouldn’t be intimidated or hold themselves back from entering a career field that they are truly interested in and where they see themselves being successful. Students should be entering degree programs where their skills and unique talents can be used to their highest potential — regardless of gender barriers and bias. The ultimate goal is for a student to enter a career field where they can utilize the degree(s) that they worked so hard to earn and enjoy going to work every day in a field that they love.
As for my brother and me, we are both very happy with our career choices and grateful for the solid educational foundation that FM provided us through our non-traditional degree programs. We couldn’t be happier working in a field as rewarding as the healthcare field.
This article was written by Kullen Bailey, an instructor and clinical coordinator in the radiologic technology program at FM. Co-authored by Daniel Fogarty, an admissions counselor at FM.