By Margaret Justus
Carol Caldwell For more than a decade, Carol Caldwell worked in lower-level HR and accounting positions for a Houston utility pole company but always wanted more. While the 48-year-old wife, mother of three and grandmother of 11 loved her job and the company, promotion opportunities were beyond her grasp for one small fact: she lacked a college degree.
At that time, Carol’s hands were more than full. Her husband of 12 years was battling throat cancer and her terminally ill uncle had just moved in with them, leaving Carol to work full-time and care for her family’s medical needs. Despite these life challenges, Carol was determined to advance her career and find a way to get her bachelor’s degree.
After researching degree opportunities, Carol enrolled in WGU Texas’ B.S. Human Resource Management program because she needed an affordable university that offered flexibility and was well-respected by employers.
“Direct, personal interaction with faculty is one of the primary reasons that an online degree program from WGU Texas was the right choice for me as a full-time working parent,” she said. “I could have earned my degree at a traditional university and instead I selected to earn my degree online in a connected and supported environment that has enriched my education and will serve me well in my career.”
In March 2015, Carol completed her bachelor’s degree in HR Management and declared to her grandchildren, “it is never too late to go back to school and it is never too late to succeed.”
“WGU helped me juggle it all. I was able to continue my full-time job, care for my husband’s and uncle’s medical needs and press forward with my educational goals,” she said. Although her elderly uncle passed away, her husband is cancer-free today.
Carol received raises while attending WGU Texas and a promotion to an executive assistant position serving the company’s upper management. Today, she manages 27 employees and deals with HR matters on a daily basis. “Human capital is one of the most important resources in any business,” she said. “It is part of my job to retain good people and serve as their advocate. The HR program at WGU Texas armed me with ample knowledge, helped me pass my PHR certification, and has advanced my earning power as well.”
WGU Texas was a good fit for Carol, because the nonprofit program is considerably less costly than other online universities. Degree programs at WGU Texas are approximately $6,000 a year. Tuition is a flat-rate fee, so students may complete as many courses as they are able in any term at no additional cost.
For Carol, she was able to complete several courses quickly because of the skills and knowledge she had already gained with her HR background.
“I loved my experience with WGU Texas and the many resources provided within the courses, as well as the ease of interacting with the faculty mentors. I recommend the university to anyone, especially working adults who want to further their career,” she said.
All of WGU’s programs, including the B.S. Human Resource Management program, are developed with input from industry business leaders, so students are well prepared with relevant knowledge and skills that future employers seek. Employers also know that a WGU Texas graduate has proven their mastery of material will add value to the organization.
The HR degree program is ideal for future leaders in the HR world and lays the groundwork for those seeking a position as a human resource manager or a personnel director. The curriculum consists of 12 balanced areas of study, development of a comprehensive portfolio, WGU competency-based assessments, and a capstone project. In addition, the program prepares students for the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) Certification Exam and the Assurance of Learning Exam should students decide to pursue these on their own.
When it comes to preparing for a career in human resources or business management, the WGU Texas B.S. Human Resource Management program is a sound choice. It certainly was for Carol Caldwell, along with hundreds of other recent WGU Texas business school graduates who took a leap of faith, saved thousands of dollars on tuition costs, and are bettering their lives both personally and professionally.