Date of Award


Degree Name

Educational Leadership


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dennis M. Anderson

Second Advisor

Barbara Nicholson

Third Advisor

Teresa Eagle

Fourth Advisor

Robert Bickel

Fifth Advisor

Andrew Sikula Sr.


As continuing education divisions of college’s noncredit programs assume a greater role to help develop workforce job skills, it is important to understand what factors affect student persistence. There have been no studies on nontraditional student persistence in noncredit information technology training programs. This study examined non-traditional students enrolled in noncredit information technology (IT) programs in the Advantage Valley Consortium in the state of West Virginia. The study was conducted to determine if the demographic factors that were identified in the literature as adversely affecting non-traditional students pursuing credit programs of study also affected students enrolled in noncredit IT programs of study. The survey population (n=176) consisted of noncredit IT students who had attended Marshall Community and Technical College, West Virginia State Community and Technical College, and West Virginia University Technical Community and Technical College during the years 2000 through 2005.

There was no statistically significant correlation between the background demographics of age, family situation, level of family support, financial aid needs and previous educational attainment to persistence in their noncredit IT program of study. The primary factor that affected student persistence in their IT program was an unexpected illness. Respondents further indicated that, contrary to the literature, students did not receive a direct economic benefit from completing their IT program. A low number of students reported that they had taken an IT industry certification exam, which does not support literature that indicated that IT certifications would be the primary objective of noncredit students since industry certifications are critical for workers to demonstrate their skills and knowledge, and generally result in higher salaries.


Information technology - Study and teaching.

Information technology - Certification.