Online Degrees: Now a Legitimate Option for Your Education
Online degrees availability from accredited institutions has exploded over the past 5 years or so. Previously, online degrees were viewed by suspicion by many employers, as many fly-by-night online degree programs sprang up solely to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers. Thankfully, these type of programs are being exposed, and legitimate educational institutions are offering more and more online degree programs. Online degree programs are now being offered by such revered and well-respected educational institutions such as Harvard University. The stigma that online degrees previously had has faded over time.
If you are considering going into an online program, make sure that you conduct some informational interviews with prospective employer’s to feel out their positions on online degrees. For many, if not most employers, it will not be an issue at all., but it always pays to do your homework before shelling out the expense of tuition and books. If you have more than one prospective employer state that they would not hire someone holding a degree from an online institution, it’s far better to know that going into the game.
Do Your Homework
The beauty of online courses is that you can study on your own time, take as many courses as you feel able to complete at one time and keep your present job. Attending college classes full-time is a serious financial commitment; one that has become an increasing luxury for many. In addition to the expense of tuition and textbooks, the expense incurred to commute to a distant college campus can put higher education out of reach for many. By having your classes as close as your laptop you can save considerable money.
If you work full-time, then the online degree option is a lifesaver. Instead of taking a full course load, you can just take one or two classes that you can complete the during your downtime. This enables you to keep an income coming in, keeping a roof over your family’s head and food on the table while you are going to school. Having the option to complete your degree requirements online while you are employed full-time may also allow you to avoid going into the deep debt trap that many students seem to fall into.
For parents of young children, having the ability to complete their degrees online is nothing short of a godsend. Daycare costs can be prohibitive, especially for anyone who has cut back their work hours to attend classes. Having the ability to study while your child attends pre-school, or even while they nap can make all the difference between being able to complete their degree requirements and earn a higher salary or being stuck in a dead end job for the rest of their lives.
Myths About Online Degrees
Many people have the mistaken belief that completing a degree online is much easier academically than completing classes in a traditional post-secondary institution. This cannot be further from the truth. In fact, the academic requirements for online degrees can be even more rigorous than traditional degree programs.
This is because, in a traditional program, the professor can ask a series of quick oral questions to ensure that his or her students are understanding the information being presented in the lesson plan. An online college instructor does not have this luxury, so there are usually even more assignments to complete, or there will be mandatory participation in discussion groups required to complete course requirements.
The number of, and demand for, online degree programs has exploded. Nearly any traditional degree that you could ever imagine has an online counterpart. Online degrees are now available from accredited post-secondary institutions in at least ten different countries, including Australia, Canada, the UK, the U.S., Germany, and Japan, among other nations.
Available Online Degrees Programs
A small sample of available programs for both continuing education and degree programs include:
- Computer Science
- Liberal Arts
Masters Degrees Online
In addition to the four-year programs offered by many colleges, online degrees may be granted in associates’ degree programs and even Master’s degree programs. The online Master’s degree program is a great option for working professionals who want additional opportunities to move up the career ladder. An example of some such Master’s degree programs offered are:
- Master’s Degree in Accounting
- Master’s Degree in Business
- Master’s Degree in Education
- Master’s Degree in Management
- Master’s Degree in Health Care Management
- Post Grad Master’s in Registered Nursing
- Master’s Degree in Psychology
- Master’s Degree in Nurse Administration
Drawbacks to Completing Your Degree Online
A major drawback to completing a degree entirely online can be loneliness and a sense of isolation. One of the best parts about being a student is the camaraderie and cooperation you receive from other students. Forming study groups really help at exam time, but the online degree student does not have that luxury. Without immediate feedback from the professor and other students, it can be difficult at times to know if you are really doing well in a course or not. In cases like this, it takes real willpower and determination to keep going and complete your degree program.
If you can arrange it, and distance is not too prohibitive, it’s great to arrange some meetup sessions with your fellow online students. You might enjoy getting together for some study sessions before midterm and end-of-term exams, or perhaps get together to brainstorm ideas for a term paper or project. You will feel less isolated, and more part of a “real” school.
There is an Online Program That’s Right for You
No matter what your age is, whether or not you work full-time, or are a full time parent, there is an online degree program out there that is exactly right for your budget, your interests and your career goals. More now than ever, options exist to complete your degree or certification program at home on your own downtime. All you need is a good, reliable internet connection, a laptop computer and an awful lot of stick-to-itiveness and determination. You can complete that degree, get the training you need and qualify for the career of your dreams. Don’t let a hectic schedule or lack of a babysitter keep you from completing your goals. There are online degrees for every interest and budget, so go get yours!