Online Degrees Can Be an Accessible Career Investment

By Psquared - January 23, 2020

About 25 years ago, getting an education online wasn’t even remotely an option. When web-based programs became more widely available, online degrees started getting a bad rap because not all providers were reliable or had proper credentials. Nowadays, accredited, highly regarded colleges and institutions are offering programs to students of all ages, studying near or far from campus.

Looking into reputable online degrees might be your ticket to affordable education, making this an accessible investment for your career. Here’s what you need to know about online degrees and if one’s right for you:

Online education is on the rise, increasing by more than 7% for public colleges and universities from 2015-2016, according to research conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group. More than 3 million higher-education students enrolled in online programs in the fall semester of 2017. One-third of all students had taken at least one online course, according to data from 2018 provided by The National Center for Education Statistics. Those numbers are only increasing.

This virtual schooling option allows access to all students no matter where they actually live. The flexibility students find around time is also a huge appeal for online courses. Scheduling conflicts with face-to-face programs exclude many students who simultaneously study and work daytime hours. Resources found through this site will point you in the right direction! Studying on your terms, anytime, anywhere, is a huge plus to consider!

A large number of international students are taking online courses and graduating from online programs but still only account for less than 1% of all students. The majority of students enrolled online at public colleges or universities live within the state where their institution is actually located.

Besides flexibility with time and location, online education is quite similar to completing a degree on campus and in person. Professors tend to deliver their traditional lectures via videos that are accessible at any time. Communication with teachers and fellow learners occurs online and can happen through email and course forums.

Costs are also something to consider when choosing between online and on-site education options. Some institutions charge per credit or per online course whereas others charge a flat rate for the entire degree. Additional considerations must be made for the cost of living remotely versus living on campus, available financial aid for online education, and whether or not you’ll have access to on-campus resources such as libraries, in-person meetings with resource personnel, etc. A bonus of online degrees? You don’t have to pay extra commuting costs or spend a cent on parking! And we all know time is money so saving on the commute time (=zero) is considered a huge advantage for many students weighing in.

As long as you’ve checked whether your preferred educational institution holds the proper credentials and the online programs are adequately accredited, you’re good to go! Accreditation for undergraduate and graduate-level programs are similar across schools. The curriculum is often standardized and the syllabus has to meet similar criteria.

U.S. News has been publishing rankings of the best online programs for the last 9 years and has just made public its 2020 list. Some notable colleges and universities that provide high-quality online degrees include Ohio State University- Columbus, The University of Illinois- Chicago, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the University of Southern California. Top employers across the nation are looking for graduates from these high-level programs to make a difference in the workplace.