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Deciding On Your Education

If you have decided on continuing education, there are some factors you need to take into consideration when choosing which school and program to enroll in. Once you have applied to school, whether a college, university, or an alternative institution, you may be faced with multiple acceptance. Before choosing your program, you should first assess your personal learning goals and the learning styles that you prefer. Are you pursuing higher education out of personal interest or for professional development?

Answers to these questions can help to determine the type of learning program that is best suited for your education. Below are some factors to consider when making your decision on the type of program and education that is best for you.


School Credibility

When deciding on which education program to pursue, it is important to consider the accreditation of a particular school. You may come across advertisements for programs offered by educational institutions that you have never heard of. Checking the accreditation of an institution will help you to determine if the school offers a legitimate curriculum as well as how a certificate or degree from that institution might be viewed by the educational community or future employers.

Accredited schools and programs, including online accredited degrees, undergo an inspection process by a national accreditation authority, and will meet certain criteria regarding courses, faculty, graduation requirements, and facilities where applicable. The admissions office or student advising centre can provide you with information regarding a school’s accreditation.


Choosing Between Certificate and Degree Programs

Being aware of long-term goals regarding your career and education is key to making the decision between a certificate and program. In most cases, a degree program will require more course work than a certificate program.

Associate’s degrees or technical certification may be offered by two-year institutions and provide career education in fields such as web design, culinary arts, and software training.

Four-year programs typically lead to Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degrees. Many of these institutions (usually colleges and universities) will accept transfer credits from introductory classes completed at community colleges. This option can provide financial aid, as tuition costs are comparatively reduced at these institutions.

Accelerated degree programs offer returning adult students with previous college education an opportunity to complete their bachelor’s or master’s degree at a faster rate and may involve evening classes or classes on weekends. These programs are suited for motivated, working, as well as independent individuals.


Vocational and Trade Schools

If you have already decided on a specific career that you wish to pursue, you may be required to attend a specific school in order to gain appropriate career education. Some careers that require this type of training include cosmetology, executive assistantship, nursing, and legal secretarial work. Schools and programs that typically offer this focused training include Business, Technology, Vocational, and Trade Schools.

Some nursing education programs require some previous university or college education, and may be offered in affiliation with major hospitals.


Distance Learning and Low Residency

Distance learning refers to any educational program offering courses that may be completed without attending a school campus. This may include lectures in the form of multimedia presentations such as VHS or Internet Teleconferencing, as well as online education including lessons sent through e-mail once completed.

Low Residency programs offer a relative distance learning education in that they involve a brief series of on-campus lectures and seminars that can range from a few days to a week. The majority of course work is otherwise completed remotely. In recent years, this adult education option has been gaining popularity at many accredited colleges and universities in the United States.


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