If you are thinking about enrolling in a degree program at a college or university, you may be wondering if you should pursue an online degree. With today’s fast-paced lifestyle it can sometimes be quite difficult to find the time to attend classes at a traditional institution. Online learning may provide you with a quicker and more flexible way in which to complete your degree. But before you apply to an online degree program, be sure to find out exactly what’s involved in the process.
What is an Online Degree?
An online degree is the term used to refer to a degree program that you complete without actually attending traditional classroom sessions. Instead, an online degree allows you to complete all required courses over the internet, so you don’t even have to leave your home or office. All facets of an online degree are completed over the internet, including tests, examinations and assignments.
Types of Online Degrees
There are four main types of degrees that you can earn at online universities and colleges. Not all online schools will offer each type of degree though, so it is important to do your research before you apply.
- Associate’s Degree (AD): An Associate’s degree requires you to complete two full years of study at a community college or junior college. This type of degree is available as either an arts or science degree and is based on a selection of general courses. An Associate’s Degree can be transferred to make up part of a Bachelor’s degree program.
- Bachelor’s Degree (BA): A Bachelor’s degree requires you to complete four full years of study at a college or university. It is available in a variety of disciplines, including arts, fine arts, and sciences. When you complete a Bachelor’s degree, you first select a subject in which you would like to major in. Your online school will then provide you with a listing of courses that you must complete in order to earn the degree.
- Master’s Degree (MA): A Master’s degree is a graduate degree program completed after your have earned a Bachelor’s degree. A Master’s degree allows you to specialize in a particular area of study.
- Doctorate Degree (Ph.D): A Doctorate degree is also a graduate degree that is usually completed after a Master’s degree. It allows for intense study and research and, upon completion, Ph.D recipients will be highly specialized in a particularly subject field.
Costs of an Online Degree
Costs of an online degree program can vary substantially depending upon the school and program that you choose. Most online schools cost about the same as a traditional college or university. You may have to spend a little bit more on software and hardware for you computer, but you will also save on room and board, travel expenses, and textbooks. Generally speaking, the higher the level of the degree, the more expensive it will be: an Associate’s degree usually cost’s around $6,000 per year, while a Ph.D can cost as much as $15,000 per year. Private universities also tend to be much more expensive than those that are funded by the state.
How Popular are Online Degrees?
Online degrees have become extremely popular, especially in the last five years or so. In fact, enrollment in online degree programs has been increasing by as much as 30% every year. There are now thousands of different online degree programs offered by distance learning facilities all over the world. Even highly respected, traditional colleges and universities are becoming involved in the world of online distance education. In fact, more than 75% of all universities and colleges in the United States are now offering some type of online program.
Why Choose an Online Degree?
Online degrees are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in North America. As more and more people are working to strict schedules, it is becoming all the more difficult to attend traditional on-campus classes. By enrolling in a degree with an online college or university, you will find that you will be afforded numerous benefits including:
- Flexibility: Online degree programs allow for students to retain regular, full-time jobs and also offer them the time to meet their family and household commitments.
- Choice: Online degree programs are now available at hundreds of different online schools, meaning that you will be able to choose the best program for you.
- Technological Experience: Completing a degree online will help to provide you with some technological experience, which is much-needed in today’s work world.
- Competitive Edge: Students who complete a degree are shown to earn to higher salaries and face less risk of unemployment than those workers who do not have a degree.
Is an Online Degree Respected?
In the past, online degrees were not given the same respect as traditional degrees. Now, however, online degrees are accepted by most colleges and universities and by the majority of employers. When earned from respected and accredited institutions, online degrees have exactly the same merit that degrees from traditional colleges and universities have. You will only run into problems if you earn a degree from an online school that has not been properly accredited or whose accreditation is questionable. Be sure to find out about accreditation before you sign up with any online school.
Before You Choose an Online Degree
Before you decide to earn your degree online, there are a few things that you should take into consideration. Online education is not for everyone; it is often quite demanding and lacks the social structure of traditional learning. For this reason, it is a good idea to try out a few online education courses before signing up for an entire degree program. This way you can get your feet wet before plunging in head-first.
Also, do some research to find out about a degree program that you are truly interested in. You will get much more out of your learning experience if you find a program that inspires you. Take your time and investigate all of the different options available to you.