In today’s increasingly competitive job market, having a university degree is not only an advantage, but in many cases, is almost a pre-requisite to even just get your foot in the door. Unfortunately, not every individual or individual’s family has the means to put them through a lengthy and expensive degree program. The average time and cost requirement for an undergraduate degree, as a full-time student, is four years and approximately $25,000.00 to $30,000.00, which does not include the costs of living.
Individuals who are intimidated by the numbers listed above, or are simply unable to meet those requirements, will likely not attend a college or university, and will therefore be at a significant disadvantage in the job market. Thankfully however, the increasing popularity of online courses university degrees is allowing individuals the flexibility and cost effectiveness that was previously preventing them from furthering their education.
Online degrees are becoming a popular feature of a number of recognized universities around the country. There are even entire online universities, such as the University of Phoenix, which have made their entire selling point accessibility and independent learning. There are a great number of arguments both for and against online degree programs, which will be discussed in more detail below.
Some of the obvious advantages of obtaining a certification or degree online include the following: Flexibility, cost effectiveness, and the ability to work a full time job during the entire course of study. By working online, individuals have the opportunity to study at recognized institutions across the country, without having to relocate. Most online courses do assign deadlines to projects and assignments, but the time or pace at which students complete these deadlines is entirely up to them. This freedom means the ability to maintain a full time job, care for a family, or stay occupied with other details of life, and choose one’s own hours in which to study. Bear in mind however, that online courses still require a great deal of work and focus. They are not intended to be short cuts to university degrees.
Some of the disadvantages of online coursework include the following: a lack of personal contact with educators; students must be extremely self-motivated. There is also always the possibility that jobs will require the more traditional degree certification processes, although unless you are required to specify how you obtained your degree, there is generally no way for the employer to know this detail. Finally, the fact that educators may no longer be required in the classroom could potentially put a whole new section of society out of meaningful employment.
Buyer, be aware. Unless you have prior proof to the contrary, you must assume that online courses are not transferable to a main university. With financing so difficult for universities these days, they do not ALWAYS transfer credits from one state university to another. Always look for the words accredited college or university (Remember that it is the institution itself and not an individual course that can be accredited.) and find out who accredits them. If they are not a part of one of the following, they are not approved by the DEA:
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
North Central Association (for) of Colleges and Schools (NCA)
Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSCHE)
New England Association (for) of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
Check with the DEA before you believe the name they are using is an accrediting agency. A course from an accredited college or university is accredited. The College of Teachers has been cited as an accrediting institution when the only “affiliation” is that the online business uses its rules. Do not fall for expecting that a logo on the site is enough to prove accreditation.(If the online college is unable to help you get federal money for college, they are not approved by DEA.)
Check with your employer, prospective employer, or your university business office (counselors may not know) to KNOW that your online college courses will benefit you. They may request to see the syllabus and reading list for the courses you take.
Find a friend or relative or even a stranger who will tell you which online courses worked for him. It is your responsibility to make certain that the transcript for a course you have passed reaches your degree offering university. The transcript should not distinguish between an online course and an in class course.
Be aware that lab requirements are not supported online. No professional licensing, business, or university will accept a credit that should have had a hands on lab and does not.
Almost every major University (and many minor ones) offers online courses. The flexibility and variety available make a college degree feasible for many who might otherwise be unable to get that degree. Having a sheep skin is more important in the 21st century than ever before. It may be a minefield of money grabbers out there, but the result is worth doing some research before you sign up.
As important as continued education may be, it is often impossible to integrate school into a busy life, especially if your job has hefty time requirements. A career alone can consume valuable family time, often leaving the idea of furthering your education low on your list of priorities. As computer technology advances, it offers new opportunities for those whose lifestyle is generally incompatible with the time requirements of traditional, classroom based education. Many types of degree are available by taking classes remotely, specifically, through an accredited distance learning institution. Initially, the concept of college at home was limited to only a few online universities.
As the idea grew more successful, other educational institutions developed distance learning programs of their own in order to remain competitive across all aspects of the education industry. The result it a far broader availability of a wider assortment of classes and degrees, along with the freedom to peruse a growing list of learning centers offering online education. The most significant benefit to taking classes online is the time aspect: Study can take place in the home, during lunch breaks or at any location where you have Internet access. Time constraints aside, there are other benefits over old fashioned classroom training. Classes can be more quickly tailored to include recent changes in a given field. Textbooks, as an example, take time to rewrite when new research or data warrants inclusion. In areas where the advancement of technology happens at near blinding speed, the months it takes to include changes in old fashioned texts can leave students behind as they enter the workforce with dated information in mind. There are also cost advantages, both to the student and the university.
The addition of an online program is an investment in server space and time, but the lack of infrastructure and facility requirements reduces the overhead incurred by each new student. The resultant reduction in per student cost is passed on to you, saving you money when compared to those who attend the same class in person. Potential students concerned that the quality level of education offered through distance learning is lesser than traditional classroom training should consider that the program is inherently designed with a remote learning environment that can provide all the tools and materials needed to obtain a quality education.
As Internet bandwidth grows, so do the technologies used to deliver your education, such as video collaboration, which enables you direct involvement with the teacher and classmates. Distance learning gives up little in terms of quality as compared to physically attending class, and can bring the possibility of a better education to anyone who is willing to learn.
Obtaining a distance learning diploma is in many ways a lot easier than attending the university to obtain the same diploma. It must be said, however, that not all courses can be learned online as attending university in person and studying on the campus can only properly learn some courses. However, if you are already holding down a job or even more than one job to make ends meet but at the same time would like to study more, then studying online is a good option and one that will allow you to study during the times when you are free. This makes it a whole lot easier to obtain a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree in a field of study.
If you are interested in an online university course, then you should first search on the Internet which universities offer certification in the field you are interested in. There are likely a number of universities that offer a diploma in the course. Check into both the price of the course and what is required for you to take the particular course. While you can study most of the course online, you will have to go take the tests in person; these can not be taken online. The university will likely have a number of ‘learning centers’ – places where you can go to take the test. It is worth the while to look into this and see where these learning centers are if you live quite far from the university.
Another thing that you should be aware of is that while you are studying a course online, not all the work can be done online. Sometimes there will be a ‘practicum’ course – a course where you will have to do the work and practice what you are learning. For instance, one university offering a bachelor’s degree in social work has three required ‘practicum’ courses, where you are required to participate in a social project under the supervision of a certified social worker.
When all is said and done, though, it is generally a lot simpler to study online and obtain a diploma that it is to obtain one by studying on campus as it allows you to both work and study more easily. As long as you research and know exactly what is involved in studying the particular field you are interested in, you should find that studying online is a great way to enhance your skills and even open up new career paths.
Do you ever wish you could go back to college and finish your schooling? Or, perhaps you did not get the degree you wanted and you would like to go back and get one that is pertinent to your interests. Maybe you would like to advance your current title to something more professional (e.g., social worker to clinical psychologist). Well, there are avenues you can take to make these dreams a reality: online universities. By earning an online degree, you can still maintain the hassles of everyday life while simultaneously getting that degree you have always envisioned. Below, individuals will find a step-by-step guide on how they can earn a legit, online degree.
1) Decide on the major you would like to study, making sure that the degree will pay dividends in the long-term so your money is well-invested. Write out ten pros of earning this degree and as many cons as you can imagine, seeing which side is balanced more in your favor. Finally, get access to the Internet and use a search engine (e.g., Google or Bing!) to type in something like “online school offering degree in psychology”.
2) Realize that, just because the courses are going to be online it does not mean that it is not going to be a lot of work; many people assume incorrectly that online schooling is not difficult or even real. Well, it certainly is, and almost all of the programs are accredited (which you need to check!). Be ready to work diligently, just as you would if you were sitting down in a traditional classroom.
3) Find out how long the degree is going to take to complete and compare it to a regional campus, seeing if the prices are roughly equivalent. Generally speaking, many of the online colleges (e.g., Walden, University of Phoenix, and Kaplan) tend to be a bit pricier than traditional colleges in which a person physically attends a lecture; however, many people who want to earn their degrees online are people who may already have a life established, so this obstacle may not be a problem for everyone.
4) Contact the campus that you are thinking of attending and get more information on its program; find out about financial aid, benefits, and methods of dispersing lecture material and grades.
5) When you have done all of the investigating, sign up for some courses! Realize, too, that the same rules apply to an online student as a classroom student: deadlines, course withdrawal periods, plagiarism, cheating, and others. Take your online studies seriously and you will do well!
Most individuals at some point in their lives will go to college and take at least a few courses, some earning an associate’s degree, others earning a bachelor’s degree; however, earning the prestigious doctorate degree (e.g. Ph.D., Ed.D, M.D. , J.D., etc.) is generally considered the apex of one’s goals in life. The most commonly earned doctoral degree, though, is the “Doctor of Philosophy” degree (“Ph.D.”), which is bestowed upon a person deeply dedicated in the arts and sciences, like biology, English, or psychology. Having the capacity to obtain a doctorate, for many, is like reaching the sky: it is challenging, very time consuming, and costly. Because of these factors, online schools started sprouting up to offer individuals who did not have the ability to earn a PhD at a regional campus the opportunity to obtain one completely at his computer. Individuals who have already earned a master’s degree but would like to have the awesome “doctor” title in front of their names can do so by receiving their doctorate degrees online.
Online degrees are only a few years old, and if a person were to bring up the subject matter three to five years ago to someone else, he probably would recommend the individual seek psychiatric treatment. Today, though, people regularly take doctoral courses online, provided they have the diligence, tuition costs, and a quick Internet speed. Doctoral students typically sign on to a website with their login IDs, which professors monitor for attendance purposes and making sure students do their own class work. Attendance can be done at any time the student wants, though. It is paramount to realize that a doctoral degree, even though it is offered online, will require: a dissertation (needed to be completed at a regional campus perhaps), tons of outside research, possibly a residency or internship at a local college or hospital, comprehensive exams, and other tedious tasks. However, you will have that amazing “Dr.” title, so these hurdles are just tiny obstacles.
Below are some of the most prominent online schools and the Ph.D. programs they offer:
1) Capella University: Organization and Management, Human Services, Psychology, and Education
2) Walden University: Applied Management and Decision Sciences, Education, Public Health, Health and Human Services, and Public Policy
3) The University of Phoenix: Business Administration, Management, Education, and Health Administration
4) University of the Rockies: Criminology, Business Psychology, Organizational Leadership/ Diversity/ Consulting, Executive Coaching, and Psychology
It is extremely important to check that the programs are accredited before you make a decision to attend an online university, because if you ever want to transfer the credits to a regional college, they will want them to be considered accredited. Also, if the program to which you are applying is one that requires licensure, make sure that your state recognizes it. Regardless, online schooling is a form of education that will continue to grow, thanks mainly to a large amount of people not being able to attend traditional classroom lectures.