So you’re interested in completing an online degree! For many people, this modern way of completing their education, or obtaining further qualifications is like a dream come true. They allow you to advance your education, so you can land a better job, from the comfort and convenience of your own home. No more trudging off to university daily, or racing there after work to make a 6pm class.
However, enticing as that may sound, not all online courses and education providers are equal. Not all of them are right for you either. In fact, it’s important to ensure that you do find exactly the right courses and provider to suit your goals in wanting to further your education. These days there are many hundreds of online degrees and courses offered online. However, taking the time to sort through them is ultimately well worth your time and effort even though it may seem like a daunting task. If you break it down into a few simple steps, it isn’t anywhere near as difficult to do as you may suppose.
First, online degrees like any other degree have entry qualifications. You need to have achieved certain academic standards (GPA), or hold certain qualifications to be eligible to enroll. Obtaining a Fire Inspector certification online for example requires candidates to hold certain prior qualifications, just the same as you’d need to attend Fire College.
You then need to search for schools that are appropriately accredited. Regional accreditation (SACS etc) is always best for most purposes. It means your degree or certification will be recognized by employers and industry, and that you can transfer credits to other institutions if you need to.
Check the degree or certification program that you’re focusing on. Find out if it’s exactly the right fit for you. Talk to the person who will be guiding you through the coursework. Check their credentials and background, and see if you can talk to other students taking the same courses. Alternatively, check for online feedback about the courses. Find out what past students are now doing, and what they’ve been able to achieve with this degree. These will all help verify the authenticity of the course and whether it’s worth doing.
Finally we come to finances. Online courses are invariably cheaper than attending college in most cases but they still come with a cost factor. However, if you don’t watch your expenses, you could in some cases wind up spending more than you would attending college. Analyze your finances and work out whether or not you can actually afford to study, and which ones fit within your budget.
These things will all help you narrow down your search for that ‘perfect’ online degree. Importantly, if you know what you want, you’ll avoid the diploma mills. It will save you enrolling in courses that won’t get you anything other than a bit more knowledge, and ensure you end up with a certification or degree that’s worth the paper it’s written on. One that will be recognized by your future employer, and will stand you in good stead as you seek to further your career ambitions.