The number of careers now requiring degrees continues to grow every year. While some employees may still receive on-the-job training, most employees prefer hiring individuals with degrees. Unfortunately, many people feel they can’t afford to quit their jobs to go back to school. The good news is that online education allows them to earn degrees while continuing to work. Get the facts here.

How Do Online Degree Programs Work?

Online degree programs are academic programs where students learn over the Internet as opposed to at a brick-and-mortar college. Almost everything can be done online from the enrollment and application process right up to the graduation. Once students are enrolled into a program, they login to a virtual classroom using software like Blackboard depending on the school.

Through this virtual classroom, students are able to check assignments, take tests, submit coursework and interact with students or instructors. Various learning tools are utilized, including lectures, message boards, chat rooms, emails, audio tapes and streaming videos.

Are Online Degrees as Good as Traditional Degrees?

The popularity of online degrees has increased the same as the validity of online degree programs. When online programs first came out, many people felt they weren’t as good as traditional degrees. However, that has changed drastically in recent years as more and more colleges are now offering accredited online programs.

While some employers at one time were skeptical about online education, that has changed as well. U.S.News & World Report states that most employers now accept online degrees. In fact, many feel that the type of degree the individual has as well as the work experience play as much importance, if not more, than where the degree was earned.

Are Online Degrees 100 percent Online?

Although programs may be listed as online programs, not all of them are 100 percent online. Some may be hybrid programs, which are programs where students completing some courses online and others in an actual classroom. Healthcare programs are often hybrid programs because, in addition to coursework, students must also complete internships or clinical rotations in actual hospitals.

Some on-campus programs offer students the opportunity to complete prerequisite courses online. Business-related programs are often 100 percent online. Postgraduate certificates and graduate programs are often offered 100 percent online because the on-campus courses were completed at the baccalaureate level.

Benefits of Online Degrees

It’s not difficult to understand why so many students choose online degree programs considering the many advantages online schools offer. Below are just a few of the many benefits of online degree programs.

Potential for excellent careers – Students can choose programs that lead to careers offering good employment outlook. For instance, students who take medical assistant programs online can be ready to join the workforce in about a year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that medical assistants could see a job growth of 29 percent between 2016 and 2026.

  • Cost – Online students may or may not have to pay the same tuition as on-campus students. However, they typically don’t pay the same school fees. They also don’t have to pay for gas, commuting fees or housing expenses. Some schools even accept credits earned through free online courses, according to the Open Education Database.
  • More comfortable learning environment – Learning in the comfort of your office or home can be more relaxing and stress free particularly for the student who’s shy or uncomfortable around crowds.
  • Faster completion – Online programs generally let students complete programs at their pace. A traditional two-year program may be completed much sooner through online education.
  • Better technical skills – Completing an online programs gives students more experience working with computers, which are now used in almost every line of work.
  • Convenient and flexible schedules – Students can continue to work at their regular jobs while they earning a degree. They complete their studies at their convenience while continuing to meet other obligations.

by: Vincent Stokes