4 Questions You can Expect with This Kind of Degree
Would a bachelor’s or master’s degree help you advance in your profession or put you on the road to a new career?
Not long ago, for adults working full time, night school or going on the weekends was about the only way to earn a degree.
That meant driving to the school at least once a week, getting home late, and feeling exhausted the next day.
And how difficult is it to concentrate for three or four hours after a long workday?
Well, the digital age has changed all of that as schools across the country offer online classes.
Online Degrees Across the Country
Even top-name universities are reaching a wider market by jumping aboard the online degree bandwagon.
- The University of Pennsylvania recently became the first Ivy League college to offer an online bachelor’s degree. It already had an online graduate degree program.
- Harvard University’s Extension School has a blended bachelor’s program where students must complete at least 16 credits on campus with the balance taken online.
- Georgia Institute of Technology has an online master’s in computer science and analytics. It will start an online master’s degree in cybersecurity in 2019.
- New York University announced that it will offer a new 24-month online doctorate of education degree program.
- Virginia Tech has a Masters of Information Technology program that is 100% online.
Law schools are expected to expand their online presence too, since the American Bar Association increased the number of hours students can take online to 30 from 15.
They Don’t Come Cheap
Online degrees are generally less expensive than brick-and-mortar programs. Even so, they’re not exactly cheap.
Below are examples of online vs. on-campus tuition per credit hour.
What Will an Employer Think of Your Online Degree?
Employers are becoming more open to candidates with online degrees.
And you can bet there’s a good chance they’re going to have questions that you should be prepared to answer when sitting down for an interview.
1 — Is the online program accredited?
There are scores of horror stories of students who struggled to get through a program only to find out that the institution wasn’t recognized by a legitimate authority.
That could leave you with nothing more than a fancy diploma to hang in the smallest room of your house.
What’s more, many colleges and universities won’t accept transfer credits from schools not accredited.
And your employer might not be willing to pay for you to attend.
How can you find out if a school you’re considering is accredited?
Go to its website. The “About” or similar page should contain accreditation information.
There are two levels of accreditation:
- Institutional applies to the entire college
- Specialized refers to specific programs offered
Depending on your field of study, an employer might prefer that your degree comes from a school with a program that has specialized, or programmatic, accreditation.
Examples are education, law, medicine, and engineering.
There are also regional and national accreditations.
State and private nonprofit universities are regionally accredited. This is the most desirable since students taking courses at one regionally accredited school will be more likely to transfer credits to a similar college.
Finally, beware of degree mills that are accredited by fake or phony agencies.
They might have official sounding names, like the Accreditation Council for Online Academia (ACOHE) or the North American Distance Learning Association (NADLA).
Do not allow these agencies and institutions to mislead you. In some states, it can be illegal to use a degree from an institution that is not accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency.
Remember it isn’t enough to know that an institution is accredited; you need to find out as much as you can about the accrediting agency.
2 — Was the degree from a nonprofit or for-profit institution?
For-profit, online, programs have been plagued with low graduation rates and questionable admission standards.
Therefore, some employers may give preference to a candidate who graduated from a nonprofit school.
3 — Why did you choose to get your degree online?
Answer honestly and they’ll respect your time management skills.
For most people, it’d be something along this line:
You work full-time, you have a family, or you needed the flexibility and didn’t have time to drive to a campus to attend classes.
4 — Will you be a good team player?
Employers want employees who can think independently yet are team players. And they may wonder if by earning your degree online, you missed out on team-building projects.
So you’ll want to discuss the types of projects you worked on, how you interacted with fellow students, and how you found the experience.
No matter what you want to study — from nursing to neuroscience — you can do it online.
And millions of Americans are doing exactly that!
In fact, the most recent Federal data shows that more than 6.3 million students took at least one online course from 4,700+ colleges in fall 2016.
That’s the 14th consecutive year of growth in online learning.
But before committing your time and hard-earned money for an online degree, do your homework on any institution you want to attend so you don’t end up with a degree that could’ve come from a matchbook cover.
To a richer life,
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap
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