Online degrees are an integral part of the future of education. With more online degree programs being offered from online schools and brick-and-mortar institutions, chances are you will experience online education at some point in your life.
Generally, schools offer a combination of online degrees ranging from online certificate programs (credentials that can supplement an existing degree) to online associates degrees, bachelors degrees and masters degrees. Some schools offer doctoral online degrees, though they are slightly harder to find.
The type of online degree you choose to pursue will depend on what field you are going into. For example, technology students usually benefit from a bachelors or masters online degree, since technology careers tend to require a more in-depth education. Paralegal students may benefit from an online certificate program rather than a full degree, as career success is based more on experience.
Types of Online Degrees
An online associates degree is a good choice for students seeking to become entry-level professionals. Online associates degree programs offer basic, career-oriented education without the time expense of more involved campus-based or online degree programs. Many students choose to enter a career with an online associates degree while simultaneously pursuing a bachelors degree. However, in many fields an online associates degree is all that is necessary. It usually takes from one to two years complete an online associates degree program.
An online bachelors degree is the most solid education choice for most professions. Especially in fields such as business, education and technology where more education may be required, getting your online bachelors degree is a fast, easy and flexible option. Online bachelors degrees can typically be completed in three to four years.
An online masters degree is a graduate-level online degree designed for advanced education in a specialized field. These degrees usually take two to three years beyond the bachelors degree level. Online masters degree programs are just as involved as campus-based degree programs, with the added challenge of learning from home amid potential distractions. It takes a sharp student to excel in an online masters degree program, but the career benefits of having the added knowledge and experience can pay off exponentially.
Online certificate programs are supplementary online credentials designed for students who already have a bachelors or associates degree. Many fields only require a certificate for employment, and in some fields a certificate program is a better option than an associates degree. Online certificate programs may take anywhere from several weeks to a year to complete.
Categories of Online Degree Program
Acquiring and Using Your Online Degree
With more students pursuing online degrees, employers are more willing to accept online degrees as proof of a solid education. As long as an online degree is from an accredited online college, employers are increasingly giving graduates with online degrees the same consideration they would give to applicants with traditional degrees.
In addition, more schools and colleges are offering online degree programs alongside their classroom-based programs. According to a 2012 report by BABSON Survey Research Group, over 60% of higher education institutions offer full online degree programs, compared to around 30% ten years ago. Many schools are even offering Mass Open Online Courses (MOOCs), open learning environments where students around the globe participate in courses they might otherwise not have access to. These are mostly being undertaken by larger institutions such as Harvard and MIT, while organizations such as Coursera and Edx make them more accessible online.
Many other resources are here to help you navigate the many online degree programs you can find. Here are a few you may find useful: