Choosing The Best Online Degree Programs
Online degrees are still relatively new. However, the increasing number of people interested in going to school online, as well as greater access to high speed internet, has created a booming business. Not all programs are created equal, though, so it is important to consider the source when choosing any option.
Almost anybody can set themselves up as a school and offer degrees. It is the reputation of the school that determines what the degree is worth. Things like accreditation and history are part of this reputation, and are especially important with a degree from online sources, which some people may be suspicious of.
The board that accredits a school is actually much more important than many people realize. Almost anyone can become an accreditation agency extremely easily. This means that prospective students should look for accreditation from one of the large, well-known boards.
Many types of programs are available online, but it is definitely easier to obtain some of them than others. An online degree in a science may require that students find a local mentor, volunteer somewhere, or otherwise figure out a way to meet the hands-on requirements of the program. Humanities students will often have it easier, especially in online doctoral degree programs.
In general, the more advanced the program, the fewer there are available. This is definitely true of internet-based programs, where online undergraduate degrees are plentiful, but Master’s degrees and online PhD programs are fewer and farther between. There is also a significant divide between academic degrees and vocational degrees, with many more of the latter available online.
There are still some online programs, particularly online graduate degree programs, that require short periods of residency. This means that students can study from wherever they live most of the time, but need to physically go to the school for a short period, usually once or twice per term. The residency periods themselves vary from two days to several weeks in length.
In most ways, online programs are similar to on-campus ones. Consider what courses are available, what the requirements of the programs are, and the price of tuition before making your decision. However, with an online degree, you won't have to worry about moving, finding a new job, or other stresses of on-campus programs.