Whether you are already established in your career or you are just breaking into the workforce, getting additional education credits is a necessity. In the knowledge economy workers are valued by their education and experience. Today a Bachelor’s degree is worth the same as a high school diploma was a generation ago. However, the majority of us do not have the time or money to spend four or more years in a university earning our degree in the traditional sense. Realizing that this is the case, a number of accredited online universities have cropped up in the last decade, offering everything from high school upgrade courses to PhD programs.
Before going back to school, it is always important to examine both the pros and cons of an online university:
1. The biggest benefit is flexibility. Most of us cannot study in conventional schools due to time constraints and other responsibilities. The vast majority of accredited online universities base their courses around the learner and not the teacher. Unlike most regular brick and mortar institutions, online universities allow individuals to work at their own pace, at any time of day. Much of the course work is individual based allowing for greater flexibility.
2. Getting the experience and the book knowledge at the same time. Most working professionals can keep their jobs while taking courses/programs online, which allows them to have a resume with some years of experience as well as a diploma/degree, giving them a significant advantage over an individual who has little or no working experience and relies only on their academic learning to get a job.
1. The biggest issue with diplomas/degrees that are received through online institutions are their perceived value as compared to regular institutions of higher learning. Because learners can complete the programs relatively unsupervised and at their own speed, some employers may be tempted to view programs from online institutions in a lower light than conventional education. Although this trend was more evident in the early days of online education, as more and more individuals complete online education, employers are beginning to see their value.
2. Although not true for all institutions, online education does not necessarily means lower tuition fees. This is especially true of hybrid institutions, where online programs compliment brick and mortar campuses. As such, care should be taken to research tuition fees for any program, be it online or at a conventional institution.
Just like any important endeavour, completing post secondary school requires careful research, commitment and vision. For those who are unable to undertake the conventional route to higher education, online accreditation offers a chance. If you are interested in pursuing an online education, do your research and do it well, because the next step you take could be one of the most important ones of your life.