In an age where you can do all your banking, talk to friends thousands of miles away, and get directions to just about anywhere all online, attending a college campus to earn a degree doesn’t seem all that necessary – and it isn’t. There are hundreds of accredited schools online that will allow you to get training in anything from business management to early childhood education. Here are a few things you should know before you enroll.
Online Degrees are Valuable
Years ago there was a harsh stigma associated with degrees earned online. This is attributed to “diploma-mills”, unaccredited schools willing to give a “degree” to anyone willing to pay for it. With tighter government regulations, and changes in online education, degrees earned online are just as well perceived by employers as those earned on campus
Find your program
If you know exactly what you’d like to do and what career you’d like to have, search for schools that offer that specific degree program. Talk to an admissions counselor about any questions you may have. They’ll be able to answer questions about degree coursework, how long it will take to complete the degree, and costs associated. You can fill out the form here to do a quick search of programs available in your area.
Some Degrees require hands on training
If you’re looking for a degree in a very hands-on field, such as health or personal care, you may need to take some classes offline. You’ll be required to do lab and other hands-on training exercises in order to become certified. Some hybrid programs allow you to complete coursework both online and on campus.
Once you’ve found a college that is a good fit, check out their accreditation. You don’t want to spend time and money earning a degree that is basically worthless. There are national accreditation sites that you can look schools up on, or you could simply ask them what their accreditation status is.
Apply for Financial Aid
College can be expensive and you’ll probably need to work while you’re in school. Make sure you’re getting all the financial help you can by filling out the FAFSA. This application will review your financial status and see if you qualify for student grants (money you don’t have to pay back) or student loans (money you do have to pay back.) Talk to the school about any scholarships or discounts they offer to their students.
Start earning your degree online
This is where the real work comes in. You’ll need to put in the time and effort it takes to take tests, do homework, and pass your classes just like at any other college. Self discipline is necessary especially when it comes to earning a degree online. Stick with it an sooner than you realize you’ll be graduating with your new degree.