Online Degrees Can Be a Smart Choice
Study after study shows that educational attainment has a big impact on lifetime earnings potential. Consider this: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2014, the median weekly income for high school graduates without a college degree was $668. In comparison, those with bachelor's degrees took home $1,101. Over a 40-year working life, the typical bachelor's degree recipient can expect to earn about 66 percent more than the average high school graduate earns over the same period, according to data from The College Board. For most people, earning a degree will turn out to be a wise investment.
As such, more individuals are looking to stay competitive in the job market by heading back to the classroom. Thanks to distance learning, many who wouldn't otherwise be able to pursue a college education are doing just that. And, online education is no longer the "alternative" it once was. A 2015 survey by Babson Survey Research Group found that the number of academic leaders who report that online learning is critical to their institution's long term strategy has grown from 48 percent in 2002 to 70 percent in 2014. That's also in line with the most recent IPEDS data that finds over 70 percent of all degree-granting institutions offering some distance options.
Simply put, online learning has become more mainstream as the technology has improved, and as more and more learners and educators have embraced it. If you're thinking of going the online degree route, take a look at some popular online degrees to explore your options.
Advantages of Online Learning
In today's world, a good number of college students are not recent high school graduates, or what's referred to as "traditional" students. Aspiring learners are often adults with families and jobs who strive to advance their careers, but are hesitant because of scheduling conflicts and other responsibilities. Distance learning is a perfect solution for them, thanks to:
✔ Flexibility of scheduling
✔ Convenience of saving time and money by telecommuting
✔ Ability to supplement or level-up professional qualifications
Online colleges often allow students to structure their own routines, and form their own educational pathways. This kind of flexibility allows a student to work at his or her own pace. What's more is that schools with online programs usually offer lots of support services designed to help ease the transition of adult students who haven't done school work in some time.
How Distance Education Works
Today's online programs are more interactive, dynamic, and portable than ever before. Online students typically stream or download lectures, can attend classes virtually in real time, and have a high level of interaction with their professors and classmates. Some online degree programs even offer downloadable applications, allowing students to study via mobile devices. Forums and discussion boards promote daily communication among peers, and it's common for students to form virtual study groups. A quality online degree program fosters an online community, in which students are provided with the necessary resources to not only keep up with the curriculum, but feel like active participants during class, and support and encourage one another.
Accredited Online Degree Programs
Accreditation of online programs is conducted by the same regional and national agencies that accredit traditional schools. These organizations are authorized by the U.S. Department of Education to ensure that a school or individual program meets established academic standards.
Online universities offer many of the same academic programs found in brick-and-mortar schools, including:
• Instruction in business, health, education, and criminal justice fields
• Various degree levels: associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral
• Certificate programs
With the student population growing ever more diverse, course offerings are always evolving to meet the demand of the job market. Whether you find yourself in need of an advanced degree for a management position, or simply want to gain more credible skills for your current occupation, an online degree can help you achieve your goals. Find out more about specific online degree programs.