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Online classes help military wife finish degree

For over two decades, Amy Young traveled the world with her husband and their three children. As a military family often on the move, they were never in one place long enough for Amy to complete a degree program through the traditional college experience.

When Amy and her husband finally settled down in Melbourne, FL, she decided to complete what she had started all those years ago. From a very early age, she had an interest in health care. "Either that or being a nun, and I could not see myself as a nun!" she joked.

That interest in health care led her to Keiser University, and she graduated with an online associate degree in health services administration in 2005.

Q: Why did you choose online courses instead of on-campus?

A: As a military family we relocated every two or three years, and my attempt at getting a degree was getting nowhere. Just as soon as I enrolled in college, it was time to move again, and the next college would not accept the credits, so I always ended up with many "floating" credits.

After my husband retired from the Air Force and we settled back in Florida, where I'm originally from, I decided to look into taking all those credits that were floating around and try to turn them into a degree. I probably had enough unusable credits to obtain a PhD! I had to work, but I also wanted a college degree, so I contacted a local university that I knew offered online degrees as well and made an appointment to meet with one of the admissions counselors to go over my college credits.

Q: What were the greatest benefits of earning a health care administration degree online?

A: Completing my degree online was very beneficial because I was able to work and take college classes at the same time, and at my convenience. I could be drinking coffee, eating, watching TV or listening to music at any time of day or night while "attending" class online. Many times I was online working on a paper in my pajamas at 2:00 AM!

Q: What were the challenges of earning your degree online?

A: I like to interact with the teachers and other students, and I like to ask questions. I'm not a very patient person, so I found it challenging to wait several hours for a reply to one of my questions.

Q: Was that challenge a surprise to you?

A: I had a pretty good idea of what to expect because I had done some research prior to enrolling in the online class.

Q: Did you miss the face-to-face interactions with your fellow students and professors?

A: Yes, many times, but you get used to that eventually.

Q: How did your associate degree help your career?

A: I obtained the knowledge necessary to open a non-profit organization that helps low income and uninsured women receive free mammograms. I was also able to move into administrative positions and receive promotions or a higher pay rate than my coworkers.

Q: What advice would you offer students who are considering an online degree?

A: It's a wonderful way to obtain your degree if you are focused, committed and organized. If you have a tendency to procrastinate and need a little push to meet your deadlines, you may want to consider taking most of your classes on campus, and maybe one class online to "test the waters" and yourself. If you need to work or need more flexibility with your time schedule, taking an online class is the best way to go. This is especially true for young stay-at-home moms.