If I choose to go back to school, are online degrees really worth the trouble? As a recent college grad, I find myself asking, “What next?” Should I find a career or continue my education?
The choice between work and education is an age-old dilemma and, with the rise in online degrees, a new element has been added to the mix; are online degrees as good as traditional degrees?
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We live in a time where the traditional degree is not always possible. Attending a four-year university, not to mention living in the dorms, seems more like a luxury than a privilege. The full-time employee and the full-time parent don’t have time for a traditional degree. As a result, online degrees, correspondence courses, and hybrid classes, offer the ideal solution. Students of these innovative programs can go to class anywhere, have the support of qualified instructors and, in some programs, work at their own pace.
Advantages of Online Degrees
The efficiency of online degrees and top online schools to choose from makes getting an online bachelor degree or online master’s degrees sound too good to be true. After all, the way a person judges the success of a degree is by how long it takes them to find a job after graduation, not by what the program offers. Can online degrees pass the employability test?
Arlington School District and Cascade Valley Hospital and Clinic in Arlington, Wash., have employed people who earned their degrees online. The action of hiring a graduate from an online school speaks louder than declaring the benefits of an online degree.
“We do not hold preference of one way over the other as long as it is from an accredited school,” Monica Getty, Cascade Valley Hospital and Clinic’s recruitment coordinator, said. “What we require is that the applicant meets the minimum requirements of the position. How they achieved the degree does not fall in to play there.”
Challenges of Online Degrees
“From what I have heard, and from my own experience, online courses tend to be more involved than classroom-setting courses,” she said of the dedication that it takes to complete an online degree. “My opinion is that there are more expectations for involvement in the online courses because there is no class to attend.”
“Also, online classes require a higher level of commitment from the student and require the student to motivate themselves to complete the assignments verse just showing up for a lecture,” she added.
Benefits of Online Degrees
Another benefit of online degrees is that they allow employees to advance within a company.
“We have had a number of our paraeducators enroll in university programs both online and traditional to earn their teaching degree,” Mike Johnson, the Arlington School District’s executive director of human resources, said. “We are seeing more and more employees get their M.A. degrees from online programs.”
Johnson also remarked that, while online degrees are valued, there are some setbacks. “It has been my experience that undergraduate online programs have more limitations than advance degree programs,” he said.
“Someone who is currently teaching and earning their M.A. degree can apply the concepts being taught through the online program. What I see as the key is the interaction with other colleagues,” Johnson said. “This also can be done with online programs via chats, but I believe the physical interaction is very important. It has been my experience working with student teachers from traditional brick and mortar universities that they are more skilled in the area of instructional strategies. Likely, because they have the opportunity to practice the skill more often.”
The trend in answers from Cascade Valley Hospital and Clinics and the Arlington School District indicates that it is the person, not the type of degree, which is important in the hiring process.
“We hire the best person for the position. Our screening and interview process do not focus on the institution where the candidate received their degree,” Johnson said. “We focus on content knowledge, instructional skills classroom management and ability to collaborate and participate on a team.”
Find an Online Degree that Works for You
Whether you’re interested in earning a bachelors, masters, or doctorate degree, you can find a program that works for you. OnlineDegrees.com provides up-to-date information about online schools and programs. Don’t put it off any longer, begin researching your online degree now.
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