What to Know About Getting an Online College Degree

There are lots of great reasons to earn a college degree online. Online programs allow you to work from home, at your own schedule and pace. They also let you work around everything else in your life, like your job, kids, or other responsibilities. And, they don't leave out the option of face-to-face learning; you can always video chat with your instructors or peers.

If you want to further your education and career, but can't live the life of the average student, consider earning a college degree online.

Choosing Your Program

Before you go looking online for programs, take a while to think about what you want to get from your program and where you want to be by the end of it. You can earn everything from a certificate to an advanced degree online. So make sure you choose a program that's molded around you, instead of the other way around.

First, you need to take into account how much schooling you already have. If you already have a two-year degree or some college credit, you will want to find a program that will accept the credit you've already earned towards your degree.

Other things to consider are the time frame you have in mind; certificates can be earned in as little as a few months, while four-year and advanced degrees are obviously going to be a much longer commitment. Also decide if you want a technical degree that's going to be very job-oriented, or if you're looking for a liberal-arts degree that has a more well-rounded curriculum.

Get Your Money's Worth

It's important when looking for online degree programs that you choose one that is offered by a legitimate and properly accredited institution. There are degree mills out there that will attempt to take your money and give you a worthless slip of paper in return.

Here are some signs that a program isn't worth your money, according to the US Department of Education:

  • It offers degree credits for "life experience"
  • Degrees can be completed in very short amounts of time
  • They offer little interaction with professors
  • You pay tuition for the degree, not for the credit hour

For more information on accreditation and why it is so important, check out our article, The Low-Down on Accreditation.

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