While online learning was already a popular choice, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in students who obtained online degrees.
Online college degrees can benefit parents, military families, those trying to balance work-life, or anyone in need of flexibility.
You can earn many degrees online, and the benefits often outweigh any disadvantages of online learning. Most employers accept students with online degrees and may even praise them for the discipline it takes to be an online student.
Learn more below about the types of degrees you can earn online, the benefits and disadvantages of online degrees, getting a job with an online degree, and how to reach out to a college planning specialist.
What Degrees Can I Get Online?
Today, most colleges offer online programs, in addition to their on-campus programs, even Harvard and Yale.
Some of the most common online degrees include:
- Business administration
- Computer/information science
- Healthcare, such as medical assisting and nursing
With online learning, you can get certificates, associates, bachelor’s, master’s degrees, and even doctoral degrees.
The best degrees you can get online include:
- Business administration
- Computer science
- Engineering management
- Environmental science
- Nurse practitioner
- Human resources
- Industrial-organizational psychology
- Industrial engineering
- Healthcare administration
- Data science
- Cyber security
- Project management
- Animation and graphic design
- Criminal justice
An online degree is just as valuable and respected as a degree earned from a brick-and-mortar institution.
The only exception is if you enroll in a program that is not accredited. Unfortunately, there are scam E-learning programs, which initially gave E-learning a bad reputation.
You will need to do some research to determine whether a program is accredited. You can reach out to a college planning specialist, or school advisors, or visit one of the six regional accrediting agency’s websites, to see if your program is listed.
What are the Benefits of Online Degrees?
In-person classes can often leave students wondering, “Is college worth it?” But online learning gives students more control over their education.
One of the main benefits of online learning is a flexible schedule. It’s easier to raise a family, work, and travel, when you can work from anywhere.
Life throws curve balls and potential students may hold off on attending college because they need to relocate, cannot take time off of work, become a parent, or another major life event occurs.
When you can work at your own pace and choose your own schedule, it makes learning easier and more fun.
Online programs may also save you money in the long run. While courses are not necessarily cheaper, you will save on transportation, housing, parking, recreation, and other student fees.
Learning online allows you to use your critical thinking skills, which leads to understanding and retaining what you are learning. A study by IBM found that online students learn five times more material than students enrolled in face-to-face programs.
Online learning is a highly effective way to learn and gives you freedom and a great sense of accomplishment.
Disadvantages of Online Degrees
While many students may be thrilled to learn from home and cut out a commute or dorm costs, there are also disadvantages to getting an online degree.
If you are self-motivated and decent at time management, online courses shouldn’t be challenging.
However, online learning may be complex for those who need external motivation and an instructor to teach, mentor, and give reminders.
An online degree could also be hard on extroverts. Some individuals need face-to-face interactions, which an online program will limit.
Transferring credits may be more challenging if you change your program or transfer to a different institution. Though, this is getting easier as more schools are offering online learning.
Not all schools offer the same quality of online learning. So, choosing the right program is essential to your success.
What Do Employers Think About Online Degrees?
Securing a job with an online degree on your resume will be just as easy as finding one with a degree from a traditional program.
At one time, employers may have been suspicious of online learning. But since virtual environments are gaining popularity and accredited programs, most won’t look at an online degree differently.
What an employer will care about is your level of degree, if your institution is regionally or nationally accredited, and your experience.
Fortunately, employers recognize that online degrees require a strong work ethic, discipline, a willingness to learn, commitment, and the skills needed to do your job.
Considerations Before Enrolling in an Online Program
Before choosing a program, learn about the degree and understand what online learning requires.
You can get a quality education from the comfort of your home, at any time, if you’re willing to teach yourself, maintain a schedule, and stay organized.
Though it takes a lot of dedication and hard work, the advantages of online learning outweigh the disadvantages for many.
If you are unsure if online learning is for you, you can reach out to teachers, guidance counselors, academic advisors, and college planning specialists.
Choosing a program can be less stressful and more exciting with resources, guidance, and support.