Will an Online Degree Help Your Career?

September 20th, 2017

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Earning an online degree may help advance your career. As you work while earning your degree, you’ll be able to apply your new skills and potentially get promoted. However, there are many aspects to consider before enrolling in a program. Follow these guidelines to determine whether an online degree will help your career.

Research School Accreditation

Ensure the school is regionally accredited by an agency that is recognized by either the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Accreditation shows the school meets specific academic standards and that graduates are prepared for the workforce. Although most schools list accreditation on their websites, research an institution’s credentials to ensure they’re legitimate. Some schools claim to be accredited by bodies that either don’t exist or aren’t reputable.

Obtain Support Services

You need someone to advise you on which program to earn your degree in and to answer your questions. You need to know whether the curriculum for the online program covers the skills needed to advance in your work. Also, if you completed prior coursework, you need to know whether previous credits are transferable to your current program. In addition, you need to ensure your credits will transfer to another school if you decide to change programs. Furthermore, you need to know whether the services will provide support between the time you finish your education and secure your next job.

Watch for Red Flags

If information about support services isn’t visible on the school’s website, or you have a difficult time getting answers when you call, you probably won’t receive the level of support you need to succeed. If a school has a low completion rate, academic support for students may be weak. In addition, if the school pressures you to take out loans for their online degree program, especially private loans, or the student loan default rate is high, the school may be more interested in taking your money than providing an education. Furthermore, if graduates have low employment rates, the school’s career services department may be lacking or nonexistent.

Apply New Skills in Your Workplace

Because you can work while taking classes, there won’t be a gap between finishing your course and showing what you learned. Since you demonstrated skills such as time management, self-motivation, collaboration, computer literacy and independent learning, you may be able to use your degree to be promoted within the organization.

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