Most of us are used to the traditional concept of education. You search for the right program, or at least the closest program that offers something close to what you need. You stand in line for hours waiting to register, fight for parking places to rush to class, and stay up all night trying to cram for the next big exam. Now that you are “all grown up” the idea of going back to school and trying to juggle all of your responsibilities of a family and some how managing to keep your job so that you do not starve to death while you pursue the means to that next big promotion, is well…a bit overwhelming. And it seems that every where you go online you are seeing another ad about some new online degree program which, given the importance of continuing education in the job market today, sounds rather tempting. However, what can you expect from an online program? Are they legitimate degrees from accredited universities?
The simple answer to those questions is…yes, you can obtain a legitimate degree from a regionally accredited university right from the comfort and convenience of your own home. Understanding the high demand for continuing education, professional development, and advanced degrees in the ever changing and increasingly complexed job market today and given the challenges for many working adults that would prevent them from obtaining further traditional education, many universities and academic institutions have started offering programs online. Distance education providers includes colleges, universities, and other schools from all over the country including some top ranked universities like The University of Florida, The University of Cincinnati, Eastern Kentucky University, Mountain State University, and the University of Saint Mary just to name but a handful.
The types of degrees that you can earn online vary from professional certifications that can be obtained over a short period of time to more traditional bachelor’s degrees. Online degree seeking students are not limited to only undergraduate work either, many universities offer graduate certificates, Master’s degrees and even doctorates all online. Once such example is The University of Florida’s Doctor of Pharmacy online degree program which has been “ranked as one of the top 10 in the nation by US News and World Report”.
The different fields in which online degrees are being offered also leaves students with a lot of options. With online programs being offered in field such as Education, Criminal Justice, Management, Health Care, and Fire and Safety just to list a few, you have almost as many educational options online as you have had with traditional, on campus education in the past. The cost of online degree programs are fairly comparable to that of more traditional degree offerings. Most universities have kept the tuition costs for the online programs of study at around the same amount that on campus students are paying. And since a lot of the course material is all online or maybe included in the cost of tuition, you may actually end up paying less in the long run for your degree.
So if you have been debating on furthering your education but were worried about finding a “real” degree program, do not worry- there are plenty out there to choose from.
By: Bailey Smith
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