The Advantages to Earning Online Degrees

By: Susan Slobac

There are several reasons why increasing numbers of people are choosing to earn online college degrees. In fact, as computers and the Internet become more and more a part of people's lives, online schools could well be the future of education. While there are some subject areas - such as performing arts, team sports and sciences requiring hands-on lab work - that are completely inappropriate to online learning, many others are. These include a great number of online degrees that qualify people for a wide variety of jobs and careers.

The biggest advantage to online degrees is that they can be earned at home. Additionally, such programs typically offer flexible scheduling, giving a student up to one year to complete requirements for a given class.

With college costs spiraling ever upward as one U.S. Administration after another diverts money and resources away from education to private corporate interests, the idea of going off to a traditional college or university has become out of reach for many. While tuition and cost of books for an online university is comparable to that of a traditional 'brick and mortar' university, the traditional student will avoid many extra incidental fees frequently charged by such institutions. Such a student can also save on living and travel expenses by remaining at home. (An online student can also be more productive; one thing that online virtual university lacks are the 'beer parties' and other types of distractions that can cause traditional students to have problems).

There is another secret of online learning that can help one earn a $22,000 degree for little more than the cost of a widescreen digital television. That is the College Level Examination Program, or CLEP. For under $100, the online student can 'test out' of a course on nearly any subject in which s/he has competence, earning up to 12 credit hours. When one considers that the average cost of a single credit hour at a traditional university can cost over $200, CLEP credits are an attractive bargain indeed.

In fact, increasing numbers of traditional brick and mortar universities are offering online college degrees for a wide variety of programs and levels from the Associate's all the way to the Ph.D. Currently, there are 162 institutions across the nation offering such online degrees.

Some hesitate to enroll in online schools. This is understandable; like the airplane and the automobile over a century ago, online learning something quite new, and like those whose battle cry in 1900 was 'get a horse!' there are many who are skeptical of the value of online college degrees.

In defending online degrees to prospective employers, those who earned such degrees can point out that (1) online universities are accredited just like their brick-and-mortar counterparts, and are usually closely associated with such institutions; (2) completing online degrees requires uncommon time management skills; and (3) these programs give students tremendous experience with new software programs - qualifications that are definitely valued by employers.

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