If you’re looking to advance your career and add new knowledge to your arsenal, an online degree is a good way to do so. Online programs can work for just about anyone, but they work particularly well for busy professionals and non-traditional students who juggle heavy home responsibilities in addition to their school work. Take a closer look at how online degrees are viewed by your potential employer, as well as some of the benefits of online degree programs.
So are online degrees worth it? The answer is yes, as these benefits show:
1. Greater Flexibility in Online Degree Programs
If you’ve never studied online, you may be asking, “How does online college work?” While each program is set up slightly different, you will find a greater degree of flexibility in online coursework. Your lectures, if the course includes lectures, are often recorded, allowing you to watch on your own time. Some courses require no lecture at all, but are project-based, taking you through written instruction and guiding you through hands-on learning opportunities.
2. Self-Paced Learning that Works with Your Schedule
In line with greater flexibility, online learning allows you to work at your own pace. While most programs will have some deadlines built-in to ensure you finish on time, you can fit your coursework into the nooks and crannies of your day. This, in turn, allows you to better balance your work, home, and other life responsibilities with the demands of school. It also allows you to dig deeper into those topics that are interesting to you, which a traditional course would not allow. For Alexis Kievning ‘18 ‘20 MBA – Organizational Leadership this flexibility has allowed her to keep up with her busy work schedule and get her masters. “I’m able to plan my assignments out ahead of time so that way I don’t schedule too many meetings on days that I know I have a big assignment due,” Alexis said.
3. Learn Better Time Management
One of the benefits of online learning that employers recognize is the time management skills that online students gain. When you are taking a class without a classroom and set schedule, you must learn to balance your time in order to stay on track with your assignments. Planning ahead, working when you have the time to work, and managing your time efficiently are all skills that translate well into the workplace when you are done with your online training.
4. Gain Online Communication Skills
Communication skills are valuable in the workplace, and online communication skills are becoming increasingly important. As businesses become more and more invested in cloud-based technology, workers are spending more and more time communicating via chat groups and email. Even within the same office building, it’s not uncommon for important decisions to take place via email or online chats, rather than face-to-face interactions. This type of environment requires a different form of communication, and it is something that online education helps to teach.
For Alexis, this is something she has been doing firsthand in her courses. “I just did a group project with some people and I had a group chat with them so I was constantly talking to them all the time,” she said. When you’re interacting with professors and classmates in a virtual environment, you must learn these skills, which then translate into your work environment.
5. Improve Your Tech Skills
Online education takes place in a technology-rich environment. Uploading coursework to the cloud, accessing forums, using video chat platforms, working with virtual teams, and gaining familiarity with tech tools and software that you normally wouldn’t interact with are all part of online learning. Though these may not be the same tools and processes you use in the workplace, you will gain valuable skills that will make future technology easier to implement and use. You may also gain basic technology troubleshooting skills.
6. Lower Costs
It’s no secret, a college education is costly. For many, online education provides the opportunity to cut some of those costs. In addition to potentially lower tuition, students who study online need fewer school supplies, don’t spend money on gas or public transit, and do not have to pay student service fees for using on-campus resources. Often, online courses offer ebooks instead of hardcover books, further reducing the costs students have to pay for their education.
7. Global Networking
Finally, an online degree program, just like a degree in a brick-and-mortar school, provides opportunities to build your professional network. The difference is that with an online degree program, that network becomes global. The people you interact with in your virtual classroom can be from many different parts of the world, and you can begin building relationships that can help you in your future professional life.
Know Before You Go
If you’re looking into earning your degree online it’s important you learn whether or not the university is accredited to ensure that it is reputable. The main factor that separates respected online degrees from those that are less respected is accreditation. If your online degree is from an accredited online university, then your degree will be widely respected by employers. At JWU we’re accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE).
If you’re ready to earn your undergraduate degree or graduate degree online, contact JWU. Johnson & Wales University offers high-quality, professional-focused degree programs that have defined our 100-year history. For more information, complete the “Request Info” form on this page, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].