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Online Degree Programs Are They Worth The Money

Nov 8, 2007
Today, in the comfort of your own home, it is practical and economical to pursue that long sought after degree you've desired.

Online degree programs abound worldwide from traditional universities and colleges to specialty academic centers focusing on the exact field you may be interested in.

Do you want to earn your Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice? Portland State University has just the program geared to your needs? online and on- time and according to your time schedule. Interested in the culinary arts? The New England Culinary Institute offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality and Restaurant Management.

Aside from choosing the proper program to meet your needs and interests you should make sure that the institution you plan to study with through online learning is recognized by federal and state governments - and academia in general.

Importance of Accreditation

Is your particular online degree program accredited (by an accrediting body recognized by the US Department of Education)?

Accrediting bodies ensure the course curriculum's are approved by the federal government and these accrediting bodies themselves are recognized by the US Department of Education. The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT0) in the New England Culinary Institute's case and the Northwest Commission on Colleges & Universities in Portland State University's case for example.

Why is this important to you?

This is important to you because in the future you may want to rise to the next academic level by studying for your Master's or Doctorate degree. If your first-level degree is not from an accredited institution it will not be recognized. How's that for wasting time, money and nights of sleep because the institution you chose wasn't up to snuff in the eyes of the Department of Education?

Also, it looks better on your resume to advertise that your studies were delivered to you by a reputable school. One that is recognized for its quality, government-approved programs.

Online Degree Programs Checklist
There are some things to consider before choosing to further your studies in an online degree program:

* Do you have the discipline to study your 'discipline' outside of a classroom setting where there is no instructor or students? The only person you will be bringing an apple to is yourself.

* Are you up-to-date in the personal computer department? Does your home computer meet the system requirements required for the delivery of your particular program? And if not, can you afford to upgrade?

* Is online learning with its e-mails, web-based tutorials, online documentation, web-chats and assignment drop-boxes for you? Or would you prefer a good old-fashioned dog-eared textbook, sitting at a desk, staring at a dusty blackboard?

* Is your field of study better suited to a classroom setting? Some programs work well either way, some miss out a little because of the need for human physical interaction (e.g. hands-on work in a group setting sharing resources, and face-to face problem solving).

When your decision has been made to pursue distance education with an online degree program the worldwide web offers endless information on courses of study. Invest the time necessary to compare schools, programs, courses and the way in which these programs are delivered by each institution.

It would serve you well, if possible, to talk to others who have taken the program you're interested in through the online degree program system. Ask them how they enjoyed the online learning experience. Ask them if they would do it that way all over again if they had to or would they choose a traditional learning system?

It's funny, though, with the rapid advancements in technology, online degree programs may be the 'new' tradition in the future. Bricks and mortar learning will never cease but the wave of applicants enrolling in online programs suggests that this is the alternative 'tradition' for the 21st century.

So check out all the options available to you in distance education. The perfect online degree program may be a mouse click away from you. Just make sure your shirt-sleeve doesn't get stuck in the macaroni and cheese dinner sitting in front of your monitor, as you make the move to study from the comfort of your own home.

And finally.

Buyer Beware!
Before you enroll in an online degree program check out the US Department of Education's website or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to make sure your program is accredited.
About the Author
Ryan is an expert with online degree programs! Please visit OnlineShoppingProductReviews
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