Online Master’s Degrees – Is Grad School Right For You?
An online master’s degree is an attractive option for many professional people in middle of their careers. Master’s degree programs with a focus on work-related skills continue to be popular, and qualifications like these are highly desirable, if not essential, for some jobs in engineering, counseling, nursing and many other fields.
In almost any profession, keeping up to date with modern technology and new practices can be a challenge. That’s just one reason why many experienced employees recognize that learning has become a lifelong process.
Online colleges and campus based institutions have been quick to respond prospective students’ hunger for graduate level professional education. New courses are being developed that match applied components and practical work experience with training in subject theory.
Are you thinking that an online master’s degree course could help you take your career to the next level? If so, it’s important to have clear goals and answer some pertinent questions about your own motives as well as what an online college can offer you.
1. Will you respond well to an online learning environment?
Prospective students are often drawn to online education for the independence and flexibility it offers. But success in this style of learning calls for high levels of motivation and strong organizational abilities. These may already be part of your skill set, especially if you’re a seasoned professional.
2. Can a master’s degree help you to achieve your goals?
Going to grad school is a major investment of time as well as money — so make sure you have a plan of what you want to achieve before you commit to a program. You may be in a career which already places a premium on graduate qualifications. But in some fields a graduate degree does not automatically translate into a higher salary or a promotion.
3. Do you know enough about the school?
Doing proper research before you enroll is essential. Make sure that you find out whether the college and program are accredited. Check on the status of accrediting agency as well. In the US, you can find out about the accreditation of schools by visiting the US Department of Education’s website.
You should also learn about the way the course will be taught. Some online classes are ‘asynchronous’ and allow you to set your own study schedule within a specific time frame. Other ‘synchronous’ classes may be taught in real time and require you to attend class on a fixed timetable. You may also have to attend residential courses on campus, even if the rest of your program is taught by distance learning.
Other important considerations might include what limits there are on class sizes, what student support is offered and what equipment and resources you will need to interact effectively with teachers and fellow students.
Your dedication and determination will be central to making a success of grad school, along with the support of family, friends and employers. The advent of online master’s degree programs offers new opportunities to achieve your higher education ambitions.