Earning a Bachelor’s Degree Online

In today’s competitive marketplace, employers demand that their workers have a college education. Today, distance learning makes getting an online bachelor degree possible without having to enroll in a college campus program.

Why Get a Bachelor Degree Online?

Advances in technology allow you to get the same quality of education from distance learning as you would from a campus program.

Here are some additional advantages of earning a bachelor degree online:

  • Work full-time while completing an online bachelor degree
  • Learn organization, research, and time management for today’s fast-paced industries
  • Become proficient in internet technologies and web-based research
  • Communicate and collaborate with peers and professors around the world
  • No travel or commuting expenses

Earning Potential

There’s no doubt that having a bachelor degree will help you earn more in your profession. On average, people with a bachelor degree earn between $10,000 to $20,000 more a year than people who have had some college education. A person with a bachelor’s degree will earn almost twice as much over their lifetime as someone with only a high school education ($2.1 million compared to $1.2 million).

Types of Bachelor Degrees

There are two types of bachelor degrees available from online degree programs. The bachelor degree in the arts (B.A.) is designed to provide a broad liberal arts and science background. The bachelor degree in science (B.S.) covers the same areas of study for a B.A., but is geared towards education for a particular profession.

The most common bachelor degree programs include:

  • Business Management
  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Information Technology Management
  • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Computer Science
  • Software Engineering
  • International Business Administration
  • Human Resource Management
  • Safety Engineering
  • Computer Network Management
  • Visual Communications
  • Marketing

Top Careers for Bachelor Degree Earners

With the median wage increasing for workers with higher education degrees, the advantage of having a bachelor degree is obvious. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the following occupations, which require bachelor degrees, will grow faster through 2016 than other occupations requiring the same education:

  • Network Systems and Data Communications Analyst
  • Computer Applications Software Engineer
  • Personal Financial Advisor
  • Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor
  • Financial Analyst
  • Forensic Science Technician
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Computer Systems Software Engineer
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrator

Choosing an Online Bachelor Degree Program

There are many factors that go into choosing the right online bachelor degree program. First you need to decide what degree you want to pursue. If you are changing careers or just trying to increase your marketability in your current profession, find out which degree will serve you best.

Next, search for distance learning programs which are fully accredited. A degree from a school which is not accredited may not be recognized or accepted by your employers. You will also be unable to transfer credits to other schools if your degree comes for an online school which is unaccredited.

Finally, research the admission requirements and expenses for the online school to which you are applying. You will need to get your finances in order, apply for financial aid, and make sure that you meet all of the prerequisites for admission

Pros and Cons:Traditional vs. Online

You have many options in your education now-a-days. In addition to a degree choice, you have the decision between a ground campus and online degree College Student Reviews-Pro-Conprograms. There are pros and cons to each. Take some time to carefully prioritize what’s most important at this stage in your life. Here’s a general list designed to get you started. Of course, you should cater this list to your personal circumstances to decide what’s best for you. Whatever choice you make, Grantham University wishes you every success in meeting your educational goals.

ONLINE EDUCATION

Pros:

  • Convenience: Do you have a full-time job? Are you an active member in the military? Do you have family members, including children, at home who you care for? Whatever the reason, not everyone can make time to sit in a lecture hall at 11 a.m. five days a week. If this sounds familiar, an online education would be ideal because of the flexible nature of classes offered. You complete your degree while balancing your work and family responsibilities.
  • Ability to Set Your Own Pace: Some online degree programs have frequent start dates – some even weekly. This allows you the opportunity to complete courses quickly.
  • Affordability: Not all online degrees are more affordable than traditional or community college rates, but some are. Enrolling in an online degree program ensures you don’t have to spend money on gas, parking or child care.
  • Cultural Diversity: Online students are in class with faculty members and students from around the globe.
  • Technology Benefits: Taking classes online and becoming familiar with modern technology will help you in your career. Been on a job interview lately? Employers will naturally like your professional demeanor and upbeat attitude, but a wide range of practical experience with computer software could set you apart from the competition.

Cons:

  • Time management required: Sure, completing homework at your convenience and on your schedule is a nice perk of enrolling in an online course. But you still have to have the discipline to finish assignments with a deadline in place. If you work 40 hours a week, budgeting time for homework could present challenges.
  • Limited face-to-face interaction: You’ll still get to meet other students in an online setting, but it will typically be via chat rooms or class discussion threads. If you don’t mind independent learning (conversely, built-in support systems through discussion boards exist in many online settings) with limited live interaction, this won’t be a problem.
  • Natural technology problems: Sometimes, you don’t have any control over the situation, but a computer might experience an operation failure. A huge storm may knock out your Internet connection. Without the Internet, you cannot complete your online course work. Make sure you have a backup plan in the event of a power issue. It always seems to happen during the most inopportune time.

TRADITIONAL EDUCATION

Pros:

  • Networking opportunities: Naturally, you meet more people face-to-face while attending a traditional university. As a result, your contacts will grow, and your networking opportunities will increase. (Of course, for employers paying for tuition reimbursement, this may mean that your employees are networking with future employers.)
  • Experience new places: This holds greater significance for out-of-state students who are not familiar with their university’s town. For some students, experiencing a different part of the country (or the world) is a valuable part of going to school that assists in areas of maturity, diversity and social opportunity.
  • On-site facilities: Students who enroll in a traditional university have the opportunity to take advantage of the institution’s many facilities, including the student union, gym, and athletic stadium.

Cons:

  • Strict scheduling: Sometimes enrolling in a specific course at a traditional university can present scheduling challenges, particularly for non-traditional students. If a desired course is only offered during the day, it’s difficult for working adults to set aside their full-time job just to sign up.
  • Affordability: Cost will vary, but admission into a traditional university, especially if it’s out of state, won’t come cheap.
  • Limited personal attention: This is particularly true in bigger state universities, where undergraduate lecture halls packed to the brim with 400-500 students is commonplace. One-on-one instruction doesn’t exist as much in these types of settings.

What to Expect From an Online Degree Program?

Emineo Media College Student ReviewsOnline degree programs come in a variety of types, from strictly-scheduled degrees for traditional students to self-paced programs for working adults. Classes usually communicate and submit assignments through special education software.

Online Degree Program Options and Types

The spectrum of online degree programs begins with hybrid programs, which are taught partly online and partly through in-person lectures or tests. These programs, along with some online programs, are set on a course schedule that resembles a traditional degree program in many ways and is usually designed for traditional students rather than working adults. Assignments and tests often have set due dates, and students are required to submit their work and participate in class discussions on a regular basis.

The other end of the online degree spectrum is often found in continuing education courses or college degrees for working adults. These courses may not have a set end date, much less due dates for assignments or tests. Often, these programs allow students to work whenever they desire and take as long as necessary to complete each class and, ultimately, their degree.

Most online degree programs fall somewhere between these two extremes, usually operating on a semester system that requires students to turn in all assignments by a particular semester-end date, but allowing students to work at their own pace in the mean time to complete assignments and tests.

What to Expect From Online Classes

Online classes use a variety of means for communication, including email, class forums and message boards, instant messengers and at times voice or video conferencing. Many times, online classes use specially designed education software that incorporates some or all of these features into a single package that can be accessed from a web browser. This gives students access to a centralized set of message boards through which they can communicate with the rest of their class, gives teachers a built-in email system for communicating with students and passing out or reviewing assignments and provides an automated testing and grading system for some types of assignments.

Usually, online classes have some form of participation requirement, both for the purpose of keeping students from becoming isolated, and for building teamwork within a class to help solve problems and reinforce key concepts. This participation requirement may take the form of a posting requirement on the class boards or it may mean class assignments in which students must work together.

How Does an Online Degree Work?

Emineo Media College Student ReviewsStudents in an online degree program learn through the Internet and web-based software. Online degrees follow a spectrum, from strictly scheduled to self-paced, depending on the type of program, and are usually presented via an online education portal system.

Online Degree Format and Pacing

Online degrees are available through traditional education institutions in a fully online format or a hybrid degree format. A hybrid degree format includes both online and campus-based classes. There are also many online institutions, with no physical campus, that offer educational opportunities to students.

Class formats for online degrees vary, and it’s important for students to enroll in a class format that fits their schedule. The more traditionally-scheduled class assigns and requires students to complete regular assignments and tests by certain dates throughout the semester. A self-paced course allows students to work at whatever pace they may wish, for as long as necessary to complete the course. Many classes fall somewhere in between these two formats and require students to have all work submitted by a particular date at the end of the semester.

Online Degree Specifics and Requirements

Because online degrees are not set in a physical classroom, students are required to show some sort of participation, either by posting a certain number of times in the class discussion boards or by completing class assignments with other students. In hybrid classes, this requirement is usually waived, as students must show up for a physical class on certain days throughout the semester. In continuing education programs or degrees for working adults, this participation requirement may be less stringent.

Most online classes are presented via a website that integrates forums, instant messenger, e-mail and streaming audio and video. Programs also offer automatic testing and real-time assignment review capabilities to create an online classroom environment for students. This ‘virtual classroom’ allows students to interact with each other and communicate with their teachers, along with viewing class calendars or informational posts. Teachers have the option of posting lectures and assignments as video, audio or text files.

Options for Online Degree Programs

Emineo Media College Student ReviewsMany options for online degree programs are the same as those for residential students, including what school to attend, what degree to pursue and what major to choose. Degree options in many online programs are as varied as on-campus and range from associate degrees through doctorates in dozens of majors.

Enrollment in online courses (those in which 80% or more of the content is presented online) grew dramatically from 1.98 million students in 2003 to 4.6 million in 2008 (www.sloanconsortium.org). Online degree programs are available in more than a dozen fields and are ideal for nontraditional students who work full time, have children or are otherwise unable to attend more conventional campus programs.

Options in Areas of Study Available for Online Degrees

Online degree programs typically offer the same coursework as campus-based programs. Some of the fields in which online degrees are available are:

  • Social services and public administration
  • Public safety and law enforcement
  • Medical/Health professions and psychology
  • Mechanic and repair technologies
  • Legal
  • Engineering and engineering technologies
  • Education
  • Computer sciences and communication technologies
  • Communication and journalism
  • Business

Options for Campus Time Required for Online Degrees

Despite being taught online using Web conferences, prerecorded lectures, online videos, teleconferences, bulletin boards and typed lectures, some online degree programs require students to spend minimal amounts of time on campus. Although students communicate regularly with professors and classmates through message boards, e-mail, instant messages and chat rooms, time on campus allows them to meet with professors, advisors and classmates and to attend workshops.

Other programs are hybrid or blended courses. These classes have a sizable amount of the content presented online and often use online discussions. The number of face-to-face classes is reduced, but is still a substantial part of the program. The student must decide which program type will best meet his or her needs.

Colleges and Universities that Offer Free Courses Online

Emineo Media College Student ReviewsIn recent years, many colleges and universities have decided to make course materials such as lectures, tests, notes and readings available for free on the Internet. These schools, which include world-class institutions like MIT and UC Berkeley, are offering an incredible opportunity for learning to people around the world.

Top Free Online Schools

A handful of colleges and universities have decided to offer free courses, assignments and lectures online. These materials are available through a variety of means, including streaming video, podcasts and downloadable lecture notes. Some of the most well-regarded of these schools include:

 

Using Free University Resources

To start using the free university resources in the list above, go to the school’s website, scroll through the list of available courses and lectures, make your selection and view or download the available content. Keep in mind that you may also need to download some new applications, such as iTunes or Adobe Reader, to take full advantage of all course materials.

A few schools, such as the University of Washington, require you to register using an email address, but most demand no registration or login at all.

What are the Pros and Cons of Free Universities

There are a few drawbacks to free course materials. You won’t get college credit for taking these courses and you won’t have access to professors or other students. Also, many courses include reading lists filled with books that are not available for free, requiring you to purchase them if you want to take full advantage of the course.

Furthermore, some free courses offer just six or ten web pages of brief text followed by a multiple-choice quiz. For many students, this doesn’t offer as rich of a learning experience as the in-depth readings, classroom discussions and group study sessions encountered in a traditional online degree program.

Still, many free course offerings are surprisingly comprehensive, including dozens of hours of audio lectures, supplemental movies, interactive quizzes and self-directed assignments. For example, UC Berkeley archives each lecture for courses as diverse as General Astronomy, Heidegger and Human Emotion, and then makes them available as podcasts.

Online Accredited Degree Programs: College and University Options

Emineo Media College Student ReviewsAccreditation from a recognized agency attests to the quality of online programs offered at traditional and online-only schools. Even degrees that cannot be fully completed online may have hybrid programs that give a student the opportunity to complete the majority of coursework and then take an internship or clinical lab on-campus.

What Colleges and Universities Offer Accredited Degree Programs Online?

Communications technology allows colleges and universities to offer online degree programs. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education database of accredited schools (www.ope.ed.gov) can guide a prospective student to accredited degree programs offered over the Internet. Because program offerings change, prospective students may wish to follow up on colleges selected through the database by visiting the college’s website, which may also allow students to apply for admission online.

Types of Degrees Available

A prospective student can earn any degree that is available at traditional colleges online with the exception of degree programs that require hands-on training. In addition to a full range of degrees, including doctorate programs, colleges offer GED programs and certificates of achievement through online programs. Online degree completion programs allow a student with some college credit through earlier on-campus studies to fulfill the remaining degree requirements online.

Some associate’s degree programs can be taken entirely online. Students can earn an Associate of Arts in Psychology from an accredited degree program. Others include Associate of Applied Science in Human Services, Associate of Interdisciplinary Studies and Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems.

Bachelor’s degrees that can be earned online from an accredited college include Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Transfer students can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Studies, Bachelor of Liberal Studies and Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Master’s degrees that are accredited can be earned online. Many schools offer online master’s degrees in education, business, psychology and information technology.

Types of Schools

Schools such as the University of Phoenix, Kaplan University and Capella University offer postsecondary education entirely online. Many traditional colleges have expanded their degree programs to an online presence. Some disciplines, such as nursing and engineering, are often presented as a hybrid course. Students attend clinical labs and workshops on-campus, but complete coursework online.