Guest Blogger: Sarah Rawson
If you’ve just completed your college degree or are about to, despite the sense of accomplishment you feel, you might wonder, “What now?”
Even if you achieve successfully employment, you may still want to consider continuing your education. However, with student loans to be paid and other ongoing life responsibilities that may seem a daunting prospect, despite the obvious advantages. Online learning is an excellent solution as it allows you to pursue an advanced degree while still enabling you to get on with your life.
Don’t be left behind
The online market in higher education has grown at an incredible rate and more than two million Americans took college level courses online in the last year alone. The advantages for a student are obvious when compared to traditional teaching methods, especially someone who is already in the workplace and wants to improve their skills and job prospects by taking a further degree. Online learning enables the student to be free from geographical constraints and they can fit a course around their work schedule, which is a huge advantage and an obvious reason why the trend for E-Learning is growing year on year. Before you enrol on any online course you should check their accreditation details and ensure that the qualification that you are considering is recognised and accepted widely, especially by your potential or existing employer.
One of the aspects of our working life that seems to be changing is the fact that many of us now experience not just one but a series of careers in sometimes altogether different environments and pursuits. Quite often people will re-evaluate their life goals and also maybe consider changing the work that they do in order to gain more job satisfaction or simply to take on a new challenge. Online learning gives you the opportunity to gain a new set of skills and qualifications that you can then use to find a new career, whilst still maintaining that all important regular pay check in your existing work.
Keeping a lid on costs
A key consideration in many choices that we make in our life relates to the costs involved and affordability is certainly an issue when considering further education. Many online courses are less expensive than traditional schooling as the provider does not have the same overheads of maintaining a building etc that they would have to pass on to the student. Another good point is that many courses offer digital textbooks which of course can enable you to make substantial savings compared to the cost of buying textbooks. Many of the courses available offer an inclusive price that includes all the modules and coursework materials, so you will very often have no unexpected or hidden costs to contend with. You should bear in mind that whilst there are obvious benefits and savings to digital textbooks, they are unlikely in certain circumstances to offer the same comprehensive level of information as a purchased text book and some people prefer having the hard copy to refer to as a n aid for revision and sometimes for ease of reference, so you should consider what is best for you.
The fact that you can complete your course online and within a timeframe that works for you is excellent flexibility in itself, but you can also enjoy the benefit of being able to transfer course credits in certain circumstances and even if for some reason you decide that an online course you have chosen is not right for you, there are a good number of colleges who will accept what credits you have gained rather than make you start all over again. You should make every effort to check the acceptability level of the course that you are considering online and it is unwise to assume that all courses have the same level of acceptance and recognition, if you fail to research this aspect thoroughly you could in some circumstances paying for a course that will not be accepted by you potential employer of by a traditional college if you are moving on to them afterwards.
The key to online learning is that you always have a fair degree of control. With the added control comes the ability to achieve your goals at a pace suitable to your own personal circumstances and finances.
Sarah Rawson is an avid blogger and independent researcher of distance learning programs. She has recently been researching various Pharmacy courses and the benefits of studying for a Doctorate of Pharmacy online. She reports her findings to various higher education blogs.