It's no secret that earning a college degree can benefit you throughout your lifetime. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in 2009 the median weekly wage for workers aged 25 years and older with only a high school diploma was $626. Workers with a bachelor's degree had median weekly wages of $1,025 during the same period which amounts to almost $400 a week and more than $600,000 over a 30-year career in increased earnings. That additional income can make a huge difference in the quality of your life in the future, but how do you attend college if you're already working and perhaps starting to raise a family? The many distance learning programs available can be the ideal solution for earning a college degree around a busy schedule.
Choosing the Right Universities for Distance Learning
Online education is here to stay and is more popular than ever due to students being able to take classes as their schedule allows and from the comfort of their own home. Many states are even using forms of online education for their elementary and secondary schools with a Department of Education report estimating that in 2007-2008 more than a million students took online classes. The current job market is also helping to make online education more popular as many employees are realizing that a college degree can help them get started in a new career or help their advancement in an existing occupation. The big question is how do you know which universities for distance learning might have the right program for you?
Distance Learning Degree Programs
If you already know what career you plan to pursue and what college degrees can help, then you're ahead of the game, but if you don't know, the BLS can provide a lot of assistance. The BLS has information on just about any occupation you can imagine and provides data such as:
- Nature of work
- Required training and education
- Estimated current salaries
- Projected career field growth
- Industries employing that occupation
Once you've decided on a career and degree program, Internet search engines and career assistance websites can help you locate universities for distance learning offering that online degree program.
Distance learning Degree Program Ratings
Your list of universities for distance learning offering your desired degree program narrows your search a little, but there are a few more considerations to take into account before selecting the school that's right for you.
- Courses--The school has your degree, but does it offer the courses you need for your career? Many degree programs offer specialization within the major
- Reputation--How do the degrees each school awards rate with employers? Talk to some Human Resources professionals within the industry you hope to enter for school recommendations
- References--Talk to some students currently in the schools' programs and some who have already graduated to get feedback on the quality of each school's curriculum and instructors
- Schedule--Many schools have a schedule of how fast a student should progress through their degree program; make sure their schedule matches your personal schedule and budget
There are numerous highly rated universities for distance learning for you to choose from and it should be a fairly easy task to find one that can help you reach your professional and personal goals.
Jeffrey Anderson is a graduate of V.M.I. and served as an officer in the Marine Corps. He worked in the business world for 25 years prior to retiring to write full time.
Bureau of Labor Statistics--Employment Projections-Education Pays • http://www.bls.gov/ • http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm
U.S. Department of Education Evaluation of Online Education • http://www2.ed.gov/ • http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf
Bureau of Labor Statistics--Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011 • http://www.bls.gov • http://www.bls.gov/oco/ooh_index.htm