There are many things to consider before applying to any higher education program: quality of the program and professors, time commitments, and how it will impact your future goals.
Along with these considerations, it is important to weigh the benefits to getting a degree from a brick and mortar institution as well as through an online program. One of those benefits of an online schooling is in regard to the financial advantages.
Here are a few if you are considering beginning an education with an off campus learning program:
For most traditional degree programs, the costs for a graduate level education can be in excess of $80,00-90,000 per year – ouch! This can mean that while a master’s or doctorate degree will earn this money back, it will take longer than if you were to invest in an online course that has a lower initial expense.
The average yearly tuition is $500-625 per online course credit versus $500-850 per on-campus course credit. The main difference for these costs is that there are fewer on-campus expenses such as housing and meals. There may also be other on-campus fees for things like parking, activities, and lab fees.
Another value to consider is regarding higher pay scales. The most recent studies unanimously conclude that the higher the degree level, the higher the average salaries offered to employees. These are seen most commonly in professions where licenses and ongoing instruction are expected and encouraged. These professions include nursing, counselors and psychiatrists, attorneys, and within the sciences and technology fields, to name a few.
According to U.S. News’ “Best Graduate Schools 2018” guidebook, “Georgetown data show that in engineering, for instance, a bachelor’s degree returns $83,000 a year on average while a master’s pays $120,000; a doctorate pays $150,000. People with a master’s degree in education receive about $23,000 more than those with a bachelor’s.”
Pursuing a promotion is another viable reason to advance your degree. Many employers will match or assist with the costs associated with online training advancement. They realize that the more you know, the better you serve the company as a whole. A graduate degree is an excellent representative of this quality.
Check with your Human Resources department to see if these benefits are available and if you meet any of their guidelines associated. They may have specific courses that they can recommend for your personal advancement. They may also have a list of schools that they will accept a graduate degree from that will help your career whereas there may be schools that they will not recognize. Be careful to do your research with your current employer before you decide on an online institution.
Whether you are just beginning your career, or you want to change your current professional path, a graduate degree can assist you with better initial job placement in your desired industry. Future employers will weigh all your learning alongside others who may or may not have a graduate degree. Having a formal degree under your belt will give you a noticeable edge when competing in the marketplace.
Pro Tip: Having a portfolio of your work previous to your education or job placement application can boost your chances of getting hired. Include both projects that you have lead or participated with that are clear representations of your skills and abilities.
If your goal is to get a degree so that you can begin a small business startup, you’ll be better prepared to represent yourself, your clients and your vendors when the opportunities arise. You’ll have confidence that you are equipped with the information you need to get in front of your competitors.
Many employers are seeking soft skills values – they want to know that you have determination, persistence, and initiative that will affect your on-the-job performance. These skills are not learned just by having a graduate degree, but savvy employers understand that during the process of gaining the education you desire, you will have developed these qualities.
Other skills that are of great significance during an online learning process are learning over the internet to improve your technical skills. You’ll learn how to effectively navigate webinars, chat software, and assorted software programs. You may even learn how these technologies interact on a variety of devices, such as a desktop computer, tablet or mobile phone.
Additionally, you’ll develop great self-discipline. It will be up to you to fulfill the terms of the course syllabus for each class, check in with lectures, fulfill assignments, and interact with professors and other students. It will also be up to you to inquire about financial arrangements, scholarships, or post-graduation assistance with job placement or advancement. All of these situations will necessitate your discipline and follow through to fulfill the degree.
All of these intangibles in addition to the more visible benefits of gaining an education via online learning will increase your own personal value perception as well as the perception of potential and current employers and set you up for success.
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