Congratulations on your degree! What are you going to do now? Get a job and work for a while? Go travelling? What about getting your master’s degree? But, if you’re like me, you probably have a lot of debt from student loans and think that you can’t really afford going back to school. On the contrary, there is a way you can pursue a master’s without breaking your bank, an online master’s program. Below are some things to think about before completely ruling out getting a master’s degree, as well as some of the benefits of doing an online program.
Helps with Job Opportunities
Over the past few years, there has been a growth in online education. Around 86% of traditional colleges offer online, master’s degrees including Ohio University, the 9th oldest public university in the United States, as well as the University of Texas at El Paso which has been awarded the #2 most diverse college in the US for awarded degrees to Hispanics. There are a growing number of people who believe that obtaining an online degree is more legitimate than they used to, especially from accredited and established institutions. So, if you are looking into a job that you are heavily interested in but requires a master’s degree, pursuing one online might be a great opportunity to become eligible for that job without breaking your bank.
Difference in Quality?
For most online master’s programs, especially those of accredited institutions, the answer is no. Some studies have also been made, such as the study by Thomas Russell of North Carolina State University, stating that the study revealed that there was no significant difference between the quality of education offered by online classes in comparison to traditional classrooms. But, unfortunately, there are still some employers that believe there is a difference, so it is just a matter of researching and choosing a school carefully, as well as looking for accreditation and strong programs. That way, you can counter the validity of your degree and prove you’ve worked as hard as other graduate students for your master’s.
Less Expensive Than Regular Grad School
Although this may not be the case for all online graduate programs, most are considerably cheaper than on-campus graduate programs due to the ability to go to school from home, not have to pay for meal plans, flexibility to fit your schedule so you can go to school around work, and more. There are also many programs that give you the same amount of interaction between peers and professors. While most of the elements are online such as readings, videos, and taking tests, there are many programs that offer opportunities to interact with fellow students and professors in group activities or discussion boards. The best programs will also give you the same amount of interaction with counselors and career advisers as the students that are on campus.
The Flexibility is Worth It
Of course, there are many positives, as well as some negatives, when it comes to pursuing an online master’s degree, but probably the best and most convenient parts about doing and online program is the flexibility that it offers. You can choose specific times of day and well as days of the week to work on your master’s and assignments, giving you the opportunity to keep working, take care of children, study from home, or travel while you are completing your degree. Of course there are assignment deadlines and there needs to be a significant amount of self-discipline and organizational skills, but if you can do those things, then the benefits are huge.
As with any major life choices, it’s always good to research and pick what is best for you by looking up schools individually, or at sites that have collected online master’s programs in a list, like Get A Real Degree. But, due to the flexibility of online classes, more affordable options, and similar if not the same quality in education, an online master’s degree is a great option. For those who already have a large amount of student loans and want an affordable option for a master’s program, or for those who have been working for a while and have decided it’s time for the next step in education it’s always good to consider what you can get from an online master’s degree.