The world is ever-changing, and those changes can have positive and negative effects. However, for every negative effect, there is usually a new change that allows people to adapt more easily to their new circumstances. One of these is earning a degree online.
Nearly every type of degree has an online path to achievement. The ability to learn online has also made education far more accessible for people who may not have been able to travel and live somewhere else to get to the degree path they wanted. Online learning also allows people to continue to work in full-time jobs without needing to change much.
An article online from Forbes about the rise of online learning in the United States lists the data for online learning and its growing popularity:
- “Online colleges and universities enroll nearly 2.79 million students—almost 15% of all U.S. postsecondary learners.
- In 2021, about 60% of all postsecondary degree seekers in the U.S. took at least some online classes. Around 30% studied exclusively online.
- Approximately 62% of students at online schools identify as female.
- Nearly 8.5 million U.S. students take online classes at public higher education institutions.
- Online schools enroll more racially diverse student bodies than conventional schools.”
The path to earning a degree online is not limited to business fields. Remote learning is now widely available for medical fields, though not all, arts, language, sciences, etc. While there is a path for most degrees, it does not cover all of them, as some degrees require hands-on or in-person learning.
In those cases, such as some degrees in the medical field, a hybrid option may help to bridge the gap between remote and in-person learning. In degrees such as advanced nursing degrees, the student may be able to do much of their coursework online and then work with a local company or practice to perform clinical placements. In addition, most colleges and universities provide assistance with finding that clinical placement so the student has support.
The hybrid options may mean less disruption of the student’s daily life for most of their journey than when in-person learning is required. The added flexibility of remote learning also means the student can pick a school in any area and begin their journey even if they need to do a portion in person. While a benefit for students, the wide access to schools also means higher enrollment.
The ability to be flexible about learning also means that more people can achieve degrees than ever before, growing many fields, such as medicine and nursing, exponentially. With shortages in these fields and a lack of access to care by many across the United States, the students aren’t the only ones benefitting. So is the public.
The online student still completes the same amount of work as an in-person student to learn the same material. It is important to note that learning this way may even be more challenging depending on the student’s preferred learning style and the school. Working and going to school can be a challenge for students as they must work to find a balance between the many things they must complete.
It can be done and is often successfully accomplished by many students. Beginning the course is the largest challenge as the student works to find a balance. Once a routine is established, students can move through semesters toward their degree without that stress.
Access to Education
The ability for students to choose where they go to school has a massive impact on industries, towns, and students. Colleges and universities no longer need to reach out to students looking to live in dorms and can look at other demographics such as working professionals looking for a change, older students, and employees.
The change impacted industries on a large scale, with careers in technology and medicine taking off as more people entered the field with degrees. The same is true for advanced degrees. The ability for tenured workers to earn advanced degrees to move their careers forward has only grown since remote learning became more widely accessible.
A student’s ability to choose their education path and school also means more competition between schools for students. While this may not sound like a good thing, it could mean more scholarship opportunities for students to entice more students to colleges or universities, which only serves to benefit the students. Colleges and universities also have incentives to make learning accessible and convenient to students to increase appeal.
Overall, access to online learning has only improved options for students. Students can choose where they go to school, and colleges and universities have reasons to make sure students choose them. When choosing a career path, students have many options and never have to leave home.
In most cases, courses move faster or are more available for students. With an in-person course, schools must entice students and professors to relocate to their area, but both can be remote with online learning. This means more courses can be available for students.
In addition to more course access, the students may also choose to work through periods where in-person students would traditionally be off, such as summer. Students will save time by attending school year-round, thus completing their degree faster.
Rapid completion may also come through shorter terms that allow students to take more courses in one school year. This means that more content is pushed out to students in a shorter time frame, but if the student can keep up with the pace, it is easier for students to remain part-time but not extend their time in school. This also means eager students can complete their degrees much faster than via any other option.
Moving faster may not be the right choice for everyone, and part-time is always an option, but for those that wish to complete their degree more quickly, online learning may be the right decision for them. Moving faster is a personal choice for the student, but with online learning, the remote student can do what works best for them. For the first time, there are options for students that extend outside of the traditional sense.
Degrees and Certificates
Many degrees and certificates are achievable through online learning, all of which students can use to start, change, or advance their careers. Some courses can even be used to obtain certificates on the path to a degree. Using the tools and courses to their advantage, students can walk away from graduation more than prepared to work in their field.
Certificates can be added to resumes or employer databases to show proficiency with a specialized skill. These can be extremely valuable to an employer, meaning lower employee training costs. It also means that the new employee may be bringing new perspectives or ideas to improve business or functions at the new workplace.
Associate and bachelor’s degrees can be earned to show deep knowledge and training in your chosen field. For example, a nurse can become an RN without a bachelor’s degree but can then obtain it to show more knowledge and obtain higher pay or better positions. These two degrees show the student’s ability to complete and desire to perform in a chosen industry.
When it comes to advanced degrees, many within the nursing field are offered online, which can help a nurse move into a different, often higher-paying, role. The nurse student could choose to step into an administrative role with an advanced degree or pursue becoming a nurse practitioner. The twu online np program helps experienced nurses advance into that new role.
The degree program can be completed in less than three years – part-time and has three start dates per year. This means the students can quickly expand their knowledge and prepare for new roles or promotions. The family nurse practitioner would move into the position of being able to do more in the treatment of patients than previously with their bachelor’s degree. Family practicing also means the nurse practitioner can teach patients of all ages.
In the case of many students that attend college or university, there is the concern about student debt. The cost of attending can be astronomical, leaving students feeling overwhelmed with debt and feeling as if they cannot get ahead of it.
With online learning, there is the reduced cost of not needing to pay for room and board while attending classes full time. In most cases, students attending classes online will also be working at least part-time if not full-time. This means the cost of housing is not increased beyond what they would be paying if they were not in school.
There is also the flexibility of not needing to move if they change schools or programs and to attend college at a pace that is comfortable for them to earn their degree and be financially comfortable with that decision.
As mentioned above, there may also be added chances for scholarships as it would only be the cost of tuition which is significantly less than with room and board included. Colleges and universities want to recruit bright students and can work with you to determine a path that meets your needs. The student has the benefit of choice and can choose a different school if one does not work out.
Continued Employment Opportunities
While going to school online, students have the added opportunity to continue working as they attend school. This helps with bills, personal relationships, and self-reliance, but it also helps with experience. Using the nursing advanced degree example again here, the student will most likely be working as a nurse already, and going to school online will allow them to continue to build the knowledge and relationships at that employer.
Experience is an important part of any resume, to go alongside education. Having experience with patients and leadership shows that the nurse has the skills needed to advance their career. If the nurse is going to go into a leadership role, it helps to have an understanding of the role they will be supervising and enables them to make better decisions.
Online learning is a great tool to grow careers and can be used by students of all ages. Students in advanced degree courses can continue to work in their roles as they work on their degree, adding valuable experiences to their resumes before applying to a new position or asking for a raise or promotion.
Every student needs to determine the right path to create their own path forward. Online learning is just one of several ways to attend school, but it is certainly the most flexible of all the options. If a potential student needs to continue working while in school and keep debt low, they will benefit from online learning. Even students that do not have the need can benefit from the flexibility of online learning.
Continuing experience while working towards an advanced degree is just an added benefit of online learning. Take the time to determine the right place and time to return or start school. When seeking any degree or certificate, be sure to ask questions about the school to ensure that the college or university will meet your needs so you can start successfully. By beginning with a mindset of success, the student will have a better chance of reaching their goals.