Online education can be a great tool to further your education and career. It’s flexible, making it easy to work into your schedule when it’s convenient for you. It can be less expensive than traditional schools. However, here are some pitfalls to distance education. Read on for six things you should consider before signing up.
Are you so busy you barely have time to eat or sleep? Are you a procrastinator? If so, then you might want to reconsider distance education. To succeed with getting your online education, you have to be prepared to commit time for learning, studying and doing assignments.
Can you afford the online college? While some online schools offer flexible payment options, others may not. Do you need financial aid? That will narrow down the options you have available to you.
Is the online education school accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency? If the school is not, chances are your education won’t get you anywhere. Look over the brochure or website carefully to see if the school is accredited by any organizations, and then check the US Department of Education or Council for Higher Education Accreditation websites to see if the accreditation agency is on their list of recognized agencies.
If you’re planning on using credit from your distance learning to pursue a degree at another education institution, you’ll need to make sure credits will transfer. Not all schools will recognize credits from another institution. You don’t want to spend a lot of time and money only to have to take the class(es) because it’s not recognized.
It’s also a good idea to check on the school’s reputation. As with any business, check the Better Business Bureau to see what their rating is. If they have a high number of complaints, especially unresolved ones, you’ll want to steer clear.
The Program of Study
Online colleges don’t offer all programs of study. Programs that require hands-on training generally aren’t available. After all, you wouldn’t want your family doctor to have received his education without ever touching a live person. If you’re pursuing a career in a field that requires hands-on training, you’ll find it difficult to find an online education program and will be better off attending a traditional school.
The Certification or Registration
If you’re seeking certification or registration in your field, you’ll be looking towards a national organization to do so. Make sure your online college is one that the organization approves of for training. Otherwise, you may find it difficult to get your certification or registration.
If you’re pursuing online education in order to apply for a job, it’s a good idea to check with human resources to see if they recognize that form of education. If your education was received from a distance learning program that’s part of a regular college or university, this probably won’t be an issue. However, if your school is a lesser-known one, it could mean the difference between getting hired or not.
If, after considering all these points, online education seems like the right step for you, congratulations. I wish you well on your endeavor.