Studying your degree online could be a way to fit school into your busy schedule and prepare to advance in your career.You've been telling yourself that you'll get that degree when your schedule clears up, but that just hasn't happened. And neither has pursuing that promotion or high-paying career because you feel you're not prepared. But don't give up just yet.
Yes, there's the full-time job, the chores, and of course, the kids. But you might have pockets of spare time during lunch, on the weekends, or when the kids are at soccer practice. That's your window of opportunity right there. How? By studying online.
"Online degree programs provide flexibility and convenience," says Lori McClaren, director of online programs at William Peace University's School of Professional Studies. "Students are able to complete course readings and assignments as their schedules permit and do not have to worry about being in a specific location at a given time on a weekly basis."
And yes, flexible programs are a good option, but remember that they are not for everyone. McClaren warns that self-discipline needed for online education could be a drawback for some. "Students must become more self-directed in their learning and assume a greater amount of responsibility for learning the content."
Still think this could be a good way to further your education and prep for exciting new career opportunities? Then keep reading to find out which online degrees could work with your busy schedule.
"Online programs tend to draw students from all over the country and world," says McClaren. "This greatly increases the diversity within the course and provides discourse among those from vastly different communities, regions, and cultures."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Online Business Administration Program.
What You'll Learn: In a business administration and management program, you'll learn how to plan and control an organization's activities, says the College Board, the organization that administers the SAT exam. You might also practice solving business problems by discussing case studies while taking courses like financial management, marketing, and business policy and strategy.
"Much of the communication has become digital," explains McClaren. "Professionals in the accounting field are able to interact and engage with colleagues around the globe through social media and other collaborative tools that foster communication and collaboration." Online accounting students get an opportunity to practice using these tools just by working and communicating with other students remotely, says McClaren.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Online Accounting Program.
What You'll Learn: As an accounting major, you'll learn how to gather information about an organization's financial performance, as well as how to analyze it and communicate it to others, says the College Board. You'll also learn to create balance sheets, use accounting information systems, and prepare tax filings.
McClaren says online graphic design majors take full advantage of the latest technologies in the field - such as WordPress, iCloud, and Google Apps - to learn and to display their work. And that could give you a leg up in the professional world, as she says that today the growing graphic design industry is also taking full advantage of the new technologies and social media to create and share designs.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Online Graphic Design Program.
What You'll Learn: If you enroll in a graphic design program, you'll learn how to use "cutting-edge" computer programs as well as how to put together a portfolio, says the College Board You'll also study the design skills needed to create the right look for websites or magazines while taking classes like Photoshop for designers, typography, and production design.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, health care administration degrees allow students to specialize to work in different facilities, "such as a hospital, a nursing care home, a mental health facility, or a group medical practice." McClaren points out, however, that your particular program of interest might not be available at the schools you live near, and this is where online learning can come into play.
"No longer tied to a home location, online degree programs enable students to follow a degree track that best meets their career goals, while also meeting their individual needs."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Online Health Care Administration Program.
What You'll Learn: In a health services administration program, you'll learn about overseeing health care facilities and study the laws affecting the health care industry, says the College Board. While you prepare to make a difference in hospitals, nursing homes, and other types of organizations, you might take courses like health care finance, epidemiology, and human resources management.
And using today's technologies to study your degree has another advantage. "Many online IT courses serve not only as a means for learning content but as a model of best practices," says McClaren. "The technology becomes multi-functional in that it not only aids in the delivery of the course but it also serves as a tool for learning." For example, she says students can learn about good Web design through an online course that adheres to the guidelines and policies of good Web design.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Online Information Technology Program.
What You'll Learn: You can expect to take courses like C++ programming, computer networking, Web technologies, and more, says the College Board. Your program will basically focus on learning how computing systems support business needs.
You could still use your downtime to read up on court cases, but you could also learn how cases are handled in other states. "One of the many benefits to online programs in this field is that it provides students with the opportunity to access and learn about laws and cases in different states," says McClaren. Plus, you might even get to discuss them with professionals. McClaren says you could spend your time interacting virtually with experts in the field.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Online Criminal Justice Program.
What You'll Learn: The College Board says this is an interdisciplinary major, so you can expect to study everything from psychology and pubic administration, to law and sociology. You'll also take classes that are more focused on your major, such as victimology, juvenile justice, policing society, and more.
And how will this interaction take place? Well, "students can use a variety of online labs, access streaming seminars, engage in panel discussions, and have virtual access to experts within the field," says McClaren. Students learn how to communicate with peers, colleagues, and patients using these tools, she says.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Online Psychology Program.
What You'll Learn: If you're fascinated with life's complex topics, you'll love this degree. According to the College Board, you'll study the way humans act and feel. Complicated enough, right? Well, you might not stop there. You might also ask yourself what the roots of violence are and the best way to help someone with an eating disorder. And as for classes, you can also expect courses on deep topics such as abnormal psychology, personality, and neuroscience.