Note: This post was submitted to Student Caffé by Beatrix Taylor. We would like to thank her for her submission and credit her as the author of this blog post.
If you want to stay competitive in your field of expertise, getting a master’s degree is one of the best options. After all, professionals frequently need to expand their knowledge and skill sets to stay relevant and get ahead in their companies.
Realistically speaking though, there are many challenges that might hinder you from doing it. What if you find a good school but it’s in a different state? Do you have enough savings for tuition? Can you manage to juggle your work life and academic life? These are some of the questions that drive many people to choose online courses. Here are five reasons why getting your master’s degree online is a viable option.
1. You can maintain a balanced schedule.
Online education gives you flexibility in deciding when you want to take your classes. Open Education Database notes that online classes can be customized to suit your schedule so you can find time for a day job, an education, and family time without getting stretched too thin. Furthermore, some people find it effective to study in the morning, while others are more productive in the afternoon. Unlike in a traditional setting where classes may only be offered at one specific time, you can often schedule your online classes during the time when you are at optimum studying performance. Plus, so much of the work is done on your own that you don’t have to worry about tuning into an online lecture or class more than once or twice a week—and you can do it from the comfort of your home.
2. You’ll obtain a high-quality education.
Online education is now on the rise due to its growing reputation for courses that are as effective as those offered in traditional settings. There are nearly three million students fully enrolled in online programs and over six million students enrolled in at least one class online—these classes may supplement their in-person requirements. While some hiring managers or employers may still think twice about hiring someone with an online degree, the more popular they become among students, the more normalized they are as an adequate alternative to traditional, in-person programs. Just make sure your prospective school is accredited!
3. You’ll have fewer expenses.
You don’t need to account for costs that usually accompany traditional schooling when you’re enrolled exclusively in online courses. Transportation expenses are minimized because there’s no need to travel to and from campus everyday. You don’t have to live on campus, since you study from home, so room and board don’t make up additional charges. It's not always necessary to allot a budget for textbooks as well, because many resources can be accessed online. (This does depend on the class and the instructor, though. You may find that some classes just require online readings, while others require you to purchase a textbook for home use.)
4. There is a wide selection of degrees.
No matter your field of expertise, online schooling provides a wide array of programs for a master's degree. Maryville University lists some of the common options including business, accounting, nursing, health administration, and software development, among others. With so many schools offering online options, your opportunities are nearly endless; there’s bound to be a major offered that is related to your career. It all comes down to choosing the program that will best complement your existing knowledge and skill set. A quick internet search will get you started.
5. You’ll gain a competitive advantage.
Professionals may be concerned that furthering their education can drain the momentum in their careers. But in truth, it can give clarity in terms of your career trajectory and what you want to pursue in the future. For starters, the additional knowledge will make you more adept in your current career. Your supervisors should also take notice of your proactive efforts to grow professionally and personally, and some might even back you up financially. In fact, Student Caffé recently published a blog post listing companies that finance further schooling for employees. Lastly, your company and other companies see employees with advanced degrees as primed and ready for promotion.
An online master’s degree does not have the stigma that it used to have. With more and more students gravitating toward online education, many companies today see it as an advantage. With students studying on their own time while maintaining employment, companies do nothing but prosper. They can keep their star employees and watch as they become even more valued contributors to their bottom line.