Getting a college degree is a challenge for a lot of people, especially those who identify as nontraditional students. Typically, these students are the ones who are 25 or older, have work experience, and possibly have at least one child. The term itself may lead you to believe you’re a rarity if you fit into this category, but data shows nontraditional students are actually the new normal. Since this is the case, it’s safe to say that the traditional classroom doesn’t always work for today’s students.
Because of this, colleges such as Excelsior College came up with an alternative solution. Attending Excelsior and some other online colleges is a completely accredited way for adults to get an education without ever having to enter a classroom. In their programs, you’ll learn everything you would in a traditional setting, and your degree is just as valid.
How do I know which online college to attend?
Which school you attend will primarily depend on the type of degree you want to get. Popular online programs include nursing, technology, health sciences, and many more. In addition to finding a college that offers your degree program, you’ll want to make sure you don’t get scammed.
Many online programs offer quick completion and lofty promises. These are often called diploma mills and shouldn’t be considered legitimate ways to get an education. Instead, look for a fully accredited college that offers real degree paths in reasonable amounts of time.
Some other warning signs to look for in online programs are discounts for multiple degrees, lack of US Department of Education credentials, and a pay-per-degree tuition structure.
What degree can I get online?
Because of the growing need for alternative education paths and advancing technology, online degree programs expanding every day. Almost every college has started to offer at least some of their classes online, and many have moved to an entirely web-based classroom.
The type of degree you can get varies among schools, but some may not be available online yet. For example, programs that require a lot of hands-on work, such as medical school or physical therapy, require too many clinical hours to be offered online. However, Excelsior College is able to offer advanced nursing programs online because they build on clinical experience nurses already have.
This allows working professionals to continue earning a living while advancing their careers in the field.
How long does it take to get a degree online?
Most of the time, online degree programs follow the same timeline as traditional programs. This means you have semesters or quarters, and you either attend full time or part time.
Earning an associate’s degree usually takes about two years, but that depends on the number of remedial classes you have to take. And a bachelor’s degree is designed to take four to five years, also depending on remedials and sometimes, prerequisite courses.
How much does an online degree cost?
The cost of attending any college varies, but legitimate colleges are upfront about their financial requirements and can usually be found directly on their websites. Excelsior College, for example, has an easy-to-find section on their website where you can enter the type of degree you want and get an estimate of your total fees. While these are usually comparable to other colleges, you have other things to consider with an online program.
When calculating your cost, it’s important to also calculate your savings. With a traditional program, you’ll encounter a lot of fees you probably won’t have with a web-based university. For example, depending on where you live, you might have commuting or housing costs associated with attending college in person. You might also have parking, meal, and technology fees for using their available resources. Some people also have to worry about day care and missing work to attend classes.
So, is it worth it?
Depending on your personal circumstances, taking online classes is a great way to earn an online degree. You need to assess your preferences, circumstances, and future plan in order to decide whether it’s the way to go.
Good luck in your endeavor!