You've made your mark in the work world but are ready to take the next step in your career. Depending on your goals and background, the next step may involve earning your bachelor's degree. This is often what separates entry-level employees from those who can advance through the ranks or find work within their preferred niche.
The problem? As a working professional, you have little time to spare for a 'conventional' college degree program. Whether you're returning after a break from academia or starting from scratch, you will need to commit a lot of time and effort to your studies while juggling work demands and perhaps even family life. Add rigorous classes, hours of studying, and, of course, your regular work duties to the mix, and it's easy to see why a bachelor's might feel out of reach.
It's a lot for anyone to handle—but as a modern professional, you enjoy access to an amazingly versatile and flexible option: completing your bachelor's degree online. In this guide, we will answer a common question: Is an online degree worth it? Keep reading to discover the benefits of an online degree and why this is an especially valuable approach when you want to complete your undergraduate education.
Online Bachelor's Degree
An online bachelor’s degree allows you to earn one of the most important and impactful college credentials while making the most of remote learning opportunities. In many ways, this resembles a 'conventional' bachelor's program: you will major in a subject you find compelling or that is relevant to your career. Meanwhile, you can also take a range of supplementary classes that boost your communication skills or simply make you more well-rounded as a student, a professional, and a person. You will emerge with one of a few common degrees: a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Science, or a Bachelor of Applied Science.
Online degrees are famously versatile. They cover a wide range of subject matter while incorporating unique timelines and learning modalities. While fully online programs are common, it is also possible to take a partially online approach that includes some in-person learning. Either way, it is increasingly evident that a solid education is possible via distance learning.
Is an Online Degree Worth It?
Simply put, the answer is yes. A wealth of evidence indicates that professionals enjoy higher pay, better advancement opportunities, and significant boosts in career and life satisfaction upon earning their bachelor's degree. These benefits are also enjoyed by online students, who receive all the advantages of an undergraduate degree but are also able to swap the obstacles of in-person setups with the convenience of internet-based learning.
Benefits of an Online Degree—Why Professionals Are Happy They Completed Their Bachelor’s Degree Online
Still not sure whether virtual learning is right for you? There's a lot that goes into this decision, so you will want to feel fully confident in your path as an online student before you proceed. To help, we have highlighted a few of the main reasons why graduates are glad they completed their bachelor's degrees online:
1. Career Enhancement
Many professionals seek online education with the primary purpose of improving their career prospects. Often, they find that, after a few years in the workforce, their skills need upgrading before they can advance into exciting new positions. A degree may be all that stands in the way of a major promotion and accompanying pay raise.
The centrality of career prospects in distance education is abundantly clear in a report published by Wiley University Services. Known as the Voice of the Online Learner, this study revealed that most students seek career opportunities above all else. The top reasons cited by respondents included better job prospects, career advancement, and career changes based on interest or salary potential.
2. Developed Strong Time Management Skills
Online education places students in the driver's seat and empowers them to make individual choices about how they structure their day, their week, and their entire term. This can be freeing, but it also calls for exceptional time management. Online students tell InsideTrack that time management represents one of their most significant challenges, but this can also represent an important opportunity: the chance to practice effective techniques for balancing a variety of tasks and projects—one of the most sought-after skills among today's top employers.
Without extra guidance from strict syllabi and the reminders of deadlines students often receive in a traditional classroom, online students need to take charge of their own learning. This means setting goals, developing realistic schedules, and following through. While certainly not easy, online students feel empowered when they are able to take charge of their own learning and their own schedules.
3. Able to Choose Their Learning Environment
According to the Voice of the Online Learner report, the vast majority of students make the decision to study online before selecting their respective colleges. While proximity to colleges (or lack thereof) can play into this decision, many also enjoy crafting their learning environments as they see fit.
Many students find that they learn better when equipped with ergonomic seating, quality lighting, and the ability to take breaks when needed. These requirements can be difficult to fulfill in 'conventional' college environments, where the sheer hustle and bustle of campus life may prove disruptive and distracting for many.
Not all online students require peace and quiet, however. Another advantage of e-learning is that it's perfectly fine to experiment with different locations when a change of scenery is required. Some online students, for example, love to study in the library, while others prefer to check out local coffee shops. This flexibility is especially appreciated when building short study sessions into a busy day.
4. High Quality of Learning
Online instructors are among the most talented and respected professionals in their respective fields. They are genuinely passionate about their work and eager to do their part to support students from all walks of life. This dedication is consistently evident when attending online sessions or interacting with instructors via email or video chat.
There's no denying the high quality of e-learning based on the strength of passionate professors, but another, unexpected boost may be available: exposure to interesting and experienced students. Interacting with these diverse classmates serves as an education in and of itself, with their varied life experiences providing far more nuanced perspectives than may be available in conventional college programs.
5. Lower Overall Cost
Online learning can be cost-effective. You will save on commuting expenses (such as gas and parking) or even housing. Simply put, the overhead for this modality is much lower, so these savings are frequently passed along to online students.
Costs can vary significantly between online programs, so it is important to examine several before you determine how e-learning will benefit you financially. As with in-person schooling, however, there are plenty of opportunities for online students to earn scholarships, take advantage of financial aid, or even get a substantial portion of their tuition covered by employers.
6. Opportunity to Work While Still Gaining an Education
Today's working students require maximum flexibility. This is best achieved through online schooling and especially asynchronous learning, which allows students to watch lectures and complete assignments at their own pace. Whether their classes are synchronous or asynchronous, virtual students are thrilled to skip the time constraints imposed by traditional commuting.
This can also be hugely influential from a financial standpoint: no matter the cost of admission, college will be a lot more affordable if it's accompanied by a full-time income. Flexible online programs make it possible to remain employed while seeking a degree—and can even facilitate a reasonable work-life balance.
While some online students prefer lower-commitment work arrangements while enrolled, many can successfully handle both full-time schooling and full-time work, while gaining impressive time management skills along the way.
7. Less Stressful
No matter your employment status, you will be amazed by how easy it can be to keep your stress in check while you're enrolled in an online program. Much of this stems from the reduced time burden of getting to online classes, which require less of a commitment from a logistical standpoint. The aforementioned cost-efficacy of these programs can also relieve what is often a significant source of stress for undergraduate students.
Stress levels differ between programs and modalities, but a quickly growing body of evidence indicates that, for a significant subset of students, online learning limits anxiety and boosts emotional wellness. A study published in Anatomical Sciences Education, for example, demonstrated a "definite physiological component" in regards to how students actually experienced or expressed stress versus how they claimed to experience it when completing questionnaires.
The takeaway? Many students find online learning less stressful and, therefore, more accessible and rewarding over time. Add increased flexibility, reduced tuition, and better work opportunities to the mix, and it should be abundantly clear why e-learning is such a compelling option these days.
Learn More, Today
Are you ready to complete your bachelor's degree online? Explore our web-based opportunities or reach out to learn more about these exciting programs.
- Students less stressed taking classes online than in person, study finds
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- Voice of the Online Learner 2022: Shifting Preferences in Post-Pandemic Online Learning
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- Online teaching triggers a different response in the body
- Time Management Tops List of Challenges for Online Students
- Employers Want Good Time Management Skills