Should I Get a Master’s Degree Online?

masters-degree-onlineThanks to the convenience of online distance education, online master’s degrees are quickly becoming one of the most attractive learning options for many non-traditional students who must balance work or family obligations with schoolwork.

Today, a wide range of higher education institutions from traditional brick-and-mortar universities to fully online colleges are offering top-ranked master’s degree programs online for students to complete from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.

If you have recently decided to return to graduate school to advance your education for further career opportunities, read on to learn more about the pros and cons of pursuing a master’s degree program online.

Benefits of Earning a Master’s Degree Online

As online degrees are rapidly rising in popularity, it is no surprise that earning a master’s degree online comes with plentiful benefits to achieve your educational and professional goals. Since most online degree programs require little if any time in the physical classroom, they are often specifically designed with students’ other obligations in mind and provide plenty of flexibility for students to create their own work schedules. With shorter semesters that can be as short as five to eight weeks in length, online graduate degrees are often pursued at an accelerated pace to graduate in fewer than two years. In addition to saving time, students who earn a master’s degree online also save money on daily commutes, room and board, and lower tuition rates.

Reasons to Not Pursue an Online Master’s Degree Program

Although online education is an excellent option for many students, it is important to realize that it is not the best fit for everyone. Since most master’s degree programs offered online require downloading class materials, viewing online multimedia, and contributing to class discussions, individuals should only pursue their graduate degree online if they are comfortable with technology. Contrary to popular belief, online classes are often more challenging than traditional on-campus courses and should only be taken by very active learners. Online master’s degrees require graduate students to have a great deal of commitment, self-discipline, and time management to successfully complete projects in an efficient manner.

How to Find a Legitimate Master’s Degree Online

If you have made the decision that earning an online master’s degree is the optimal choice for furthering your education, it is essential that you look for legitimate programs to ensure the highest standards of quality. Be sure to stay on the lookout for the warning signs of diploma mills, which are online colleges that offer unaccredited and inferior degree programs with very little value to future employers. One of the best ways to ensure you are considering reputable universities is to check for accreditation by the six regional accrediting organizations within the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Also, take into consideration the school’s graduation, retention, job placement, licensure, and student loan default rates to guarantee you are choosing an online degree with plenty of academic support services.

Overall, earning a master’s degree online can be an excellent decision for dedicated students with strong time management, communication, problem-solving, and decision-making skills who cannot devote the needed time to pursue a degree in the traditional on-campus format. Once you have earned one of the reputable online master’s degrees offered nationwide, you may have the credentials to qualify for a more advanced job position, earn a higher salary, or prepare for further graduate study in your professional field of choice.