Education can be a helpful tool for success in today’s competitive job market. With the increased prevalence of the Internet, virtually anyone can now pursue a degree through online education. Whether you are using an online degree to catch up with your peers, prepare yourself to enter the workforce or advance your career, online degree education is available at a wide range of levels, from GED to PhD.
High School Diplomas and GEDs
All college-level programs and many forms of employment will require a high school diploma or GED. Online degree programs are available for students who, for whatever reason, have yet to complete this level of education. In terms of online high school diploma programs, the Distance Education and Training Council is an excellent place to start your research. DETC is the national accreditation body for distance learning programs, including higher degree levels, and they can help you find a reputable online degree program that meets your needs.
The GED is a series of tests administered by the American Council on Education, which certifies that a student has completed the basic requirements of a high school diploma. Students can seek preparation for the GED through books published by study aid giants like Princeton Review or Kaplan, through in-person courses offered through community colleges or through a plethora of online options.
Online Undergraduate Degree
The Sloan Consortium, an organization who works towards integrating online degree education into the mainstream, reports that of all of the students enrolled in online programs today, 83% are studying at the undergraduate college level. The most basic college degree is the associate’s degree, which traditionally takes two years to complete.
With online programs, however, the amount of time it takes to earn your degree can be substantially shorter. An associate’s degree is considered a stepping-stone towards transfer to a four-year degree-granting institution and is an excellent way to cover the fundamentals of general education for students who have had an interruption in their formal schooling. Online associate’s degree programs can range from the general Associate of Arts to specialized professional degrees in fields like nursing.
Undergraduate education continues at the bachelor’s level, which includes choosing a major area of study as your academic focus. Online bachelor’s degree programs that are geared towards adult students tend to be more focused on practical fields, and the range of online degrees available at the this level expands tremendously as areas of study become more narrowly focused.
Online Graduate Degree
Online master’s degrees are intensely specialized one or two-year programs, often with a professional focus in an area like Business Administration (MBA), Public Health (MPH), Accounting (MAcc) or special areas of law (LLM). Master’s degrees are also typically offered in all traditional academic fields. In some fields, the master’s degree is the terminal degree, the highest academic certification available.
For many fields, generally those which involve the development or criticism of new ideas rather than the mastery of skills and knowledge, study continues at the PhD level. Students pursuing doctoral study seek to become leading authorities in their fields. Among the online doctoral programs available, IT management and computer science are especially popular subject areas.
Even for students who are not ready to commit to a full-blown online degree program, online learning is an avenue to pursue continuing education. With continuing education, you can take selected classes of personal or professional interest, learning new skills in your existing field or testing the waters of an unfamiliar discipline.
Traditional institutions frequently offer excellent online continuing education programs, with online diploma and certification options available. Since admissions to continuing education are generally open, these programs are also an excellent way to build a track record to support future admission to a degree program.
Online Degree Education: Something for Everyone
Whatever level of study you are considering, there are a wealth of excellent programs available in the online environment. Don’t hesitate – start exploring the online degree education program that’s right for you.