As we continue our series and discussion on 7 Alternatives to Student Loans to help you avoid as much student debt as possible, we want to present an idea that is growing in popularity for good reason – it’s affordable and keeping many students out of debt.
That is the idea behind getting a college degree online. Let’s explore this topic to see if this could be a good fit for you in your situation.
Should you get a college degree online? This is a multi-faceted question as it is a big decision to make!
We want to answer a few questions like:
- Is an online college degree for you?
- Is an online college degree worth it?
- Is an online college degree cheaper, thus being able to avoid/dramatically reduce student loan debt?
- Is an online college degree just as acceptable as a traditional, brick and mortar school degree?
We hope to answer these questions and more and we explore options for those looking to advance their careers, earn a degree, and make it more viable time and money wise.
In this article, we want to talk about online degrees for certifications, for associate’s degrees, for Bachelor’s degrees and even some Master’s degrees.
First, a college certification or degree of any level is going to give you klout in whatever field or topic of study and career interests you. But the question that you need to ask is how much more klout?
Is a $20K degree going to propel you further than a $2k degree?
Is being on campus and attending a brick and mortar school going to propel you that much further in life than getting a degree online? This is a really important question to ask.
If you are having to go into loads of debt, sit and wait for a few years while you earn your degree, attending school full-time, is all of that sacrifice going to benefit you all that much in your field?
What if instead, you can get a degree on your own time so you can work and build your career as you earn a degree? This may also mean that you can stay out of debt by getting a degree for a fraction of the cost and paying cash compared to the cost of a brick and mortar school attendance and end up with the same result?
Now don’t get us wrong. We may sound like we are discrediting all traditional college degree acquisitions. Don’t misunderstand us. There is a time and a place for those necessary on-campus degrees.
But out of the 321.4 million people in the United States, this is just not a viable option for many, when an alternative can give them just as much of an edge on life and actually make it possible.
That’s the focus of this article – not forget what you can do with the resources you have. That online degree is going to likely get you just as far as your peer with the brick and mortar degree.
How do I know if online college is right for me?
There are three really important considerations to ask yourself when discovering if an online college degree is the right way to go.
- Can I afford traditional college? Do I have to go into debt?
- Is it easy for me to commute to school for the next 2-6 years?
- Am I okay with the schedule the school has laid out for me and the requirements needed?
These are important considerations as online colleges will often solve these problems. It is so great that we live in a day and age where we can solve these past issues.
If you cannot afford or do not want to pay the cost of many traditional colleges, you may find that most online colleges will be a fraction of the cost, saving you that money and potentially keeping your from going into debt.
There are many possible options for online schools, and just a quick review and search turned up some great online schools with great options for a very affordable price tag.
Here are some examples below of the cost of different types of certifications and degrees. but for simplicity sake, we are going to compare one online college option to give you an
For example, if you wanted to get a certificate as a Pharmacy Tech, it can be a fast career advancement option and cost less than $800 to do for many online schools! You could likely make up the cost of this tuition in a short time with career advancement!
For an example of an Associate’s Degree, you can get a degree in Early Childhood Education fast and this will open the doors for opening your own preschool and it can cost you less than $1,000, on your own pace and time. Do you really think a potential employer or even parents of your students are going to care if you got your Early Childhood Education Associate’s Degree from the state university or online? But how much is your in-state tuition compared to this? How much more difficult, practical wise, will it be? Wouldn’t it be easier at home and online?
You can also get Bachelor’s or Master’s Degrees for around $1,000 – $3,000! This will get you on the fast track to a career fast and affordably!
Now this is just some examples from online schools out there now, but you can see that there are options for degrees that make the cost factor a very attractive factor in attending online college.
The second factor is the convenience. In our day and age, we can do so much more from home with access to almost anything online. We can shop online, grocery shop online, watch movies online, have meetings online, etc.
When you can get your degree online from home, you often have control over your own schedule and don’t have to fuss with babysitters, work schedules, and transportation logistics and cost.
And convenience is a big selling factor for a lot of products because people pay good money for products and foods that make their lives easier. Why wouldn’t convenience be a big selling factor in education?
Fortunately in this case, going for a more convenient option might even save you money too.
Finally, the last benefit could be that of earning a certificate or degree much faster. By having a flexible schedule, you can easily move ahead of schedule and finish much faster, therefore launching or advancing your career much sooner!
Some online schools even charge per semester, no matter how many classes you are taking. So this means that if you wanted to go in super speed motion, you would pay even less by maximizing all of the classes you can.
Some career choices also allow you to skip certain classes when focusing in on an area of study, rather than the general classes that a traditional school route would require, thus moving even faster.
Is an online degree considered just as valuable by employers?
At the end of the day, the big question becomes whether these online degrees are recognized by potential employers just the same as that of a traditionally obtained degree.
According to GetEducated.com, most employers today do not care whether your degree was online or on-site. In fact, NYDailyNews reports that there was questions about it 10 years ago by employers, but it is has become so common today that most employers do not even get a second thought to how the degree was earned.
That same article by NYDailyNews states that, “In fact, sometimes an online bachelor’s degree can be an advantage in the eye of an employer, Fontana says. In some cases, entrepreneurs favor students, who have juggled multiple commitments while earning their degree.”
And that is a good point! When you are a parent student, working student, or both, you are becoming a master at many more life skills that can carry you much further into your career than a piece of paper. It shows a drive, determination and a person that is goal oriented to the point that the don’t need professors and peers to keep them on track. That is a big factor to consider!
In the end, let’s look at those questions from the beginning again.
Is an online college degree for you?
Can you afford the cost of tuition on campus? Is it convenient for you? Do you have time to earn that degree.
Is an online college degree worth it?
If it is saving you money and time and you can end up with nearly the same results, then we would give it a resounding YES!
Is an online college degree cheaper?
In many, many cases, you will find an online degree to be a cheaper route, thus possibly avoiding debt.
Is an online college degree just as acceptable as a traditional, brick and mortar school degree?
Yes, and especially in our day and age where this is becoming a more common practice and with the factors of a graduate that has demonstrated self-discipline and motivation in a much more difficult way.