Getting ready for the next phase of your life and career can be both exciting and challenging. Part of advancing your career may come from acquiring a bachelor’s degree in a related field or going a step further and getting a master’s degree. But you’re busy. Life, work, and just about everything else can put a dent in attending a traditional brick-and-mortar college. That’s where online colleges—and online master’s degree programs—come into play. Attending an accredited online college is an excellent way to accomplish getting a new degree without disrupting your life. Here are few reasons you should consider getting a master’s degree online.
If you’re past a certain age or stage in your career, upending your entire life to return to school isn’t easy. Higher education should be accessible to a broader student base. Luckily, online colleges make this a reality. It’s especially useful for recent high school graduates and nontraditional students—typically a student over the age of 24, although the definition has expanded somewhat to include focusing on other criteria—who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend a traditional school. The convenience and flexibility of online learning combined with the value of a degree earned from an accredited online college is reason enough for some students to go this route, ultimately positioning online college as a viable opportunity for students from all walks of life.
There’s no hiding the simple fact that college is expensive. In the United States, college tuition is a little on the high end. On average, a single semester may run a student around $35,720 depending on the school and the student's location within the country. These costs vary depending on location, whether you're billed under in-state or out-of-state tuition, and other factors, but the fact remains the same: college is a significant investment. Online college defrays this cost somewhat simply because they don't have to deal with the facilities, property, expenses, and staff costs associated with traditional brick-and-mortar schools. Because of this, online colleges tend to run a bit lower cost-wise than those other schools. Commuting and housing costs are also not an issue, as students will learn digitally and won't have to travel at all. Students complete their coursework from home (or their favorite coffee shop, library, office, etc.) and their housing is, well, their own home. That doesn't mean there aren't lab fees, technology fees, or fees for student services—even online colleges have those—but it's a lot less expensive than going to a physical college for the most part.
The true beauty of earning your college degree online is the flexibility of the coursework. Online learning formats are extremely flexible, especially for nontraditional students who need to do coursework on their own schedule and time. The biggest perk with this type of learning is that there are no set course times. Students don't need to report to a lecture at eight o’clock in the morning or worry about missing a lecture due to other commitments. A self-paced course supplies the student with the opportunity to complete coursework as fast or as slow as their learning style requires—assuming they hit established deadlines, of course. They may also cost less than other types of courses (like classes with zoom-style lectures that you need to attend). The only potential downside here is that it's largely up to the student to ensure they're getting everything done and remaining on task. Ultimately there's plenty of agency and flexibility involved with an online college. And if you're pursuing a master's degree, you're probably already a dedicated, studious individual ready to do whatever it takes to achieve your goals. The flexibility of online college makes things much easier, so you can work hard at an established career while learning how to hone your skills to eventually climb higher in your field or transition to an exciting new one.
There’s A Lot Of Available Programs
Once you’ve decided to attend college online, it’s simply a matter of enrolling and taking a good look at the sheer variety of online master’s degree programs many of these schools offer. Every program and college is different, but overall, the best accredited online colleges offer master’s degree programs (both MA and MS) in the following fields:
- Business Administration (MBA)
- Human Resource Management
- Information Systems
- Criminal Justice
- Early Childhood Education
- Special Education
- Technology Management
- Organizational Leadership
- Health Care Administration
- Human Services
There are, of course, other fields offered—it would take up far too much space to list them all here—but these are the most common, highly sought-after fields that online colleges specialize in teaching.
Better Job And Earnings Growth
A master’s degree isn’t merely a good way to become an expert in a particular field; it’s a great way to get a better job and earn more money. Who wouldn’t want that? Holding a master’s degree in a particular field may be the quickest route to increasing your earning potential or starting a long-term career in certain fields. Of course, it largely depends on the field. Business careers benefit significantly from possessing a master’s degree. STEM careers, mathematics, and business occupations all have higher earning potential with a master's degree than with just a bachelor's. The same goes for engineering disciplines, where the median wages are between 9 and 13% higher with a master's degree. On the flip side, petroleum and geological engineers typically earn more without a master's degree. It's the same story with healthcare and social services. It ultimately depends on your career choice, so do plenty of research ahead of time to determine if a master's degree will increase your earning potential or if your field requires a different approach.