For those who already hold graduate degrees or basic certifications, furthering these with a master’s degree or higher qualifications is one way to advance in your career. You can choose to do this by attending university, or via one of the many online options now available. Most universities and industry colleges today offer many of their most popular degree courses, including master’s degrees, as online courses. That means you can earn one literally ‘from the comfort of your own home.’
However, online scams even in education abound. The last thing you want to do is spend money, and time, on an online course only to find out at the end of it that your apparent ‘certification’ isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Or isn’t recognized by industry and employers. So how do you weed out the real from the not so real; the genuine from the scams?
Genuine academic institutions, even e-learning centers, have genuine accreditations. There are regional accreditation authorities within the US that accredit educational institutions within their jurisdictions. SACS for example is one that covers universities and colleges in the southeastern states. These types of accreditations give a college or university a higher reputation. They’re often favored in the work place over qualifications from non-accredited institutions. Attending an accredited online institution can also make it easier to get a student loan because these facilities tend to rank higher with lenders than those that don’t. So always check the accreditations of any education provider you’re considering.
Educational qualifications are another important consideration. These are an indication the institution is competent to offer the training it does. As an online service provider it must also have the infrastructure in place to support distance learning.
Quality And Relevance Of Curriculum
Whilst it may be ‘fun’ to simply study for the sake of studying, most of us need to study for much more mundane reasons, like a career or to find employment. Therefore, unless you’re in the fortunate position of being able to take up studying as a hobby, learning things that are not relevant to your career goals is a waste of time and money. Make a short list of colleges and universities that offer courses relevant to your career. Then get a copy of their curricula and go through each one to make sure it’s compatible with your career interests and capabilities. Compare your choices and pick the one best suited to your needs.
Education is expensive, regardless of where you get it. Even online courses can be an expensive outlay but another way of looking at it is that you ‘get what you pay for’. In some cases, cheaper is not always better, or even legitimate. Then there’s the fact that quality coaches and lecturers usually don’t come cheap. If they do, it’s probably a sign that they lack talent and / or qualifications. One of the advantages of online courses is that you can continue working to pay for them whilst you study. An alternative is a student loan; remember that higher education is a pathway to higher earning power.
Do you meet the admission requirements? Most degrees and certifications, including online ones, require candidates to hold certain pre-qualifications. It may be a qualifying degree or certification, or a certain level of high school education. In the fire services for example you must hold Fire Instructor 1 certification before you can enroll in Fire Instructor 2 classes.