For many adults, the idea of going to school is a frightening one. Much of this anxiety is centered on the thought of being around younger students and not being able to keep up with the work. It is also difficult for adults to find the time that is needed to be successful in a degree program. So how can adults, who have to compete for scarce jobs with people in their own age group and also with younger and more educated job seekers, get the education they need and still meet their other obligations? Enter the online degree program!
Online universities have been growing rapidly over the past decade. According to the Sloan Consortium, more than 20 percent of all college students were taking at least one online class in the fall of 2007. That is a 12 percent increase over the previous year. (MassHighTech). But, are these online degrees as "valuable" as their traditional "brick and mortar" counterparts?
There is a belief among people that a degree from a 100 percent online university is not the same quality as a degree from a traditional school. Some of this stigma is starting to disappear, but there can still be some misgivings about where your degree is from, especially in sectors such as engineering or finance. It is critical for the school you pick to be accredited by one of the following regional accrediting agencies:
- Southern Association of Schools and Colleges
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
You do not have to limit yourself to one of these non-traditional schools if you want to earn your degree online. Another option you have is to find an online program that is offered by a brick and mortar institution. This will give you the flexibility you need, and it will remove the stigma of your degree coming from an online only university.
Hundreds of colleges and universities are offering partial or complete degree programs online. It is possible to earn an associate, bachelor, master, and in some cases a doctorate (most doctorates require some residency). The list below is just a few of the schools that offer online programs. The links will take you directly to the online programs' webpage. All of the schools listed are accredited by a regional accrediting agency as of the date of this posting. (3/07/2010)
- University of Florida
- University of Central Florida
- East Carolina University
- Athens State University
- Troy University
- University of Maryland University College
- Colorado State University
- Duquesne University