Getting a Degree Online
There are many benefits to earning your degree. No matter what career you are interested in, a degree boosts your resume, with many degree holders automatically becoming eligible for higher pay compared to an applicant without a degree.
For many, the hardest part about getting a degree is finding the time to take classes. If you are already working or taking care of a family, attending college is difficult. Many classes are only available during the work day, and if you have a family, night classes are not always an option.
In 2020, many students are getting around scheduling problems by getting a degree online. In the past, there were only a few places offering online courses, but today, they are much more common. There are some colleges which operate entirely online, while other universities have a mixture of both classes.
How Long Does it Take to Complete an Online Degree?
One of the biggest advantages of getting an online degree is flexibility. Not only do you have more freedom in setting your schedule, but it typically takes less time to get an online degree. This does not mean it is necessarily easier to get a degree online compared to a traditional college. If you sign up for an accelerated class, all the material is compressed to fit a tighter schedule. This means a larger workload and less time to study and absorb the material. Some students thrive in this environment, while others do better with slower paced classes.
On average, it takes between 15 and 24 months to complete an associate degree online. Getting a bachelor degree takes between 36 to 48 months. With an accelerated program, you may be able to shave several months off of these times, but not every college offers these options. If you are looking for the fastest options, prioritize fully online schools, as these colleges typically offer the quickest accelerated programs compared to traditional universities.
Types of Online Degrees Available
In 2020, there are plenty of options to get an online degree. There are even advanced programs available to get your master’s or doctorate degree online. There are some degrees which are considered easier to take online due to the nature of the lessons. For example, many online students get either an associate or bachelor degree for computer science. These lessons normally involve a computer, so it is a natural fit to attend these classes online.
Many engineers also get a degree online, since their careers are largely based around using software. You are not limited to taking computer related courses online, though. In recent years, there has been an influx of students graduating with business degrees from online classes. It is also popular to complete healthcare degrees online as well, including nursing and psychology.
Costs of Online Classes
When online classes were first introduced, the cost was considerably higher than most schools. As time went on, the classes become more readily available, and thanks to technological advancements, the costs decreased. As with any college, the costs can vary depending on where you apply, and you are strongly encouraged to look at multiple schools to find the most affordable option. Additionally, keep in mind student aid can further reduce the cost of classes, with each school offering different financial options.
On average, you can expect to pay between $300 to $400 for each of your classes. Some schools also have additional fees for online classes, such as application costs or equipment upkeep. If your course requires a specific program, you may also have to pay these expenses. Many classes still require you to purchase books as well, which can cost around $150 if you are buying the books new, though many colleges have options to purchase used books for much less.
Financial Assistance for Online Classes
In 2020, financial assistance for online classes is virtually the same as a traditional college. Student loans are available from both private and federal institutions. You can search for federal financial aid online. You can also apply for scholarships and educational grants. Military veterans also have additional financial aid options. One of the best ways to find online financial aid is through Career One Stop, which has over 7000 scholarships available from the Department of Labor.
There are also some online courses you can take for free. For example, Yale runs free online financial market classes, while Stanford offers a no cost machine learning course. Google also runs several free online classes as well. These courses do not allow you to get your entire degree for no cost, but taking even a few free classes is a great way to cut down on school expenses.
If you are currently employed, you may also be able to get your employer to cover the costs of your classes. To qualify, you must be taking a course which relates to your existing job, and you typically must agree to work for your company after graduation for a set amount of time, usually several years. However, you normally get additional benefits, such as a guaranteed raise or promotion upon completion.
Top Online Colleges
There are a number of accredited online universities to choose from. In terms of cost, one of the best colleges is Ohio State University, with most classes costing under $400, with special discounts available for local residents. Oregon State University also has a reputation for offering affordable classes. The University of Florida and Illinois both have expansive class options, well suited for any type of degree. The University of Oklahoma, North Carolina and Pennsylvania are also highly recommended for their comprehensive and high-quality programs.