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Should You Get Your Degree Online or On Campus?

By: Jean Marquit

Programs that allow you to earn your degree online are cropping up everywhere, making going back to school easier than it's ever been. Whether you're looking for an online degree program that take your career to the next level or you're finally going to go after that art history degree, online schools offer students almost as many options as traditional colleges and universities. The primary advantage of getting your degree online comes is control over your schedule. Choosing between on-campus and distance learning begins with understanding how you learn and work best.
Choosing a Degree
The concept of distance learning isn't new. Correspondence courses in a variety of disciplines and occupations have been around for years, but the thought of going to school online still gives a lot people pause. Will you receive the same level of quality from online education? The short answer is yes. With hundreds of online degree programs to choose from, you're bound to find a school that's established itself as a leader in your chosen field of study and that offers degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate level.

Choose Your Field of Study
If you've researched online degree programs at all, you might be under the impression that these schools focus primarily on business or finance degrees. While business is a strong focus the flexibility these programs offer make them good choices for people who can't or don't want to leave their full-time jobs you'll find programs structured for education, health care, engineering and even psychology.

The growing availability of these programs at online schools reflects the Bureau of Labor Statistics' predictions for job growth between now and 2016. Almost all of these areas (education, health care, engineering and psychology) along with certain areas of business, like finance and e-commerce, contain jobs that are slated to grow faster than the average rate for other occupations.

If your field of study is quite specialized, that can sometimes mean the decision between an online school and an on-campus school for you. Degrees in the sciences and some areas of engineering may require lab work that can only be done on campus or access to equipment you can't get anywhere else. The more you know exactly what you want to pursue and what it requires, the better you'll be able to evaluate whether an online school meets your academic needs.
Look at Your Schedule
You know what degree you want and what you want to get it in, but how do you decide whether to get it at an online school or on campus? Start by weighing the pros and cons of each option as they relate to your individual circumstances.

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