If you want to move up the ladder at work or change careers, it’s time to consider a master’s degree. Many employers have increased their education requirements, according to a CareerBuilder survey, with 27 percent hiring employees with master’s degrees for positions primarily held by those with four-year degrees in the past.
Of course, going back to college is tough, and cutting hours at work or taking time away from your family may not be an option. Luckily, online education is a convenient way to earn a master’s degree without giving up the important parts of your life.
Additionally, an online degree can mean a quality education, despite what you may have heard. Here are three myths about online education — and the facts.
Myth: Education online is less rigorous than in person
Online education has been around several decades and has seen a lot of improvement. Recent studies that compare it to face-to-face schooling have found “online education measures up to the traditional classroom format when it comes to rigor, faculty engagement and student motivation,” according to a Learning House report.
Some of the report’s findings include that online students read and write as much as traditional students and faculty members provide the same amount of feedback as in traditional courses, possibly doing so more quickly.
A report by the U.S. Department of Education found students in online classes performed better than those in face-to-face classes. This may partially be because online students tend to spend more time on various learning tasks.
Myth: Online schools cost too much
Schools that offer online classes know the importance of affordability, what with many students choosing a school based on cost — almost half of respondents to a 2015 survey said they chose the least expensive option.
The great thing about online schools is this: Not only can tuition and other fees be lower than traditional colleges, but other costs are lower or nonexistent, as well.
“Since they can study from home, online students can also avoid the room and board costs associated with living on campus and the transportation costs they would pay to live off campus while attending traditional classes,” Affordable Colleges Online says. “Additionally, some online students can take advantage of in-state tuition costs for universities, even if they reside out of state.”
With an abundance of information online, it’s fairly simple to compare college costs and to see that even reputable institutions have competitive prices.
Myth: Employers won’t hire people with online degrees
The perception of online degrees is continually improving, as more qualified applicants have proved their worth and more schools have offered quality programs.
It helps to attend a school with a name people recognize because, as long as you have a master’s degree on your resume, most potential employers won’t ask if it was earned online or in person.
“For most people, this means attending an online program offered by a college with a long and respected tradition of educating students via a local residential campus,” online schooling expert Vicky Phillips wrote for Get Educated.
Beyond that, though, earning a master’s degree online is not unusual and, as Phillips points out, “employers are embracing online education in record numbers. Unlike a decade ago, employers no longer automatically perceive online degrees or distance education as inferior or second class.”
Choose a focus
As you explore your options, consider the many master’s degrees offered by the University of Denver. The school has both online and on-campus courses for students, so working adults can get a degree to stay competitive in their fields.