Best Online Schools (http://bestonlineschools.hubpages.com/hub/best-online-schools-for-you).
What is the best online school? Probably this is one question you might consider asking if you decide to take up studies to better your career prospects. A friend of mine asked me the same question a few years ago when she decided to juggle work and study. She could not get a study leave at her work place but she knew if she got a business degree to complement her primary degree, she would be considered for more rewarding positions at her work place.
The most viable option available to her was online education. Taking an online course was quite appealing because it meant she could continue gaining experience in her current position while also improving her credentials by crowning them with a post graduate degree. My friend had considerably settled down and did not fancy the idea of relocating in search of further studies.
Deciding to take an online course was the easy part. However choosing the best online school that would give her an enviable qualification but yet be affordable was a challenge. This was even complicated by stories that were circulating in the press about how some students had spent time and money securing masters and even PhDs but their qualifications were not recognised by employers.
Taking an online course or any other course for that matter as you can imagine is a big decision in one’s life. If you think about it keenly, our qualifications and occupations form a part of our identity. That is why one some people introduce themselves as engineer so and so or doctor XYZ. Taking up a course is quite expensive both in terms of money and time. Of course you don’t want to waste your money and time on something that may not have a positive impact on your life.
All these considerations are crucial when searching online for a proper online school that could suit your needs. There is so much varied information online that unless you sift through it, you might not find the right information. Basing on my own experience and experiences of my friends who have gone through the process of searching for online schools I have compiled some of the key things you need to consider in order to get a good return on investment when considering online education, because let’s face it, education is an investment and this calls for all of us to invest wisely. In this post I have assembled some things that you need to consider when choosing an online.
Our profiles addresses top best 10 online schools in various disciplines including best online schools for:
· criminal justice,
· medical billing and coding,
· information technology,
· best online school for business,
· best online school for military,
· web design,
· best online school for nursing,
· computer science,
· information technology,
· pharmacy technician and many more.
Best Online Schools Ratings and Rankings
When choosing and compiling the best school online we consider the following general requirements that I explore below.
The areas I talk about here are basically the same components that world university ranking bodies like Times Higher Education, U.S News and World Report, Forbes Magazine, Financial Time, Unstats (unistats.direct.gov.uk) and the like use in ranking universities. The most commonly used indices are: university accreditation, reputation of the university and preparedness for the university to provide cutting edge training, student satisfaction and employability scores, salaries scales the offered training commands in the job market, university entry criteria, the depth and breadth of courses offered and the different certifications.
These are the same determinants we have closely analysed to rate the best online schools we address in our blog. In a bid to give the most consistent information we have mainly considered only schools that do better on both their campus and online programs. We believe in the cliché that success leaves traces and therefore there is a high chance for a school that does well in traditional mortar and bricks schools to also provide top notch online schooling in the courses they roll out.
For instance Indiana University is ranked highly by established global ranking bodies in providing education courses for both on-campus and online education programs. This is why we have featured it quite prominently in our best online schools for education courses.
Let us now jump into the specific things we think you should look out for when considering taking up an online degree:
Deciding to better your qualifications by taking an online course is not only crucial to your career plans but also one that entails considerable investment.
Accredited online schools?As a rule of thumb, the online school you choose should be accredited by a recognised higher education accrediting body. This is very important; don’t fall into the trap of doing an online course in an institution that is not accredited because if you get a qualification from such an institution, there are chances that your qualification may not be recognised by some employers.
It is also important to point out here that not all accreditation bodies are equal. This is because different accreditation bodies attach different conditions to the universities they provide accreditation to. For example there are accreditation bodies especially in the US and UK whose condition is that staff members should publish at least three high quality journals articles in a year that provide seminal knowledge in their respective discipline.
This is to ensure that the faculty members are kept updated and current on their subject areas. Obviously you expect lecturers who are up to date in their field to provide quality education. Employers, especially private employers know this and are keen to get employees from institutions that are accredited by highly prestigious bodies. You should therefore aim to enrol in an institution that is accredited and even better go for one that is accredited by the industry leading accreditation body in your field.
Schools credentials and reputation
One also needs to consider the credentials of the online school they want to enrol to. You should shoot for schools that have considerable experience in providing online courses in your targeted area of study.
The old adage that experience is the best teacher may apply here. It is more likely that institution’s that have been offering online courses for a while have the experience and quality to make your online course a worthwhile experience.
Here schools that used to offer long distance courses long before the advent of the internet should also be considered as experienced and having the capacity to provide quality. Schools with good reputation tend to have strong alumni (former students) departments that network with those former students some who are in many cases currently in very high positions.
Through these alumni you can find yourself connected to very influential people that could add value to your career prospects or generally help you with business networking. For instance graduates of Harvard University find themselves sharing the same history with people like Obama the American president and Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Face Book.
Of course the online course should be affordable and if possible offer staggered ways of paying so that you are not under heavy financial strain while also trying to focus on your studies. You also don’t want to end up with huge loans hanging on you. It is therefore imperative to look for a course that is affordable but yet offers high quality training.
I know there is the saying that “there is nothing like cheap” but I can assure that if you do a thorough research you will find good top quality accredited schools that offer top quality courses that are in high demand in the job market. Some even offer financial aid; if you qualify for financial aid you should definitely consider applying. Remember that affordable doesn’t have to be cheap and low quality. This is why it is better to go for established and experienced institutions that continually score high in university rankings.
Traditional school ranks well.
Schools rankings, student ratings
Consider also the University rankings, student ratings and major. The university rankings consider several core metrics that usually indicate the quality of education given.
Though the rankings may at times be skewed but they do give a general indication of how well prepared a given institution is in providing quality education. Some honest student ratings may give you an inside feel of a particular institution that will help you make an informed decision.
One should definitely consider the scope of the courses offered. If in case you are going for a bachelors degree course, it might be helpful to consider universities that have a masters fast track component so that you can complete your masters immediately you complete your bachelors. This will save you money and time if you are keen on pursuing a master’s course.
If you are going for a more ‘pragmatic’ course as opposed to a theoretical one. You are better off considering a university that offers a more practical oriented approach to the course. Also consider where you can do your practicals and make advance plans on how the field training will be accomplished. You don’t want to enter the job market and still feel that you are not up to scratch.
Which Best Online School to Go For
The online school you choose should cover the length and breadth of core components relevant to the discipline of your choice.
Look at the trends in course you desire to take. Examine statistical projections by the labour bureau to see if demands for the skills you are looking to acquire are on the rise. Consider also whether the course offers transferable skills that could open doors in related disciplines to improve your marketability in a highly competitive modern day job market.
Different online schools differ in the way they offer their courses; you should therefore choose an online school that closely matches your preferred way of learning. If you want to get your qualifications really quickly, you can go for fast track online school courses, however if you are the type that needs a bit of time to read through the study packs and complete assignments then, you might consider a staggered study program.