Monday, January 11, 2010

By Mary Jackson

Accreditation - accreditation is very important because it ensures that an institution meets or exceeds an established set of educational standards. This means that courses from an accredited online distance education college are likely to be transferable to other accredited online or traditional colleges. Your current and prospective employers will look positively at degrees earned from an accredited institution making it easy to earn a promotion or get a new job.

Degree mills and fake colleges - today the internet is flooded with fraud and fake accrediting institutions that give "accreditation" to any willing organization at a fee. Be safe and stay on the look-out for such institutions when you're choosing your online distance education college. There are always "tell-tale" signs of institutions that are not legitimately accredited. If in doubt, check with the United Stated Department of Education or CHEA to find out if the college you are interested in is accredited.

To ensure that the degree program your are considering is aligned with your long-term educational goals, especially if you think you'll need to advance your degree (for example from bachelors to MBA), it'll benefit you to check if the online distance education institution you'd want to attend for your MBA accepts transfer credits from another online institution.

Class size plays a big role in an online distance education college as it does in a traditional classroom. The smaller the better, thus you should investigate the class size of the institution you wish to join.

How about the qualification of the faculty in the program that you're interested in? What degrees do they hold? From which institutions? What experience do they have in the subject they teach? Do they have experience teaching online classes? Do your homework and get answers to avoid been taught by other students like yourself.

Are the administrators, technical staff and faculty responsive if you need help or have questions with your courses? Since every college offers a different form and level of support, make sure you find one that is aligned with your needs and expectations. This will alleviate frustration when you need help during your classes.

Since most colleges begin their online distance education programs anytime and all the time, don't feel pressured to begin your program right away if you're not psychologically ready. Online education calls for motivation, thus you should only begin when you feel emotionally set and ready to put the effort to get through with your learning.

Be sure you understand whether a certificate or degree can be completed entirely online or whether on site projects, class meetings, or residency periods will be required.

Most online colleges offer financial aid and tuition assistance. You'll be pleased to discover how much financial help you have available inform of loans, scholarships, financial aid and other federal loans. Some institutions even have tuition payment plans and employer-reimbursement programs. Find out if your college of interest offers such programs.

Your research for a good online college should not be a hurried task. Invest time in it and ask lots of questions. Quality education is crucial to your career advancement thus you should not get less than you deserve. New and traditional colleges are coming up with online programs every day. You have more choices than ever before to get your best education online.

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