If you’ve decided to pursue a master’s degree, congratulations! You’re on the right path to advance your career, increase your earning potential, and expand your knowledge and skillset via higher education. However, we can’t break out the confetti and cake quite yet. Some important choices remain for you as a prospective student. As you narrow down which graduate schools and degree programs interest you, consider online education and the freedom online degrees can offer.
Pandemic-era distance learning may have made you wary of online education, but we encourage you to consider the benefits of online programs. Unlike some of what we’ve seen during the pandemic, fully online degree programs weren’t created for a traditional classroom setting and then forced into a digital format.
Online programs are specifically designed for digital and virtual modalities, and the benefits offered by such modalities are enough to convert any skeptic. Maybe you don’t want to halt your career while you study. Perhaps you prefer doing coursework outside or in the comfort of your own home. Whatever your story is, you’re sure to find freedom and flexibility with a fully online program.
We’ve compiled the top 5 most compelling reasons to earn your master’s degree fully online. Read through it and discover what online learning can offer you.
Flexibility – Study Wherever, Whenever
If you’re working full-time, a parent, a business owner, or generally a busy person, you may not have time for a traditional on-campus graduate program. Your work schedule could prevent you from attending day classes. While night classes are an option, finding the time and energy to get to campus after work creates extra stress and unnecessary burdens that online courses avoid. For example, in asynchronous online programs, you can complete coursework when and where you want to minimize scheduling and transportation issues.
Additionally, many fully online graduate degree programs offer multiple pacing options for increased flexibility. FIU’s Professional MBA Online program can be completed in 18, 21, or 33 months - you pick the track that works best for you. Programs like this maximize your chance of success by removing obstacles and allowing you to study at the time, place, and pace that works best for you.
Online master’s programs let you study at the time, place, and pace that work best for you.
High-Quality Education & Network – Access to programs and people all over the world without relocation
If you’re looking for excellence and prestige, your dream program might not be accessible to you in an on-campus format without relocating, which can be expensive, stressful, and simply not possible in certain circumstances.
Earning your master’s fully online eliminates this concern. If you have a device that accesses the internet, you can attend online courses at institutions overseas, fully online institutions, and local institutions too. This also applies to your fellow classmates, meaning you’ll have unique networking opportunities with potential leaders in your industry from all over the world. If you want a graduate degree from a renowned university without the hassle of moving or commuting, online programs are your best bet.
Personal Growth – Increased responsibility improves discipline and work ethic
When you study online, you don’t have a professor physically watching over you to hold you accountable. However, most universities still have cohorts of students that progress through online graduate programs together. Resources such as e-tutoring and virtual office hours with professors are also often available.
This learning environment combines cohort community and independence to foster discipline, self-motivation, and self-control. Fully online programs also teach personal accountability and communication skills by providing resources to help students but requiring students to pursue the resources themselves. The onus of organizing your time and completing and submitting your work is on you, but there are still people ready and waiting to help. If you schedule your time proactively and communicate when you need assistance, you’ll be just fine.
Cost & Savings – Keep working, save money, and utilize employer aid
Many fully online graduate programs cost less than traditional on-campus programs since you aren’t accessing campus facilities. Even if your program of choice costs more online, consider how much money you’ll save on transportation and living expenses with an online program.
Furthermore, think of how much money you’ll save if you don’t have to stop your career to pursue your degree. With a fully online graduate program, you can keep working while you study. Working full-time and getting a grad degree simultaneously also increases your chances for career advancement and promotions upon graduation since you’ll already have work experience under your belt.
If you pair a consistent income stream with scholarships and employer aid or tuition reimbursement programs, you may even be able to earn your degree without loans or debt. For more information about employer aid programs, graduate scholarships, and graduate financial aid, check out this article.
Real-World Ready - Prepare for remote work & international collaboration
Finally, online programs prepare you for the real world. Whether it’s international virtual meetings, working in a hybrid setting, or working fully remote, you’re going to encounter remote work at some point in your career. Learning how to manage your time, hold yourself accountable, and use synchronous and asynchronous online collaboration tools can set you apart from potential competition and give you hands-on experience with modern office environments.