Returning to School: The Top Reasons to Get a Master’s Degree Online

No matter what kind of career you are interested in for the future, online degrees provide a useful solution for full-time workers, busy parents, and others who want a more flexible approach to getting the education that they need to fulfill their career goals. If you have already earned a bachelor’s degree, getting a master’s degree can help you achieve several career goals and objectives. From gaining that promotion at work to improving your current career outlook in your chosen field to completely changing your career and going into a different line of work, a master’s degree can be a versatile choice that helps you take your professional life in the direction that you want it to go. However, the problem for many aspiring master’s degree students is a lack of time.

As a college student at the age of eighteen, you might have had no problem attending college full-time while working part-time in the evenings and weekends, getting support from your parents, or accessing financial aid options. However, master’s students are more likely to be established adults, who would struggle to go back and have a similar college experience as they did as an undergraduate.

Maybe you need to continue working full-time because you’ve now got a mortgage to pay, or you need to be flexible with time so that you can continue supporting your family. Here’s where online master’s degrees come in – let’s take a look at some of the main benefits of studying at this level online.

Manage Your Own Time:

Whether you want to change your career to nursing or are considering building on your previous bachelor’s degree in English to become a sports reporter with a master’s degree in sports journalism from St. Bonaventure University, there are tons of flexible online master’s programs out there that allow you to manage your own time. Whether you’re completely in charge of your time or have to free up some time to be available in person will depend on the program and subject that you choose.

Science and healthcare subjects, for example, will typically offer flexible study for lectures and classes but require you to be available at certain dates and times for labs and clinical experience that you’ll need to gain hands-on. On the other hand, other subjects like journalism, communications, and more can be completely flexible without having to be available for anything in person. You get to choose when you want to access the learning materials based on what works best for you, your lifestyle, and your commitments. As long as you’re able to take exams or submit coursework on time, you are in charge of the rest.

Continue Working Full-Time:

For most adults who want to return to school to complete a master’s degree, the cost can be quite off-putting. Not only do you need to pay to get the degree or even consider taking out more student loans to cover the cost, but attending college on-campus means that you’re going to have to be available during business hours, meaning that when it comes to working, you’re often quite limited. While some master’s students might be in a position to take up part-time work or work remotely around their education while studying to get their degree, others might not be this lucky. If you can’t afford to cut down your hours and lose out on income while studying for your master’s degree, the option to study online can come in very handy. Since you’re able to manage your own time and create a flexible study schedule that works for you, you could even juggle working full-time while studying for a master’s full-time with the right planning strategies and dedication.

Save Significant Money:

The idea that tuition fees for online courses are cheaper compared to on-campus courses is actually a myth, for the most part. However, it’s not completely untrue since you can find programs available from completely online colleges and universities that can afford to charge less in tuition because they have fewer overheads due to not running a campus. However, for the most part, the best online degree programs are offered by already established universities and colleges that do have a campus, and tuition fees are usually around the same. So, how do they save you money?

There are plenty of ways that studying online can work out to be much cheaper compared to being a campus-based student even if you are paying the same tuition fees as everybody else. Alongside the fact that your work is less affected so you’re not losing out on earnings throughout your master’s education, online students can save money on costs like commuting or relocating. You don’t have to find somewhere closer to live to study the program that you want when you can do it online from your own home, and the longest commute you’re going to have is from the sofa to your desk, so you won’t be racking up huge expenses in gas, parking, or public transport throughout the two or so years that you are studying.

Enjoy More College Choices:

As a master’s student in the past, it was often difficult to get into the college of your dreams. Even if you were accepted, if it wasn’t practical to relocate or you were unable to commute to the campus to study there on a daily basis, you’d have to decline the offer and opt for studying at a closer location, even if it wasn’t the best one. But today all that has changed. Distance learning has made it easier than ever for you to get into the college of your dreams to study for your master’s degree even if you are living hundreds of miles away. This might even be possible for programs where you need to be available for clinical or hands-on experience since colleges and universities that offer online programs know that students will be located far and wide and partner up with organizations in different locations that can provide this.

Build Your Professional Network:

For many master’s students, getting a degree and improving their education is not the only reason to pursue studying at this level. Building your professional network can be a huge part of going to college to get a master’s degree, especially if you want to make contacts that could help you further your career in your current role or industry, or are looking to meet and build relationships with people that could be very useful in facilitating your future career change.

 At first glance, the idea of studying online might feel counterproductive to building a professional network since you’re not going to be spending every day in classes and lectures with other people. However, things have changed since the early days of online learning, and you can be assured that studying for an online master’s degree program is not isolating. In fact, many online students will make even more of an effort to socialize since they are spending so much time studying home alone. You will usually be able to primarily build your professional network, make friends, and meet new people using online channels such as chat rooms, chat groups, and social media although many colleges and students will arrange formal and informal meetups in various locations to give everybody the chance to attend.

Improve Transferable Skills:

At this point in your career, you probably already know that transferable skills can often be just as, if not sometimes more important than specific skills when it comes to impressing employers and finding professional opportunities that are a good fit for you. While any type of master’s study will give you the chance to develop new skills and improve your current skills, studying online often forces you to put specific transferable skills into practice in order to succeed.

Online students tend to be trusted to get on with the work on their own, which means that you’ll need to use your time-management skills to complete work successfully and reassess these on a regular basis to see how you’re doing and what can be improved. Planning skills, communication skills, management skills, and organizational skills are also heavily improved by taking an online degree in almost any subject. You’ll also get the chance to fine-tune research skills and the all-important tech and IT skills that employers in pretty much every single industry around the world are looking for today.

Make the Most of Your Individual Learning Style:

Unlike campus-based lectures and classes, which tend to be more structured and led by a professor or teacher, online study often relies on the student using the information that is provided to them to self-study. While professors and other educational professionals will be on hand to provide help when needed, students are usually researching and learning on their own. Because of this, many online programs provide information suitable for a wide range of learning styles giving you the option to choose one that you will get the best results with. Whether you learn better visually through diagrams and videos or prefer to take it in by reading, it’s easier to find a fit that’s more personal to your preferences and needs.

If you want a master’s degree to further or change your career, online study can be the best way to make your goals happen.