A dad who put his education on hold to go to work when his first child was born wants to go back to college and finish since in many ways a college degree has become the new high school degree. A mom who put her aspirations to be a nurse aside wants to pick up where she left off now that her kids are in school and she has a little more time to pursue her education. Both of these future students share a common problem: they have work and family obligations which make returning to a traditional classroom challenging at best.
The state of Nevada is a vast state with many rural areas and few urban areas. However, they have a network of social workers and counselors who need continuing education to maintain licensing with the state. The solution, up until recently, was to travel to a city and attend a workshop or seminar over a weekend to satisfy their CE requirements. Alternatively, the state would have to send out instructors to remote areas and gather enough students to make a seminar worthwhile. Either way, the solutions were expensive, time-consuming, and inefficient.
Enter the option of online education. It can help the students and workers in the scenarios above. The operative word is “can.” Online education is a tricky industry to navigate as a student. How can you be sure the institution is accredited, and the classes will actually count towards a degree?
ITT Tech is an example of a for-profit school, and one that made national headlines when they closed all of their campuses ahead of a Federal ruling removing the eligibility of students attending the institution for Federal financial aid, including student loans. This impacted hundreds of students and employees.
SInce the school was not accredited, the credits earned do not transfer, at least not seamlessly. In the wake of the closure, some schools are making exceptions to assist the displaced students, but the process is not easy. In many cases this requires the approval of a state board or other governing body.
The good news is that while for-profit schools may have forged the way into online education, they are not the only choice students have. Major universities also offer classes and even entire degree programs online.
The dad in the scenario above can attend his local college either entirely online or using a blended learning approach, taking some classes online and some in the classroom. He could start at a small community college, a nearby university, or even a school on the other side of the country that offers a degree in his desired major.
The mom who wants to pursue a degree in nursing can do most of her education with the exception of clinicals at home as well. Since she is from the Boston area she chose Regis College, a once women’s only private school that opened its doors to men in 2002 and started a completely online nursing degree program to expand its base of potential students. She can either complete the program online or take some classes on campus, and can complete her clinicals with local partners who are familiar with the school and their requirements.
The social workers in Nevada can get their continuing education credits from home thanks to a partnership between the University of Nevada-Reno and the state. The university already had a fully online social work program so it did not require a great deal of effort from them to add continuing education credits to the program.
Whether you are returning to school or in need of continuing education credits you can be in control of your learning from almost anywhere by choosing to learn remotely. By avoiding for-profit schools that are not accredited and carefully selecting programs that offer the degree and classes you need, you successfully harness the power of online learning.