Online Masters degree good or bad? In other words is it worth the convenience of an online degree versus the reputation of a traditional degree. This can be a tough question to answer. There are many different types of online Masters degrees offered and there are many different types of traditional degrees offered by bricks and mortar institutions.
There are a couple different things to consider when assessing the value of a particular degree program. First you should consider the quality of the degree program. In other words how much are you going to learn. Second you should consider the reputation of the school. You need to make sure the school is recognized as a quality academic institution. Third you need to consider the cost of getting the degree. Not all degrees offer a good return on investment.
Quality of Degree
How do you determine the quality of a particular degree program. It can be difficult but is something you pay close attention to before you enroll in a Masters degree program–particularly one where you’re going to spend a great deal of money. Not all schools are good at teaching every single subject. This may be less of an issue on the undergrad level but it’s even more important on the master’s degree level where the core curriculum can vary more from school to school and where the teachers you will be interacting with form a more important part of your education than what happens at the undergrad level.
One of the simplest ways to get an idea about the value of a degree you’re looking at pursuing is to talk to a recruiter. Someone who is in the business of helping companies higher people is going to have a good idea of how degrees are perceived and the quality of education by each one. Given mind that recruiters make money by placing employees and having them stay employed over a period of time. They are going to want to waste their time placing employees with degrees that will make it difficult for them keep their jobs.
Reputation of School
In addition to the value of a particular degree you need to consider the reputation of the school. Not all schools have the same reputation and some schools are known for being good at different things. For example a degree from Harvard University in computer science is probably been to carry less weight than a degree from MIT in the same subject.
One thing in particular to consider is the rise of for-profit schools. A for-profit school plays like slightly different rules than the traditional nonprofit institution a nonprofit school doesn’t have the profit motive so they are usually more concerned about academic reputation of the institution. A for-profit school was concerned about the academic reputation of their schools but mainly as a means toward maximizing profit. That doesn’t mean that a for-profit school should be avoided solely on these facts but is important to consider how their reputation may change in the future–particularly if times get tough and they are looking for ways to maximize their profit by squeezing other areas.
Cost of Degree
There are many factors that play into the cost of the degree. Simply looking at the cost of tuition is very shortsighted. In some cases the cost of tuition may be one of the smaller expenses in actually achieving a degree. You also have the costs of travel, the cost of fees, the cost of books, etc. one thing that is easy to overlook is the opportunity cost of getting a degree. The degree requires you to quit your full-time job you need to factor in the cost of salary that you will be for going during that period. But don’t forget there’s more than just salary involved. Not only will you lose out on the money would’ve been paid during that time. But you also lose out on benefits like vacation time, healthcare, retirement contributions, pension plans, etc. you are also going to miss out on the potential to be promoted during those time periods and there will be a certain cost involved in getting back into the job market after being out getting your degree.
When everything is considered it may be much more cost effective to get a degree from a more expensive institution that has a flexible plan for working adults than it is to go to a less expensive state school that expects you to quit your job in order to pursue your degree. There are many factors involved and can be different for each person but make sure you look at the entire package and how it fits with your life before signing up.
Says you can see from the discussion above it’s hard to say whether an online Masters degree is a good or bad investment. However by considering the three factors mentioned you can help make sure that you are getting a degree that will actually benefit your career and not something that simply costs a lot of money with very little benefit. Keep in mind that in general a particular degree and in particular an online degree is not good or bad. What is good for one person may be bad for another and vice versa. You need to take the time to understand whether a particular online degree is good for your specific situation and find what is the best deal for you personally.