There are number of things you should be aware of when looking into online masters degrees programs. First of all the quality of education can vary tremendously from one school to another. There are number of very reputable institutions offering online masters degrees. They’re also a number of institutions with horrible reputation for offering online masters degrees. The bulk of programs probably falls somewhere between those two extremes. However you need to be very careful to make sure you understand what type of institution you’re dealing with. This is particularly true if you’re dealing with some unknown University or a for-profit university that hasn’t been around very long.
Some people don’t recognize an online degree the same as they would a traditional degree. You can minimize this danger by going to a reputable school. However still be aware that you may encounter some resistance to the idea of an online degree. Online masters degrees are probably going to continue to gain market share and it shouldn’t be too long before they become the de facto standard. However we aren’t there yet. Be prepared in job interviews to explain your course of study–particularly if you’re going to a university that has less than a stellar reputation.
With some of the for-profit universities you need to make sure that your online masters degree actually prepares you for the work you want to do. There have been several cases where someone completed the degree program from an accredited online masters degree program that was part of a for-profit school only to discover that–even though it was accredited–it did not prepare them to be able to sit for the exam is necessary to practice within their field of study. This is something you should be a little boy very easily by simply doing your homework and understanding your field of study. Just don’t take it for granted that having an online masters degree means you can automatically set for any necessary licensing exams. Make sure you actually do the work required to understand exactly what you’re getting and exactly what it will entitle you to do.
Another significant danger of an online masters degree program is that you may get into that and discover you can’t handle the work. Or possibly you can handle the work but it is very difficult for you to do it within the social setting of being entirely online. Most people overlook how important the social interactions are around a college experience. An online masters degree takes away many of the social aspects. If that’s the case you may want to have a plan in place for how you can transfer to a more traditional classroom experience. This might make it advantageous to take classes from a nearby university where you can actually attend in person if it turns out you need to.
Online masters degrees offer many advantages–particularly when it comes to scheduling and life study balance. However they are not without dangers and we’ve mention just a few of them on this page. Some of these dangers apply to any form of education regardless of whether it is online or not. It is well worth your time to think through exactly what you’re trying to accomplish and be proactive in looking for any potential problems that might prevent you from accomplishing your goal.