What Are the Advantages of Distance Learning Degrees?
A distance learning degree generally carries the same weight as a degree earned on campus. The advantages of distance learning are numerous, with an increasing number of schools offering distance learning degrees and programs.
Advantages of Distance Learning Degrees
The advantages of earning a distance learning degree are often associated with personal lifestyle factors. People who work full-time, have family responsibilities or are physically disabled are among those who benefit from the opportunity to earn a degree through a distance learning program. Other advantages include:
- No commuting time or expense
- Self-paced learning
- Convenience of 'anytime, anyplace' learning
- Wider range of courses than may be available at local colleges
Important Information About Distance Learning Degrees
|Common Courses||General education courses in math, science, history, and humanities; core classes in chosen major or concentration|
|Degree Levels||Certificate and diploma programs; associate's and bachelor's programs; master's and doctorate's degree programs|
|Prerequisites||Beyond basic requirements some special programs may require personal essays, letters of recommendation or work experience|
|Concentrations||Depends on chosen degree program; usually related to field of major|
Schools Offering Distance Learning Programs
According to a study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 4,200 (65 percent) of 2-year and 4-year Title IV credit-granting colleges offered some form of distance education courses during the 2006-2007 academic year. This included online courses; hybrid/blended courses; and other distance education courses, such as written correspondence programs.
Collectively, these schools offered an estimated 11,200 college-level programs designed to be completed entirely via distance education; roughly two-thirds of these were degree programs, whereas the remaining 34 percent were certificate programs. During the same year, enrollment in distance learning courses reached roughly 12.2 million.
The same survey indicated that colleges offer distance learning programs in order to:
- Meet student demand for flexible schedules
- Provide an education for students who wouldn't otherwise have access
- Offer a broader selection of courses
- Increase student enrollment
Accreditation of Distance Learning Degree Programs
The advantages of a distance learning degree depend on the accreditation of the school offering the program. Accreditation ensures that the school meets certain educational quality standards. A distance learning degree from an unaccredited school may prevent you from getting a certain job or enrolling in a graduate school. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) maintains a database of legitimate accrediting agencies; in some cases, schools may claim accreditation, but the accrediting agency is not recognized by the CHEA (www.chea.org).