As online degree programs gain legitimacy and increase in quality, going back to school to advance your career is becoming a more attractive and more feasible. An online program is especially attractive if you are interested in getting your MBA as there is a good chance you are already in the working world and you are looking to advance your career and expand your options. While this article cannot cover every consideration for an online MBA degree, it does cover some important points to take note of.
Determine If an Online MBA Is the Best Option for You
The idea of going to school at home on pretty much our own schedule is appealing for a number of reasons. You can work in your underwear of even less, no commute…the benefits could go on and on. But, for certain types of people, the online format may be the kiss of death for their educational advancement. To successfully complete your MBA or any other type of degree online, you need discipline; you need to be self-motivated. Can you resist the urge to watch the latest American idol when you know you should really be working on the outline for your research paper? You should really only consider online schooling if working at home will not be too much of a distraction, you have the discipline to get it done and weekend and evening classes are not feasible at all. You need to be brutally honest with yourself on this one or you could end up wasting a lot of time and money.
Make Sure the Program is Accredited
Accreditation means that a particular school or program meets minimum standards set forth by an educational body qualified to make such designations . When it comes to your online MBA program, you want to make sure the program is accredited by a regional institution that oversees schools and programs in that particular geographic location. The program should also have accreditation from the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and/or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
Make Sure the Program Fits Your Flexibility Needs
Chances are, you are looking into an online MBA program because you need flexibility; you likely work at least part-time; you may have children or other responsibilities. While the overall programs may be similar between schools, there will also be many differences that you need to consider to make sure the program will fit with your schedule. Carefully research the required classes and their availability. If you know you may have chunks of time when you need to put your studies on hold, a school who offers class start dates twice a month may be the better option than one whose start dates are typically only a few times a year, for example.
Choose Programs with Optimal Support
While online programs can offer many similar benefits as a traditional degree, there are some drawback s to going to school from home. Carefully research programs to pick the one that offers optimal support for you both during and after your studies. How accessible is the faculty? How are you able to communicate with them? What services are offered for helping you plan your curriculum? What support is offered for helping you find a job once you get your degree? This can vary greatly between distance learning programs due to many individual factors so do your homework with this .
Study the Curriculum Carefully
While online programs are gaining in quality and legitimacy, traditional programs still hold a more favorable light for many employers. You want your online program to mirror a traditional on-campus program as much as possible. Make sure the online program gels with your career goals; many schools that offer both traditional and online programs for instance, may not offer all the same types of classes or particular concentrations in their online programs.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys helping her clients increase exposure for their website and grow their businesses. Check out the site GetaRealDegree for information on mba rankings and other important information on MBA programs.