You’re currently balancing job, family, kids, taking care of parents, and the loving care and feeding of one dog, two cats, and a goldfish. But for all that, you’ve decided to consider online courses to take that next big life step.
First of all, kudos! Not everyone has your drive. That glint of determination in your eye inspires us. Employers are also taking notice of people like you in a big way. According to a 2013 survey, many employers believe that getting an online degree requires the same or even more discipline than a traditional degree.
Based on our experience helping tens of thousands of students earn online college degrees, career diplomas, and career certificates, here are the six most important questions to consider as you research online courses. Above all, choose an online course that fits your life and your goals.
Compare and contrast the program of study you want across several online schools. Look to see how many and what type of courses are offered in the areas you want to pursue.
Browsing faculty listings is a great way to find out what sort of expertise they bring to a program. Are the online faculty credentialed in the specialty area they teach? Most important, do they have real-world experience?
Even the most committed student needs help. Creating time to focus on school in addition to other commitments is challenging. Where will you find the time?
Look for an online school that allows you to customize your studies in a way that fits your life. For example, many Ashworth College students already work full-time and have family and outside commitments. They love that there are no pre-scheduled classes or exams, no group projects, and no due dates.
If you have a complicated schedule, make sure the online courses you select allow you to fit your learning around your life--not the other way around.
It's not asking too much to have access to teachers and staff that want to support you on this journey. Ask admissions how the school you’re considering helps students with busy lives succeed.
Don’t borrow thousands of dollars from your future self. Online courses make degrees accessible and affordable to more people. One of the reasons many people choose online colleges is to avoid the financial debt often incurred with traditional brick-and-mortar schools. Ask about hidden costs, such as “Do I have to pay extra for books or supplies? What sort of software or equipment is needed for me to complete my program? Does the online school help with internships?"
Bonus tip: Go beyond just money when considering costs, however, and ask yourself how much time you can afford to devote to your program, how much academic help is available to you, and is the program flexible enough to meet your needs.
A growing economy and low unemployment are encouraging employers across the spectrum of industries to take a serious look at online certificate and degree earners. Small business owners create a lot of jobs. They are looking for people with the ability to juggle family, job, and other life demands.
Earning things such as a career certificate is increasingly seen as a bonus. Ask your boss or someone you know that’s in a hiring position what they think. Would they promote someone who showed up with a completed certificate for high-demand skills?
There are quite a few accrediting entities for online colleges and universities in the United States. Accreditation ensures quality. Don’t consider a school that isn’t nationally accredited because you may not get the quality you expect or deserve.
Ashworth College is a nationally-accredited online college. All of our career diploma, certificate, and degree programs are accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) which is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency.
This is the most important question of all because only you know the answer. The fact that you are here reading this blog means the inner desire and drive is already present. But to be ready to press into larger life goals and work past doubts and barriers requires an extra push.
Yes? Okay, get started! Whether you’re just starting out or pursuing your next career goal, flexible, affordable career educations out there. There are approximately 5.8 million students nationally taking online courses. And every one of them is unique in their reasons for doing so.
They’re doing it. You can, too.
An online Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education is designed for aspiring educators who want to develop a career focused on teaching children age 4 and younger. Though you may have stayed at home with a sitter or guardian, or attended a loosely-programmed preschool or play group at that age, it’s now the 2010s and expectations for life pre-K now include structured education by teachers who have earned degrees specifically for this field.
If you have a heart for little kids and patience to boot, consider earning your online Associate Degree and preparing for a job as a preschool teacher! The main goal of preschool is for toddlers to gain language, motor, and social skills while having lots and lots of fun.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for preschool teachers is projected to increase 10% between 2016 and 2026.* That’s a faster-than-average growth projection for all occupations during the same time period. Since the typical requirement for launching a career as a preschool teacher is the completion of an Associate Degree, that leaves plenty of time to get started, graduate, and secure a position in this growing field.
Positions for preschool teachers are available through Head Start programs, private early childhood education centers, churches and faith-based schools, as well as through tutoring, nannying, and at-home childcare services.
As more school systems throughout the U.S. enroll first-generation citizens from non-English-speaking homes, there’s a growing need for trained teachers who can help the youngest of students learn English. Becoming a preschool teacher who works with English Language Learners (ELLs) is a unique way to apply your passion for ECE to a demographic of children who can greatly benefit from your language skills.
If private childcare and teaching is more your style—and you have a sense of adventure—use your ECE degree to become an au pair for a family outside the U.S., or nanny for a foreign family that’s recently moved to the U.S. In both situations, your training will bolster the children’s English-speaking skills and you’ll gain a world of knowledge about another culture.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Preschool Teachers, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm (visited October 31, 2018).
Look at you! You got swole and you loved it so much you’ve decided to help others get swole. What’s your next step? Professional certification! You already look the part of a legit personal trainer and that’s excellent for marketing your skills. But it’s a professional certification that really shows your potential clients that you’re qualified to train them. In other words, it gives them permission to trust you right from the start.
Don’t worry, training your brain for certification won’t take as long as training your body into the best physical shape of your life. You also don’t have to go anywhere to get it done; you can learn everything you need to know with online personal training courses at Ashworth College. Our Personal Trainer Career Diploma program can be completed in as few as four months and you can study at your own pace.
The program curriculum aligns with the standards set by the National Council on Strength and Fitness and helps prep you specifically for their Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) certification exam. Because of the NCSF mission to promote high levels of professional competency, ethics, and safety, their CPTs are considered highly-reputable industry wide.
There are nearly a dozen well-known certification programs available for aspiring personal trainers. They feature a range of costs, time commitments, and reputation levels. Here are some reasons why Ashworth College chose to base our program on the NCSF-CPT exam:
By the way, when you enroll in the Personal Trainer Career Diploma program at Ashworth College, you’ll also have the cost of the NCSF-CPT exam, practice test, study guides, and a 1-year membership covered by tuition! Once you graduate, you’ll be ready to sit for your exam without jumping through hoops. We’ll help you get prepped and get done so you can start pursuing your passion for personal training with confidence.
If your job no longer excites you as much as it once did, you may need to consider changing careers. It seems like an intimidating idea at first, but no matter where you are in your work life, making a career change could be the solution that leads to a happier, more successful you.
Before you can find success tackling something new, you have to understand what you’re leaving behind. Acknowledging that you are not happy with your current job–and figuring out why–is the first step to making a career change. Many people who are unhappy at work fall into one of these categories:
Feelings of discontent are extremely common when it comes to the working life and nearly everyone feels them to some degree at one time or another. But if you’re feeling unhappy at work more often than not, for your own health and well-being, you need to be proactive about making a change on your own terms.
Step one of finding a new path is homing in on what exactly you want to change and why. Write down your "wants" and your "don’t wants” about work. You’re not signing any dotted lines here, you’re just making notes for your own personal reference. Put everything on the table no matter how selfish or outrageous it seems because drawing hard lines between what you want and don’t want makes every step towards a new career much more likely to result in success.
If you need some guidance thinking through your feelings about your work, take this quick quiz to find out what kind of a career change might best suit your needs. You may benefit from a little tweak or you may be inspired to tackle something totally new.
One you figure out what kind of career change will inspire you, you can start taking steps toward it. In some cases, you may just need to ask the boss for a new opportunity or project that will challenge you without taking you too far from your current role. That could require a refresh of your skills, or a few steps into a new subject area. Earning a career-specific certification can be a smart investment here. You can expand your opportunities at work by digging deeper into a creative skill, business skill, trade, or something totally new.
If you’ve determined you need to make a drastic career change, you may need to start a new degree, or finish one you didn’t complete. Don’t worry! Returning to college is not as scary as it seems. The right school can be affordable and flexible to fit into your already busy schedule.
Check out the opportunities here at Ashworth College. We provide online diploma, degree, certificate and career training programs that give you freedom and flexibility to pursue additional education on your time, from your own home, and without the need for Federal student loans. You may find yourself in that dream career a lot faster than you thought possible.