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Ultimate Guide to Online Degree Completion Programs

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Most adults that have begun the journey of achieving a four-year bachelor’s degree understand the challenges first hand. The first-timer student faces the hurdles most people face as full-time students range from financial, family, or sudden life changes. Being forced to leave behind one to three years of credits that have been left in limbo. For those saying, how can I finish my bachelor’s degree (?), online learning is a great choice, especially for adults who are learning how to reshape their lives around getting an education. Although we can relate to the struggle of being a college student, it’s important to understand how someone would answer the question: How do I finish my bachelor’s online? In the last several years, online learning has become the pumpkin spiced latte of higher education. More and more colleges are investing in global branches of their university or building out departments to offer more instruction delivered entirely online. 

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This new wave has really opened the door for student diversity and educational inclusion for several reasons. Primarily, it has offered a vehicle for students who are struggling to manage their work/ life/ school balance. Online bachelor completion programs are the answers to former students saying, I want to finish my bachelor’s degree online! Obtaining a bachelor’s degree offers individuals many open doors, including, of course, an increased earning potential. Each year more and more businesses and organizations require bachelor’s degrees before being considered for employment. It only takes one job or promotion rejection to begin trying to figure out the next steps. You might naturally begin asking yourself, how can I finish my bachelor’s degree online. This might be the moment the light bulb turns on, and you start researching the wide variety of online bachelor’s completion programs. Bachelor completion programs are structured to offer students a direct path to obtaining a bachelor’s degree entirely online. This guide will examine how to filter through online colleges, how to navigate online learning, and how to choose a program that will have the greatest impact on your career and salary potential. 

How do Students Know Online Learning is Right for Them?

Once you have decided you want to finish your bachelor’s degree, it’s time to discover if online learning is right for you. An online bachelor’s degree completion program can be the perfect fit for students juggling life, work, and school. This format adds the flexibility required for many students to be successful. Another primary reason students do not finish college is earning money over having the time and space to study. Working students have a big challenge to overcome. Some of these struggles come in the form of scheduling conflicts between work and classes. This is a huge factor in determining if online learning is right for you. The reverse is also true; online learning can be a challenge for some students that have previously enrolled in a traditional on-campus program. Although online learning is super convenient, there can be a learning curve for some students who are not used to navigating this, often self-directed, format. So, here are a few things you’ll need to get ready to complete your bachelor’s degree online: self-discipline and self-motivation when it comes to your studies. Keep in mind that many online programs are self-lead pathways that require students to navigate the course materials independently. This can include: videos, recorded lectures, textbook references, and posted articles. As a student of an online program, you will be most successful if you can utilize organizational skills and a willingness to seek assistance. Online students will have limited access to on-campus resources, which means when they are struggling, they must communicate with their professors to seek the support that they need. Ultimately, deciding if online learning is right for you is how you can answer the question Can I finish my bachelor’s degree online?

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How to Choose an Online program?

Once you decide you want to finish your bachelor’s degree and have decided that online learning is the right format to do that, the next step is selecting a school that offers online instruction for the degree, you want. How do you know how to choose which online program is the best? Accredited online degree completion programs are abundant, yet, when selecting a school and program, make sure it is indeed accredited. This is an important feature that is easy to overlook. Here’s why: at the beginning of the online school wave, online scam schools were enrolling students, collecting tuition, and then leaving graduates to hang out to dry with a degree from a college that was not accredited. Non-accredited schools may also pose a problem if you want to seek financial aid or transfer your credits to another institution. Most four-year colleges will not accept credits from a school without accreditation. Although it will not limit your chances of obtaining a job, a degree from a non-accredited school can have a measured impact on your options. If you are wondering, what is accreditation, do not feel bad, it is a commonly unknown fact about colleges that most undergraduate students ignore. Accreditation is quality control for the public. It is also the reputation of the school. The top national accreditation agencies are the Distance Education & Training Council, Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges & Schools, and Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. 

Educational Accreditation agencies act as a membership hub for institutions; they provide a quality assurance process service and operations of colleges, community colleges, and online schools. They evaluate the instructional methods and determine if industry standards are being met. This is a huge advantage to students who want to ensure the school they chose can train them to their chosen industry standards. Students can investigate the relationship between the accreditation agency and the industry. There are over 1,600 accredited online schools, so there are plenty to choose from. We have compiled the top 50 best online completion programs for you here.

How can I Finish my Bachelor’s Degree Online?

Online completion degree programs are opportunities. For whatever reason, you weren’t able to finish your degree, but you have close to or over 60 credit hours; now is the time to consider completing a degree online. To complete your bachelor’s degree online, you may transfer your credits towards an online bachelor’s degree program. Although, be sure to check the credit transfer policies of the school you are considering. Online college may require a GPA requirement before transferring credits towards a completion program. A thorough examination of transcripts before applying is necessary to meet the minimum requirement whether you want to study the same field as when you began your academic journey or change to a different field of study, like accounting, business administration, or computer science. Types of degree completion programs online range from several different areas of study. Some popular programs are criminal justice, finance, and healthcare administration. Every institution of higher learning has the capacity to offer certain programs, some more than others. Institutions offer online degree completion programs in the most in-demand fields today. Online degree completion programs can provide students with a seamless transition back into school and another field of study. In the last year, we have seen an increase in available programs online, so whether you are seeking a new field of study or picking up where you left off, there is an online option available. 

What is a Bachelor Degree Completion Program?

Bachelor degree completion programs online are perfect for those with some college experience but did not finish; it is also perfect for those who hold an associate’s degree. This is a flexible online option for students ready to realize their potential in the job market or as a fulfilling experience to know that they have completed something. Completion programs also offer opportunities to earn credit in unconventional ways, making this an affordable option for the working student. One of the most beneficial aspects of online bachelor completion programs is that they are designed to apply all of your past college credits, even in unrelated fields. Individuals can use current or previous work experience towards degree credits, including military service and related service training. 

You still may be unclear as to what is a degree completion program? Let’s break it down: a bachelor completion program is often an accelerated program available to individuals with transferable credit hours. The required number of transferable credits can vary for each program. Their credits will then be applied to a specific program of study and make it possible for a student to complete a degree online. Students must fulfill all of the courses required to complete the degree. In some cases, these online degree completion programs offer accelerated instruction so that students can complete their bachelor’s degrees sooner. Depending on which school you choose to complete your degree, a student may be required to complete a minimum requirement of credit with that institution regardless of the number of credits you transfer with. Students may have to fulfill an upper-level course requirement as well, so be sure to check the requirements with the institution’s program advisor. 

What is the Difference Between a Transfer degree vs a Completion program?

As you will find, there are several ways to return to the online educational playing field. It is important to examine the similarities between transfer and bachelor completion programs to understand the different options. Transfer degrees are traditionally pursued to transfer into a four-year college. More commonly, individuals interested in a transfer program begin at an associate’s level. Articulation agreements may accompany these programs. Articulation agreements are partnership agreements with two or more colleges and universities; these agreements detail the transfer process for certain programs or degrees. It is often seen between community colleges and four-year institutions and dual-degree or accelerated programs between bachelor’s and master’s programs. They coordinate their courses to provide a seamless transition from a two-year degree to a four-year degree or a four-year degree to a graduate program. 

A bachelor’s degree completion program, as we discussed above, is similar. Like a transfer degree, bachelor completion programs are designed to provide a solution for students that had to take unintentional pauses in their educational matriculation. Bachelor’s degree programs accept all credits, whereas a transfer program may only accept credits applied to the field of study. They also may not accept work or service training as credit towards the degree requirements. One of the primary differences between a transfer program and a bachelor’s degree completion program is the stricter limits of their transfer credit policy. Don’t lose time or credits. Those are just some of the benefits of an online bachelor’s completion program.

Why You Should Go Back to School?

The pandemic has offered time and space that has people asking, should I go back to school? Ultimately, the decision to go back to school falls in the category of one’s personal choice. To take a broader look at this question, we will consider the socio-economic benefits, including the cognitive benefits and the societal benefits of, why go back to school? 

First off, going back to school can be a real confidence booster, and therefore, the step-up an individual needs. Pursuing an online bachelor’s degree can expose you to a network of like-minded individuals and broaden your circle. This may provide the boost in confidence needed for individuals to become inspired. Learning and tackling new topics with other learners and doers can build a level of self-fulfillment that previously did not exist.    

Access to quality education has continued to be one of the key social issues of the century. This is because education is one way our society improves the quality of our communities and is essential to our survival as a people. Access to education has long since been an attributing factor in increasing the quality of living for individuals in challenged areas. You may want to go back to school to support your family community or to begin a family tradition, or continue one. 

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The most common answer here is that individuals with a college degree have a higher chance of getting and keeping a good job.  Learning marketable skills is an excellent reason to go back to school. An online bachelor’s degree can increase your chances of job security significantly. Unemployment and the job crisis have affected everyone all over the world. To mitigate the risk of losing your job, obtaining a bachelor’s degree can have a measured effect on maintaining job security. Businesses want to know that their employees have the skills to be focused and self-motivated assets to their business. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree online may do just that. Simply put, there are numerous benefits to returning to school that you can return to when wondering why you should go back to school.

How Will a Bachelor’s Degree Impact my Career and Salary?

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree online has a tremendous impact on the career and salary potential for individuals. Any degree is a commodity worth value, not just to the graduate but to the communities and country. There are countless studies done on this fact. There are several reasons that one person may be able to make more than some else. The bottom line is without a bachelor’s degree; individuals are at a higher risk for unemployment and lower wages. Let’s break that down; according to the bureau of labor statistics, those who have a high school diploma can make an average of $746 per week. In comparison, someone with some college can earn $833 per week of income. Yet, we see a significant rise in earnings with a bachelor’s degree to $1248 per week on average. This is a huge incentive to pursue an online completion bachelor’s degree program. Businesses are willing to pay more to ensure their employees are trained and motivated. Basically, if you want to take advantage of higher salary opportunities, it would be beneficial to show employers that you have the skills that can be marketable to the demands of their chosen industry by way of a degree. As we endeavor to continue to close the wage gap, examining educational access and the profitability of more people achieving a bachelor’s degree answers the question: What is the impact a bachelor’s degree has on my salary? As you can see, a degree can make a huge difference.

Besides, earning a bachelor’s degree can have a significant impact on career advancement, choice, and selectability as well. The bureau of labor statistics evaluated the employment projections based on the educational level, and the findings were pretty clear. There is a direct correlation between educational level and the unemployment rate. While everyone is susceptible to the risk of unemployment, this report evaluated the increased risk based on acquired educational level. This will show the impact an online bachelor completion program can have on someone’s career. With a bachelor’s degree, individuals have a 5.5% chance of unemployment. In comparison, someone with some college has an 8.3% chance, and someone with no college has a 9% chance of being unemployed. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree can potentially earn 1 million dollars more over the course of their lifetime than someone with only a high school diploma. If you want to understand why going back to school is a good option, obtaining a career and increasing your lifetime earning potential are the primary reasons. 

How Will Choosing an Online Degree Affect my Salary?

The jury is still out on whether or not choosing an online degree vs. a traditional degree will have an impact on your salary. The major difference between an online degree vs. a traditional degree is that online students learn their skills and gain knowledge from a virtual classroom and traditional students learn in person on a college campus. It is important to choose an online school that is reputable if you go that route. Some businesses and other colleges do not recognize some online programs, so accreditation is critical. To ensure that the online program is reputable, make sure a regional or national accreditation agency accredits it. Bachelor’s degree programs online offer the same experience as on-campus programs. In fact, many traditional schools offer online degrees with nothing that states whether the degree was achieved online or on campus. Some popular online degree majors include accounting, computer science, finance, liberal arts, management, marketing, and psychology, to name a few. 

While some online programs will offer a measured difference in potential salary, the same is true for traditional programs. In other words, some people are looking at a wage gap between state school graduates vs. ivy league graduates in their research. To ensure you are not falling into those wage gaps, choosing an online bachelor’s degree program that has proven to be widely accepted in your chosen industry is a good place to start. This can include nursing, accounting, business administration, and interdisciplinary studies.  

Choosing to return to school is a huge decision that will require time, money, and a lot of effort. The commitment you make to your degree will mirror the commitment you are willing to make for yourself throughout the course of a lifetime. Choosing an online degree completion program can allow you to work at your own pace to complete one of the most important projects of your life. There are so many opportunities out there that will enable you to do this in a way that fits into your life and your commitments. Not to mention, many programs will support you to engage the learning styles that are best for you. Don’t forget, hybrid options do exist too, which means you will be able to have the best of all worlds. Some classes can be in person, while others can be flexible and delivered online. The opportunities regarding online bachelor’s completion programs are truly endless.

Related:

Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Completion Programs

Should I Go Back to School to Earn My Bachelor’s Degree?

Can I finish my Bachelor’s Degree Online?