How Do I Choose the Best Distance Education Program?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

When choosing the best distance education program, remember to consider the quality of the school and courses as well as just the convenience of being able to learn from home. Keep your purpose for wanting to take a degree program firmly in mind when checking different open learning or home study schools. If you have specific employers or industries you want to work in, take the time to speak with potential hiring managers to find out what educational credential they're looking for; they may not be direct about not accepting a distance education program degree, so you'll have to analyze their replies. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of each distance education degree program you're considering to choose the best one.

Using your purpose for earning the education as a guide, look at the home study programs that each school offers. Make sure you meet all needed prerequisites and that the distance education facilities are properly accredited. If possible, ask schools for lists of graduates and the career positions they now hold. Next, examine each distance education program to see what the individual courses entail. If you have any questions about the course material or grading criteria, contact a school adviser before registering.

Looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each program can help you narrow your distance education choice. Think about which program suits your learning style, career interests and previous knowledge best. Also make sure you'll have the time needed in your schedule to properly compete assignments. Some distance education program classes require students to work in groups. This can be challenging in a home study course where collaboration must be done over the telephone and through email. Be prepared to work through problems with communication with classmates, as your individual course grades may be affected.

When doing informational interviews with future potential hiring managers, have questions about home study prepared so that hopefully you'll receive direct answers that will help you choose the best distance education program. While some employers and industries still prefer employees with a traditional education, many more of them today appreciate the hard work and self-motivation required to complete a distance degree. Find out the exact information you'll be expected to apply in an entry-level position in your chosen field. Understanding this can help you pick a home study program that teaches you what you'll need to know to get hired.

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