How do I Choose the Best Physics Distance Learning Program?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
A woman taking a physics distance learning class.
A woman taking a physics distance learning class.

Distance learning is a great option for people who want to obtain a professional certificate or degree but cannot go to an on-site classroom to attend classes. Physics distance learning allows a student to complete a physics degree at home using the Internet or other correspondence features. The best physics distance learning courses will fit your schedule, budget, and interests, and they will be offered by an accredited institution. Look for physics distance learning courses and programs that cover the topics you need, and make sure the credits you earn from these courses are transferrable to other institutions should you decide to transfer to an on-site classroom.

Keep in mind that some physics distance learning courses will still require you to do lab work that necessitates a visit to a specific location equipped to handle it. This may mean going to a local community college or professional facility, or it may mean going to the actual physical site of the school at which you are enrolled. Many physics distance learning programs are only part distance learning; the other parts of the curriculum must be completed in person, so before choosing the program that you will attend, be sure to research what the requirements are for on-site lab work.

It is vital that you find out whether the institution you have chosen for your physics distance learning is accredited. This means the institution has been evaluated by an accreditation agency and has been found to offer high quality education that is recognized and valued by employers and the community. If you do not attend an accredited institution, you risk being disqualified for certain kinds of financial aid, and employers may pass you over for employment in favor of someone who attended an accredited institution. Be sure to research the accreditation agency as well to verify that it is a legitimate and reliable agency.

Distance learning courses work in different ways depending on the course, the instructor, and the institution. Be sure to research the ways in which the classes you have chosen will be conducted, and decide if those methods will be congruent with your learning styles. Some classes, for example, are conducted entirely through an online message board, while others use streaming video, mp3 files, and other multimedia features. Be sure to note if your courses are synchronous — that is, you must be online and attending class at the same time as all other students in the class, just like an on-site class — or if it is asynchronous and allows you to work at your own pace.

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    • A woman taking a physics distance learning class.
      A woman taking a physics distance learning class.