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How do I get a Distance Learning Associate's Degree?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Distance learning has become a popular alternative to the traditional on-site classroom for students who work full-time and need a flexible schedule, or for students who simply cannot make it to an on-site classroom because it is too far away or otherwise inaccessible. Earning a distance learning associate's degree will require that the student take just as many classes and credit hours as an on-site student will, but the class times and the class structure will be more flexible. To choose a distance learning associate's degree program, first consider your budget for your education, your available time, your educational goals, and your ability to access class materials via the Internet or other forms of communication.

Like any other associate's degree, a distance learning associate's degree will require that you first finish high school or obtain the equivalent before applying for acceptance to a higher education institution. Once you have obtained your diploma, research different distance learning associate's degree programs that suit your needs. You will need to choose an area of study first, and then find out which schools offer the programs you are looking for. Be sure to choose an accredited institution. Accredited schools have been analyzed by an accreditation agency and have been found to offer high quality education that is recognized by other schools and universities as well as employers. Attending a non-accredited school could cost you the opportunity to transfer your earned credits to a four-year college, and it may also cost you the ability to qualify for certain types of financial aid.

A woman taking a distance learning class for an associate's degree.
A woman taking a distance learning class for an associate's degree.

Once you have decided what kind of distance learning associate's degree you want to pursue, apply to the program. Be sure to include all materials requested with the application, such as high school transcripts and letters of recommendation. Your transcripts will be available to you from your high school, and your high school teachers can write recommendation letters for you. If you are then accepted to the distance learning associate's degree program, meet with a student advisor to determine the best courses to start with. The advisor can walk you through the registration process and help you decide which classes will be most appropriate for your courses of study.

Familiarize yourself with the distance learning format. This may mean learning to use the Internet, access message boards, open mp3 files, or watch streaming videos online. Many distance learning schools offer tutorials that can help you understand how the courses work and what kinds of materials you will need to complete coursework. Be sure to watch these tutorials if you have never taken a distance learning class before.

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    • A woman taking a distance learning class for an associate's degree.
      By: goodluz
      A woman taking a distance learning class for an associate's degree.