If you’re earning pennies at a dead end job, you may hate going to work every day. Without the necessary skills to propel your career, you likely feel stuck in your current position.
This situation is all too common. But you shouldn’t feel that this is the best you can do. By challenging yourself and learning new skills, you can jump start your career and receive higher paychecks.
If you’re looking to make a career change sooner rather than later, going back to school and getting a certificate might be the answer. Maybe you have a knack or a strong interest in math and prefer working in an office setting. In this case, an online accounting certificate might be right up your alley.
Imagine being able to pursue a passion and enjoy your work.
But like many adults, you may not be in a position to quit your job and go to school full-time. Fortunately, you don’t have to. This is one of the main benefits of an online certificate.
Although online certificates are convenient and flexible, there are a few things you should consider before going this route.
1. Evaluate tuition
Tuition is undoubtedly a concern. Some people mistakenly believe that an online degree or certificate is cheaper than a university education. This is sometimes true. However, tuition varies by school, and online educations aren’t always the cheapest way to go.
Don’t think that you’ll be able to complete an education for pennies. The truth is, many online universities and colleges have fees and rates that are comparable to traditional colleges.
However, don’t let the cost of tuition discourage you. Like traditional colleges, many online schools offer scholarships. For example, bryantstratton.edu offers tuition scholarships to eligible high school seniors and adults.
There is the option of applying for federal aid, such as a Pell grant and a Stafford loan. Additionally, you can apply for private lending through a bank or credit union.
2. Is this school accredited?
Accreditation is important when selecting a college to receive your online accounting certificate. Here’s the thing, if you get a degree from a school that is not accredited, employers may lose confidence in your degree. As a result, they may pass over your application and hire someone else.
If employers do not recognize your certificate, it’s like flushing money down the toilet.
3. Communicate with other students
Picking the right school can be challenging. You will need to learn as much about the college as possible. Contact the school and speak with an enrollment counselor either over the phone or in-person. Ask questions about the school, programs and the admissions process. But don’t stop here.
If possible, seek out other students and inquire about their experience. How was the workload? Did they have a positive learning experience? Their responses can help you determine whether a particular program and online school is the right choice for you.
4. Is your lifestyle conducive to online learning?
With an Internet connection and a computer, you can get an online certificate, a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree from a multitude of universities across the nation. This is beneficial for anyone who needs to learn at his or her own pace. However, before you invest in an online certificate, consider whether you’re the right person for this particular program.
Getting an online certificate requires self discipline. These courses do not involve classroom attendance. Work is assigned remotely, and you’re responsible for completing assignments and tests by the due date.
There is no professor looking over your shoulder or reminding you about due dates. With that said, this type of learning environment does not work for everyone.
5. How up-to-date is your technology at home?
Before you enroll in an online certificate program, make sure your technology is up-to-date. Online learning is supposed to be convenient and flexible. But if you do not have reliable Internet at your home, or if your computer is dated and slow, the online learning experience can be painful and frustrating.
Let’s say you have one hour to submit an assignment. After logging in, you discover that your Internet isn’t working. This is not only stressful, but you’ll have to rush and find a reliable Internet connection – maybe at a fast food restaurant, the library or a retail store. Without the right technology, you risk turning in late assignments.
Before you make any educational decisions, it is important that you weigh the pros and cons. Going back to school is a huge step. Therefore, you need to do your research and choose your school carefully. If you have the time and resources to commit to an online certificate program, you’re a step closer to getting the job you deserve.