Friday, August 26, 2011

Online Degrees in Education: What to Look for When Choosing a Program

Have you decided to pursue an online degree in education—a degree which will allow you to become a teacher and share your love of learning with the next generation of students? Education is a very popular course of study, with a variety of degree levels and programs to choose from. However, before you make any rash decisions regarding school enrollment, it’s important that you first consider whether or not the program(s) they offer suits your goals, matches your interests and fits your schedule. To help you accomplish this, in this article we will point out some of the primary factors to consider when shopping online education programs, and provide you with a list of questions to consider that will help you narrow down your selections.

Online Degrees in Education: What to Look For and Questions to Ask

The primary goal of any online degree in education program should be to fully prepare you for a career as a teacher. Thus, your primary selection criteria should be a school with which you feel comfortable—one that offers the most effective instructional methods and caters to a variety of learning styles. In addition, there are several factors and characteristics to consider—questions you need to ask to ensure you get the most from your educational experience. Some of these include:

Accreditation. Is the school and program through which you’ll earn your online degree in education accredited? This is very crucial and must always be considered, because if not, you may be wasting your time. Although most online schools of education are fully accredited through either the National Council of Accreditation for Teacher Education or the Teacher Education Accreditation Council, there are a few schools operating online without the proper credentials, and therefore a degree from one of these schools may be worthless, preventing you from becoming employed after graduation.

Schedule. One of the primary reasons for pursuing an online degree in education as opposed to a traditional degree is the flexibility. Sadly, some schools will promote their education program as “online,” when in reality only a small portion of that program is conducted via the Internet. For that reason, always make sure that the schedule requirements for your degree program will not interfere with your other responsibilities.

Curriculum. Are you certain that the curriculum offered through the online education program addresses your career interests and requirements? Has the curriculum been approved by a recognized standards committee? Always research the curriculum fully before making an enrollment decision.

Faculty. Does the faculty include doctoral level instructors and/or instructors with real-world teaching experience? Who you learn from is often as important as what you learn, so take some time to investigate your instructors’ qualifications beforehand.

Student Teaching. Does the institution you’re considering attending offer student teaching towards the end of the program? Student teaching is an important component of any teacher readiness program, and one that most states will require before you can become certificated.

Career Assistance. Does the online degree program help with placement assistance? Are the majority of graduates able to pass the state licensing exam? Competition for teaching jobs can be fierce in some states, which is why those schools that offer career services should be high on your list.

An online degree in education can open up a whole world of opportunities, but before jumping “feet first” into the first educational opportunity you come across, it is always a good idea to first do some research to ensure the school is a good fit for your unique interests and abilities.

1 comment:

Josh McCreery said...
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