If you’re working full-time and pursuing a college degree, you need an online master’s degree program with features that will help you succeed. A flexible schedule, a focus on adult learning theory and credit for professional experience are three factors that can make an online master’s degree program a good fit for a full-time worker.
A Flexible Schedule
When you’re juggling a job and a graduate education, it’s important that you choose a school and program format that will work with your schedule. Convenience and flexibility are among the main reasons working students choose a distance learning education. When you study online, you can log onto your virtual classroom from anywhere in the world.
Different online programs operate differently, so be sure to find out before you enroll what kind of flexibility your degree program allows. Some online programs are synchronous, which means you must be virtually present at specified times, much like you would have to adhere to a set schedule in traditional courses. Even among asynchronous programs that allow you to learn and study on your own schedule, some schools require you to log onto the learning platform a minimum number of times per week.
An Emphasis on Adult Education
As a working adult, you’re not a kid anymore – so why would you want to learn like one?
Research into adult learning theory has revealed that mature students learn in different ways than their younger counterparts, according to San Diego City College. For one thing, adults tend to prefer self-directed learning, but they also enjoy the opportunity to participate in hands-on learning experiences. Because they have more extensive life and work experience than young adults do, they often are more eager to learn information that relates to their practical concerns and the specific competencies that will help them reach their goals.
A number of the best online master’s in accounting schools in the country, including Walden University and Strayer University, focus on adult education. There, you’ll find that the average student age is noticeably higher than at most schools, and that programs are tailored to address the educational needs of working adults.
Credit for Your Professional Experience
Speaking of having work experience, some online degree programs will allow you to turn your professional experience into college credits that will help you complete your graduation requirements sooner. This option is mainly available at schools that use a competency-based curriculum. Rather than simply completing credits, students focus on attaining specific skills or competencies. If you already have experience in a subject area, you may have the option to test out of the course and receive the appropriate credit toward your degree.
No single school is the right choice for every student. Decide how important flexibility, a focus on adult education and a competency-based curriculum are to you, and choose the program that best meets your needs.