Online Education Sees 17% Growth
At the start of the 2008-2009 school year, more than 4.6 million college students across the United States were taking at least one online course, according to the Sloan Consortium. That’s a 17 percent jump from 2007, which translates to more than 1 in 4 college students! If you are thinking about returning to school, your online degree options are becoming wider and more varied with each school year.
So what factors are driving the growth of online education?
For one, current jobs in the U.S. have become more and more service oriented, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lack of better-paying jobs encourages more people to seek education to gain a leg-up over other candidates, and those currently employed want to improve their chances for advancement by retooling their existing skill set. Between 2007 and 2009, the higher-education population grew 1.2 percent overall, as college-educated workers continue to be in high demand.
Additional growth in online education extends from traditional schools that are offering more online courses due to student demand. Traditional colleges have historically set schedules for when classes are offered, limiting the times – and places – that classes can be taken. Students pursuing online degrees can take the courses they want, when they want, and are not confined to any set schedule of class offerings.
The Sloan Consortium recently reported that 73 percent of schools saw increased demand for existing online courses and programs in the 2008-2009 school year. Community colleges in particular have been increasing their number of online offerings as students seek flexibility in their schedules and look for degree programs that allow them to work in tandem.
By making online education programs accessible, schools are accommodating the needs of a wide range of adult students, including those who don't have the time or transportation to attend a traditional campus class, who learn best when working at their own pace, who are serving in the military, or are returning to school after several years in the workforce.
To determine if an online degree is for you, ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you have strong time management skills?
- Are you a motivated self-starter?
- Are you driven to improve your career options and add new skills to your repertoire?
- Are you organized?
There are a number of qualities that a successful online student holds, but time management and organization are two big themes that online alums reiterate. For more information about online degree programs, visit OnlineDegreeFinder.com.