The Bachelor’s Degree, from the Latin word “baccalaureus” is a degree that takes either four or five years of study, depending on the discipline. In the 21st century professional world, nearly any career requires a bachelor’s degree as a very minimum to even be considered for employment. For many occupations, you can certainly acquire the skills you need by simply taking a course here and there as you discover a need for additional training; however, an actual degree program will give you a foundation for additional education as well as specific training in your major area.
Thanks to the internet, it no longer takes four years to complete a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, while the best degrees still have "core" requirements, you can often begin some of your major related courses in your very first semester.
What do I look for in a quality bachelor’s degree?
Some students settle for certificate programs or look to online degrees as a way to take only the courses that interest them and avoid the traditional core classes—such as English composition or math classes. There is so much competition among internet programs that it is certainly possible to find programs where you can earn a four year degree with very few of the usual freshman college classes. However, it may not be wise to try to avoid courses just because you think you may not like them or because you don’t see how they fit in the career you are seeking. For example, while you may not see writing research papers in your crystal ball, a solid foundation in English communication, including the ability to evaluate information, will enhance nearly any other career. Similarly, psychology, which most freshmen have to take, will help you understand the behavior of other people—which could eventually be your co-workers or employees.
Therefore, when you are evaluating an online program, you want to look for one that gives you a well rounded education—without going overboard on core courses or completely shortcutting them.
Since most people change careers at least twice in their lives, it’s a good idea to enroll in a program that includes electives that allow you to simply explore other career areas. Most bachelor’s degree programs require anywhere from 96 to 120 credit hours—varying according to the number of 4-credit courses that are included. A lab course, for example, will often be at least four credits while an English, math, or business course may only be three credits.
How long will it take to get a degree online?
Your actual months or years of study will be up to you. That is, you can usually take longer than four years—in a situation where you can only take one or two courses at a time—or you can condense your program and finish in 2 and ½ or three years. The beauty of online study is that you can complete your courses as quickly as you are able and can usually begin the next course in sequence without waiting for the start of a traditional semester.
What if I need financial help?
Student aid for online students is available from the same sources that provide loans and grants to campus students. In other words, you will probably need to complete the annual financial aid form (called the FAF) in order to apply for TAP or PELL grants or to apply for student loans. The funds will be awarded according to your own qualifications and need and will not be impacted by the fact that you are earning your degree online rather than in the traditional manner.
How do I get started?
Simply use our friendly search engine to locate the program of your choice. In just a matter of days, a college admissions counselor will contact you to provide you with additional information and tell you how to complete their application package.