Six Reasons to Get an Online Degree

A Marine noncommissioned officer takes online college courses through the University of Phoenix while serving aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.
Cpl. Dakota Berg, a consolidated memorandum receipt noncommissioned officer with Transition Team Supply, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group (Forward), takes online college courses through the University of Phoenix while serving aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, July 22, 2009. (Cpl. Jo Jones/II Marine Expeditionary Force photo)

Obtaining an online associate's, bachelor's or master's degree can provide a significant income boost to an employee. A person with a master's degree can earn around $500,000 more over their lifetime than a person with a bachelor's degree, and earnings increase by about $1 million for each additional degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Extensive work experience, coupled with a college degree, gives job seekers an edge in the business world.

Here are six more reasons to get an online degree:

  1. Career and/or salary advancement: The upper levels of certain careers may be closed to people without a degree, no matter how talented or industrious you are.
  2. The job market is tough: A slow economy is a popular reason for getting your degree online. The reasoning is: Since I'm not going to get a job anyway, I might as well continue to get an education. Maybe I can ride out the job scarcity and be more employable when the market improves.
  3. Professional licensing: Social workers, psychologists, therapists and others who directly treat or counsel clients will almost certainly need graduate education to meet national and state licensing requirements. The proper licensing and credentials are essential not only for employment reasons, but also for insurance reimbursement. There are many insurance carriers that authorize payment only to practitioners who meet certain educational and licensing standards.
  4. Career change: Many people return to school after being away from the workforce or working in a particular industry for a while. Their interests and abilities have developed over the years and may have nothing at all to do with their previous degree. A bachelor's or master's degree is necessary training for the new field.
  5. The switch from practitioner to administrator: After working in the trenches for a while and developing a strong sense of how an organization, school, clinic or department could be run better, employees may be interested in moving up to the management level of their fields. This may also require more education.
  6. Because you love it: There are plenty of people who choose online or on-campus education, because they simply love the field, and it provides welcome intellectual stimulation.

Before going to school, it's vital to establish career goals, interests and finances. And job seekers armed with this information should be able to successfully apply to the right programs, get accepted and use their online degree to move ahead in the business world.

Find schools with VA-approved programs for use with the GI Bill.

Statistics provided by Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions.

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