Perhaps you've seen advertisements for an online associate degree program and are thinking about looking in to what your options are. The first question that most people ask about getting a two-year degree through an Internet program is, whether or not they will be qualified to obtain the job they desire. Despite the fact that technology is expanding educational options, many people still think that there is a stigma attached to getting a degree through a virtual college. In a few industries, this may be true. However, there are three career fields in which it is commonly accepted that there are good online associate degree programs. Students entering these fields tend to find that they can easily compete in the job market using the degree that they obtained from an online college.
Although there are many different careers that you can get after obtaining an online associate degree, the three most common fields entered after graduation are business fields, paralegal positions and certain aspects of the health care industry. These are general areas of study which each offer their own unique programs. For example, business students may use their degree to get jobs in accounting, office administration, or marketing. Likewise, healthcare students may focus their studies on a particular area of the industry such as work as a dental assistant or massage therapist, securing a job in their specialty area upon graduation. Paralegal studies is a more specific degree with a more focused job goal; however, many students in this area use it as a stepping stone to other career goals such as becoming an attorney or working from home doing legal research.
The reason that these industries are the ones most commonly entered upon graduation from an online program is that they have come to widely accept that an online associate degree is just as valuable and demonstrative of professional ability as is a standard campus-based associate degree. Other fields are starting to come around (particularly computer-based fields and creative/artistic industries). However, these three remain at the top of the list. As a result, there are numerous different online schools that you can attend in order to obtain one of these related degrees. This only serves to boost the value of the online associate degree because increased programs mean better competition, which means an improved educational environment.
Students who have a strong interest in getting an online associate degree should carefully consider what courses they are going to want to take and which specific degree they are going to get. A student interested in business may think that a general business degree is the way to go. Another may think that a more focused degree in marketing or in business administration will better assist them in getting a job. This all depends on the marketing in the area that the student is going to be seeking a job after graduation. Doing research into the job market ahead of time, with a specific focus on which job managers will hire someone with this kind of degree, is a wise time investment in the future of where that education can lead.
The online associate degree gives many students the flexibility that they need to get themselves on the way to a fulfilling and well-paying career. Many students simply can't attend a conventional college for one reason or another and so choose to make use of the increasing acceptance of the online college to obtain the education that they need to get a better job. For now, the best jobs to be looking at remain business, paralegal and health industry jobs. But as time goes on, more and more opportunities will open up for these students.
Andy West is a writer for Virginia College. Virginia College Online offers many Online Associate Degree programs. Visit Virginia College Online to select the online program that is right for you.