The market for online qualifications, degrees and special training courses has become a very strong one in the past decade and it seems to continue to thrive. All predictions seem to agree that this trend will remain on an upward path from now on as well, and how could it not be so? The competition on the job market is fiercer than ever, the race for extra qualifications seems to be one of the main things to differentiate yourself from your competitors, and the demanding rhythm of all this makes it hard to pursue a degree or training on traditional terms. This is especially true for those of us who are past their teens and initial college age and want to catch up on their training while also having other adult responsibilities to handle, like caring for family and an actual job and so on. In this context, it was only natural for the online training program industry to develop explosively.
While there are indeed many advantages to be gained from enrolling in a well-chosen online training program, there are also some potential dangers you should watch out for when browsing for choices. We’ve comprised a short guide for searching for an appropriate online course, so you know what to look out for. The specifics will of course differ from case to case, but these are some basic guidelines which can hopefully help keep you out of immediate traps. Since most of time we’re not only taking into account prestigious programs like SUNY online courses, the less established institutions may sometimes prove to be scams you should watch out for.
1. Define your goal narrowly.
This might sound like the most over-used cliché of all time, but you have to establish what you want and need first. The type of degree or certificate you need, the field, and especially what you need it for. If it’s just about the knowledge than it might be a bit easier to choose: just go with the flow and settle for a course that seems to tell you things you haven’t heard before. But it never is as easy as that, is it? Most of the time, there are other reasons of a pragmatic nature which dictate our needs to obtain that extra degree or certificate. Define those as clearly as possible – like needing the certificate in order to enroll in some other program, or needing it as a means to obtain extra credit at your main university, or needing it in order to apply for a certain job etcetera – and then it will be easier to filter what you’re looking for.
2. Ask around for recommendations.
Once you hit the search button for online training programs you might be interested in, you risk being swallowed by a seemingly endless stream of offers with no end. This isn’t really a proper way to go, so you need to narrow your criteria a bit. The best place to start isn’t the internet, at least in an initial stage, but your friends or colleagues and acquaintances. Before searching on your own, ask them what would be an online training program they would recommend for your particular goal. Better yet, you can ask directly at the institution where you will need to deliver that certificate for a way to go – perhaps they have a preferred educational partner as well.
3. Check credentials.
Once you’ve obtained a few leads, you should not neglect the good reputation of the institution as a criterion for your choice. If you go with a prestigious program, like one of the SUNY online courses, you shouldn’t worry for credentials at all, but if the online training program you’re considering isn’t hosted by an established university, then make sure you do a check-up. Call your state’s authority (or check directly with the institution where you’ll need that certificate later, see above) and ask if they recognize the course you’re interested in. Most probably everything is alright, but it’s better to double check than be scammed.
4. Maintain a proper motivation upon enrolling.
After choosing an online training program and enrolling for it, make sure you maintain a proper motivation and study rhythm for yourself. The chief danger with online courses – as highly convenient as they can be with their flexibility – is that students are tempted to take them less seriously than their traditional counterparts. This makes them postpone studying until so many lessons are accumulated that it’s almost impossible to catch up, which makes some attendees simply quit and maybe start all over again next semester or next year. To avoid such a waste of time and money, simply make yourself a studying routine and stick to it once you find an online training program to enroll into.