If cost considerations don't drive you to attend an online university or college, then community colleges offer the most affordable online associate degree programs. State residents usually pay the least amount of money for online classes, although some states allow non-resident students to register for classes online from their state's community college. Although a degree from a community college is less expensive than a university, it still may be worth it because of the quality of education that can be offered to those who are able to work from home.
There are a few key factors to take into consideration when choosing an online college degree program. The first is the distance from which you will be studying. Distance learning offers more flexibility than traditional learning because you can complete your coursework and exams in the comfort of your own home and study at your own pace, but the quality of education offered by online universities and colleges is still no match for a traditional classroom setting.
Online associate degree programs tend to have more flexibility in the subjects that you can study. Some require a solid foundation in math and science while others concentrate on art and humanities subjects. It's important to research the subjects that will be covered in each online degree program before signing up, as some degree programs only offer general courses or the bare minimum. If you're seeking a program that offers more depth in a specific area, consider attending a community college for the duration of your degree and applying to a community college that offers accredited online classes for credit. The credits you earn on the online degree will count towards the credit required to transfer into the institution that you plan to attend for your degree.
You should also consider whether or not the online community college degree program that you plan to attend offers any kind of financial assistance. Most state-funded institutions offer financial aid to their students, although most are not generous enough to cover every aspect of your academic costs. If you can't afford the entire cost of your online degree, consider transferring into a part-time or accelerated program, which can often be completed in the space of six months instead of the traditional two years.
Another consideration when choosing an online community college is whether or not it accepts credits from a traditional school, such as a community college, or a university. Online learning is completely dependent upon the distance from which you are learning. If your high school did not . . . . . . accept credits from a university or college, the online school may not accept them from other schools. Before deciding upon a particular degree program, make sure that the online college that you choose accepts credits from a university or college of higher learning.
If you're planning to work while completing your online college degree program, you may have to work full time while attending school, which can make it difficult to continue earning money once you've graduated. However, there are some excellent work-from-home opportunities that can allow you to work and still complete your online studies. If you're interested in working for yourself, consider telecommuting or taking online surveys, which can earn you money while you learn at your own pace.