In days gone by, if you wanted a college degree or industry certification, you got a little help from your parents and/or had a part-time job.  This was fine when the pace of life was a bit slower and those types of jobs (often in retail or hospitality) were readily available.

The reality today however is that many people find it very hard to work and go to school at the same time. There isn’t enough time in the day to do everything, or the right type of job simply isn’t conveniently available.  If getting to work uses up most of what you earn, it begs the question – is it really worth it?  When you add in how much school costs, it’s easy to see why so many people give up on trying to figure out how to go to college.

Applying for grants and student loans is one way to make getting a degree more affordable.  It will certainly help pay for school, but then you need to factor in getting to and from school, and work?  The price of gas is making a lot of people stay at home.  It may also mean you’ll be stuck with the responsibility of paying back the loan well into the future.

Take A Course That You Can Do From Home

An increasing number of people are turning to online classes and certification programs instead because they are convenient and the lack of travel reduces overall costs.  This in turn has prompted universities, colleges, and business groups to improve their offerings in this area.

Today, a quick online search will find you dozens of institutions that offer online versions of their courses as well as dedicated online learning establishments.  For instance, did you know that the American Red Cross and American Heart Association now offer online versions of their emergency certifications like the AHA ACLS certification?

Enrolling In An Online Course

A common assumption people make is that it is easier to get into an online course.  However, most online education facilities have similar entry qualifications to traditional institutions.  You still have to apply.  You still have to meet the same pre-qualification requirements, which in some cases may mean already holding certain credentials or training.

There’s also a common presumption that online courses are ‘almost’ free.  In some cases though they can cost almost as much as enrolling in the same classes at a traditional college.  The institution offering the classes still has to pay your instructor or teacher to be available for you.  They still have to produce the course material and maintain it.  Where you will save is in travel costs and, if you would need to relocate to attend, accommodation expenses.

Furthermore, the higher you go in terms of qualifications and certifications, the more it is going to cost you.  However, your long term earning potential likewise increases with each degree or certification you get under your belt.

The real area where online training truly comes into its own is convenience.  No, or very little, travel required (which also saves money).  Study when and where it suits.  Instead of traditional classrooms with a teacher, you’ll have online labs and chat rooms where you can go to get help with your course.  And so on.  It’s this aspect that makes online degrees and certifications so appealing to many professionals.