The Pros and Cons of Online Degree Programs

There are plenty of benefits to getting an online degree. Flickr

Whether it’s due to personal reasons, such as family responsibilities, or simply because of a full time work schedule, the traditional college setting isn’t for everyone.

This has led to the rise of online institutions and online degrees, which tend to be more “at your own pace” rather than at a set schedule, which can be highly beneficial to some people.

Knowing the pros and cons of an online degree program can help make the decision to further one’s education easier.

Benefits of an Online Degree Program

Flexibility is one of the biggest benefits of an online degree program. Working online at your own pace allows the student to earn a degree on their time, around their work schedule.

This is great for those who already have a particularly busy schedule. An online program can also help save money. Not only do online programs reduce the need for commuting, they also typically have their curriculum books and other research materials available online as part of the class.

This means more money saved and less money spent on expensive college books. While these aren’t always free, they are often offered at a reduced price, which still helps save money in the long run.

An online degree can be completed as fast–or as slow–as desired. In some instances, people have completed entire four year degrees in less than a year. However, due to schedules, in some instances it may take more than four years to complete a traditional four year degree.

Finally, having an advanced degree or even a certification can mean a number of different opportunities will become available to the student. This can lead to an increase in income or a better, which many feel improves their lives.

Negative Aspects of an Online Degree Program

Of course, it is expected that there are also some negative aspects to online degree programs. For starters, if the institution is not an accredited institution, then the degree is basically worthless and the money was not well spent. For this reason, it is important to do a background check to ensure that the institution is accredited.

If you have a young family, getting an online degree can be difficult. Flickr


Though working from home sounds appealing to many people, it can result in a lack of motivation for many.




Some home environments are not ideal for work, whether it’s due to children or simply because the student associates home with relaxing. This lack of discipline may mean that the degree never gets finished.    

Finally, an online degree program means independent study. Not everyone is suited to working alone or not having someone else to bounce ideas off of.

For this reason, it’s important to have a supportive friend or family member with whom these ideas or thoughts can be bounced off, though some students can and do get by without an additional sounding board.

Online degree programs aren’t for everyone. Not everyone can work in an unstructured learning environment, as the home often is. However, in some instances, an online degree is the perfect solution for many busy individuals.

About the Author: Dane Sers is a guidance counselor who enjoys helping people from all walks of life find educational resources. If you are a single mother trying to go back to school, visit for a plethora of resources.

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