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Choose the Right Online Program to Boost Your Resume

Whether you are looking to change careers entirely or want a promotion, an online credential can help you achieve your goals.
Finding the right online program can be daunting. Instead of just going to your local college and seeing what’s available, online education offers so many choices. The challenge is finding the program that will give you an edge in the job search.
As you evaluate online credentials, ask yourself these four questions to find a program the prepares you academically and can move your resume to the top of the pile.
1. What kind of credential are you looking for? Figure out what kind of program will serve you best in your quest for advancement. Are you changing fields entirely, or looking to just build skills? You may not need to pursue an advanced degree if a certificate is enough – at least for now – to get you that better position.
A professional certificate or non-credit badge can be great for building skills, or maybe just getting your feet wet – but be certain that your potential or current employer will value it. Is the certificate advanced enough? Will having this credential really make you stand out?
2. Is the program accredited? Accreditation is proof to a prospective employer that you attended a legitimate program. Many online programs advertise their accreditation online, but not all types of accreditation are equal.
Regionally accredited schools, such as those in the Big Ten, typically have greater name recognition. Nationally accredited schools, on the other hand, are usually smaller, lesser-known and possibly less reputable.
There are also organizations that accredit specific academic programs, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. A degree from a professionally accredited program may also be necessary for licensure and serves as proof to your prospective boss that you attended a top-notch program.
3. What is the school’s reputation? Some online programs are more reputable than others. Unlike a “brick-and-mortar” university, visiting the campuses of online programs is difficult or impossible.
Instead, look online for reviews, consumer reports and news stories that might reveal a particular online university’s reputation, whether it’s good or bad. Also check out the school’s official and unofficial social media presence, reading the posts and perspectives of online students themselves – not just the school’s marketing office.
4. What will you get for your money? An online degree is more than the coursework. Services such as academic advising, tutoring and career services are valuable and should be designed specifically for online students. These services are critical to your success in networking, completing the credential, and making the most of it once you graduate, which includes presenting it on a resume.
Does the institution offer math, statistics or writing support available online 24/7? Are alumni networking and career services available to online graduates in your job market? Not all online universities offer these programs – be sure to evaluate all aspects the online program and university you are considering.
The takeaway: Considering how your online program will be viewed by employers is critical. Boost your resume by choosing the appropriate credential and assessing factors such as accreditation, cost and reputation. The right credential from the right program should bring you a good return on your investment and position you to advance professionally.
source usnews.co

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