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Guide to Earning a Medical Education Online

Pursuing a college degree can be challenging, but an online education makes it possible for students seeking an advanced degree to attend class, participate in lectures and take tests from the their couch or dining room table.

This flexibility adds yet another question for potential students to consider when choosing a university – online or brick and mortar?

By choosing an online program offered through an accredited brick and mortar university, pursuing a continuing medical education can be a less stressful and more accommodating option – especially for someone with a rigid work schedule or nontraditional working hours.

Securing an online degree affords the student the opportunity to customize class time and work around regular job hours by viewing lectures and taking tests when they have time to complete them. Virtual studies also remove such time-consuming inconveniences as commuting to campus, finding parking and walking to class.

Research into Online Medical Schools Comes First

Before launching into an online degree program, students must make sure to pick the right school and the right online program to suit their needs.

An article in U.S. News & World Report offers a primer for students wanting to find a suitable online program.

The first thing to check is accreditation and to be sure the accreditation is legitimate and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, such as a regionally accredited university, the U.S. News article said.

The Department of Education’s College Navigator database is a resource that can verify any college’s accreditation as well as provide other information such as graduation and retention rates. The College Navigator database can be found at http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/.

The level of support the university offers is another area students should inquire about. This should include academic assistance and career services. Prospective students also should check financial aid assistance and be sure they understand any financial aid packages.

Finally, research the school’s graduation rate and its student loan default rate. These critical statistics may indicate the amount and quality of academic support and financial aid advice.

USF Health’s Morsani College of Medicine, which offers an online Master’s Degree in Health Informatics and a Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics, is an online medical school regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The University of South Florida’s Master of Science degree and Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics are tailored for healthcare professionals who want to achieve an advanced degree with the flexibility to schedule classes around work and home life.

Why Graduate School Online Pays Off

In today’s competitive job market it is imperative to distinguish yourself from other recent graduates searching for entry-level positions. One of the best ways to do this is by earning a master’s degree. What most may not know is how easy it is to attend online graduate schools.

Though higher education may not always be the first option that comes to mind, there are significant benefits to graduate school that may give you an edge in your personal and professional life. Here are five reasons graduate school online can be a great career decision.

  1. Personal growth – Graduate school online provides an opportunity to explore interests in much more depth than at the undergraduate level. The experience of specializing in a particular field can stand as a lifelong achievement that builds both character and passion for those who seek the benefits of developing the mind.
  2. Graduate school online opens doors – Though earning a bachelor’s degree is an important step toward building a successful career, it may not be enough in the years to come to distinguish you from other jobseekers with a graduate degree. With recent studies suggesting that many college graduates at the undergraduate level are having difficulty landing a full-time job, a master’s degree becomes essential, especially when applying to the increasing number of organizations requiring new hires to have advanced degrees.
  3. Further career advancement – A master’s degree demonstrates to employers that you have passion, persistence and intellectual fortitude. Graduate school is a demanding experience and overcoming the challenge is one way to show employers that you have the drive and skill necessary for higher-level positions.
  4. Higher salaries – A recent report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) suggests that master’s degree holders have higher starting salaries than those with only a bachelor’s degree. The difference is significant, varying from 20% to 40% depending on the industry.
  5. Recognition and network building – Graduate school is an opportunity to build a professional image with professors, peers and potential employers. A master’s degree is a specialization and your classmates likely will be future practitioners in your field. Demonstrating your skill, commitment and ideas to your teachers and fellow classmates will help build a strong network that can be highly useful in opening professional doors.
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