If you want a career in public service, whether it’s administration, education, law enforcement, or healthcare, then you may either need a college degree to begin the career you want, or it may be beneficial to your employment prospects to have one.
With the advances in online education over the past couple of decades, it is now possible to study for many public service roles online – including even practical roles like nursing and police work – with many prestigious and reputable US colleges having online programs available. With the changes made all over the world to cope with the COVID crisis, studying from home has become even more commonplace, and there are plenty of things that can support you as you work towards an online degree.
Here, we look at some of the reasons why this can be a great choice if you want to achieve your degree and start your career, without the upheaval of doing your degree on campus. We’ll also look at some tips for studying from home that can help Virgin Islands residents following these types of programs on the path to success
The Flexibility of Online Study
Online study offers a huge number of benefits in terms of fitting your study around your life, compared with studying on campus. For residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands, it also means you have a wide choice of colleges and programs, without having to relocate to the U.S. mainland to have access to them. This can make it possible for people who may not have an opportunity to get the degree they want for the career they would like to have to gain their qualifications.
Studying at home without the need to commute or relocate means you can fit studies around a job or family commitments, and you also have the option to study full or part time, depending on how much time you have available. This can be especially important if you are a graduate looking to move on to a master’s level degree, but already have a job you don’t want to leave, or have started a family. However, it can also open up plenty of options for people looking to do a bachelor’s degree after high school, or as part of a career change, too.
With online study, you can watch lectures at times that suit you, and can fit your independent study and coursework around whatever lifestyle you have. As long as you have enough time available each week to accommodate at least part time study, you have options available with online programs that can allow you to graduate.
Online Degrees Are Well Regarded, and Becoming the Norm
In the early days of online degrees, the technology and support for them was nowhere near as good as it is now, and so some employers did regard online qualifications as less prestigious than those obtained the traditional way. However, this has changed over time, with the technology to support online courses improving rapidly thanks to things like fast internet and streaming capabilities, and college professors becoming more used to working with students remotely.
It was already the case that most professionals in many fields, including public sector fields, regarded degrees like the BA in policing from Wilfrid Laurier University which can be done online, just as highly as degrees attained on campus, even before COVID led to almost all students having to do some or all of their studies from home.
In the wake of the global COVID pandemic, however, where colleges and schools had to provide ways for students of every age and subject to continue to learn at home, the facilities for online study became even more widely adopted and used. Now that all students and educators have become accustomed to these ways of working, it is likely that online degrees will become the norm in a lot of fields, as they are more convenient for the students, and less expensive to run. This means any reservations employers may have still harbored around online qualifications will vanish as people educated during and after COVID enter the workforce.
Tips for Studying Online for Your Future Public Service Career
Now we have looked at some of the advantages to studying online, and why choosing an online degree will not hinder your employability, it is time to consider how to make sure you succeed in getting the most out of your studies.
For many people, it can be unusual at first to study solely from home, because it can require a lot of self-discipline and self-motivation when you don’t have a fixed schedule of things to do, and don’t have the social side of attending a course. However, once you get used to managing your time and interacting with your teachers and other students online, it quickly becomes easy to focus and study effectively.
Here are some tips to make your study sessions productive:
· Have a comfortable workspace that you dedicate to studying – you will avoid a lot of potential health issues like neck and back pain by working with a proper desk and chair, and having your screen at the right height.
· Make a plan for what you want to achieve each week, and when you will study.
· Take regular breaks where you step away from your computer, so you feel refreshed when you come back.
· Keep an eye on your sleep pattern. It can be easy to end up burning the candle at both ends if you don’t take control of when you study, and when you sleep.
· Make time for exercise and your social life – a degree takes years, so you need to keep the other areas of your life healthy and balanced while you are throwing yourself into your studies.
As you can see, there are lots of merits to doing a degree online, and you can fall into a good routine where you are productive and effective, without putting yourself under too much stress.