There was a time when the only path to a successful career is to go to a brick and mortar school. With the advances in technology over the years, it is now possible to earn a degree and acquire the knowledge that you need without stepping foot in any physical school.
Many of these brick and mortar schools now also offer blended or online courses in addition to the usual in-campus courses that they offer. But these are not the only providers of online education and learning you will find. There are lots of other websites that provide unaccredited degrees, massive online open courses (MOOCs), short courses, and other ways to learn.
The question is, which of these will help you advance in your career? The accredited degrees, undoubtedly, will be able to count heavily towards a more impressive resume and possibly higher asking salary. However, the fees associated with these accredited degrees are usually way higher than other forms of online education, sometimes they are only slightly lower than if you enrolled in an equivalent in-campus course.
A lot of online degree programs should not be underestimated. There are real learning and knowledge to be gained from these and sometimes the only real edge that accredited degrees have from these unaccredited ones is in the name – strip them both of accreditation and there may not be any difference at all.
Here are some ways an unaccredited degree can help you succeed in your career:
- Acquire new knowledge and skills. There is no ‘accreditation’ when it comes to knowledge and learning. Any new and additional education that will help increase your knowledge and skills is always a good thing. Once you have spent a few years in your chosen career, any advancement is not solely dependent on additional accredited degrees you have earned. What usually matters more are your knowledge and skills, how you apply them in your job, and how you pursue ways to improve them. Getting an unaccredited degree will say one thing about you – you want to learn more and you are willing to invest in your own learning.
- Prepare for advancements in the workplace. If you are gunning for advancement in your workplace, taking the initiative for your professional development is a step in the right direction. Taking up an additional degree that can be vital in the role you would like to fill, even if the online education provider is unaccredited, will still help you prepare for the demands and responsibilities of that role. Aside from performing excellently in your current position in the workplace, being more proactive in acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills for a higher position says a lot about your commitment.
- Learn from experts in your field. Choosing a degree program that allows you to work closely with experts in your field will provide you with invaluable experience. Even if the online education provider is unaccredited, the opportunity to learn from experts in your field will be hard to pass up. Not only will it be valuable for building your network, you will earn knowledge and skills that can only be gained from actual experiences of these experts.
- Pursue a research idea. If you have a research idea that will be valuable for your workplace, why not hit two birds with one stone by enrolling in a degree and using your idea as a dissertation topic? Not only will you be able to pursue your research idea, you get to earn a degree with it as well.
- Achieve new levels of influence and credibility. Even if the degree you earned is unaccredited, the knowledge and skills you will gain from it can help you build your confidence in your career and in the workplace. This may seem trivial to some people, but the ability to ‘sell’ yourself to others in your field requires a great deal of self-confidence. You will feel more influential and credible because of the added knowledge and skills you have acquired.
Author Bio: Rana Tarakji is an entrepreneur and a contributing writer at OneSEO (http://oneseo.net/blog) who lives in Beirut, Lebanon. Rana Tarakji is passionate about digital marketing, startups, helping entrepreneurs grow, and empowering them to live their dreams. She has worked as a digital marketer, a technology co-founder and business developer, and a writer.