"Education is the most
powerful weapon which
you can use to change
the world".

-- Nelson Mandela



"Genius without education
is like silver in the mine."
-- Benjamin Franklin

Archive for September, 2010

High Master’s Degree Salaries Boost Interest in Online Schools

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

In a recovering economy, the availability of fewer jobs translates to higher competition for existing jobs.

So, in order to gain an advantage, job seekers continue to boost enrollment at online schools  — especially in popular online master’s degree programs.

One primary motivating factor drives these career-minded individuals: Advanced degree holders earn significantly more money than other workers.

According to U.S. Census data, those with an advanced degree — either a master’s or doctorate — earn an average salary of $83,144. This compares with $58, 613 for a bachelor’s degree holder and $31,283 for a high school graduate.

Students flock to online master’s and doctorate programs, versus traditional on-campus degree programs, in order to earn a living while beefing up credentials.

Online degrees allow students an advantage in being able work full-time and complete classes from home via distance-learning. Students simply use a computer with Internet access in order to complete required assignments. Communication with fellow students takes place on bulletin boards, through e-mail and in designated online chat rooms. Teachers may provide live lectures that are archived and available to students for viewing at their convenience.

Among the most popular online degrees are those in business, health care, computer science, information technology, engineering, accounting and education.

online degrees, online masters degree, online schools, online doctorate degree, high school graduate, more money, careers, existing jobs, fewer jobs, recovering economy

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Firefighters study to help save communities like Bodega Bay

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Bodega Bay, which was recently in the news, may not ring a bell for most people.

This coastal town just north of San Francisco, California, was the picturesque setting for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic movie, The Birds. Locals and tourists travel along winding Highway 101, stopping for fresh fish and chips or other seafood delights. Salmon Creek Beach, which is located on the outskirts of town, has been named among California’s most beautiful beaches.

However, in spite of its location on the water, Bodega Bay was not immune to a 100-acre fire this past Saturday. Choking smoke and dark ashes wafted into homes 20 miles or more away. But by the next day, the fire was contained, thanks to the diligence and sacrifice of local firefighters.

A location on the ocean does not insure immunity from destructive fires. Therefore, firefighters are needed in every town, city and unincorporated jurisdiction. In numerous places, dedicated and trained volunteer firefighters help maintain a safe environment, alongside their paid comrades, as they monitor and respond to emergency calls — including medical emergencies.

Both paid and unpaid firefighters study and apprentice to learn about firefighting.  Online degrees in fire science offer an added layer of knowledge. This additional instruction centers upon the latest fire science discoveries, equipment and safety measures.

Volunteer firefighters who wish to qualify for salaried jobs may complete online associates or online bachelor’s degree programs in fire science or emergency management. Current city, county and state firefighters may become eligible for promotions and higher salaries if they earn accredited online fire science degrees and/or paramedic certificates.

Firefighting jobs are expected to increase significantly, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those with college degrees are expected to fare better in this competitive career.

Bodega Bay has 100 scorched acres; and one brave firefighter was injured by a fallen power line.

However, the community is safe, once again, as locals and tourists breathe in the fresh ocean air on a still-beautiful drive up the Northern California coastline.

online degree, online degree programs, online associates degree, online bachelors degree, jobs, the birds, firefighter, career, certificate, fire

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

How to Avoid the Trap of High Student Loan Debt

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

As high unemployment rates rattle the financial foundations of middle class and low-income families, a light in the darkness beckons, dispensing hope to a dismal situation.

That beacon: online degree programs.

Eager to embrace the promise of future financial security and ready to try anything, desperate job seekers rush naively into online school recruiters’ arms.

And why not — potential students have much to gain.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau report that college graduates earn significantly more money than those whose education ended at high school graduation. College graduates routinely experience a higher standard of living. They enjoy expanded career options.

The future looks brighter with a college diploma. So recruiters have few problems encouraging potential students to sign on the dotted line for entry into online degree programs and the burgeoning community of e-learners.

But eventually, when the reality of student loan payments arrives, graduates (or drop-outs) flash back to that moment when online school paperwork was signed with so little thought.

If students could redo the enrollment process, there are a few things to reconsider:

  1. Potential online school students should choose their college major carefully. Some college degrees lead to higher-paying jobs than others. It is important for students to research expected future salaries and current wages for their specific career field through the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They should also check the hiring outlook, additional certification requirements, and necessary experience for the desired job.
  2. Potential students should carefully research the online school they have chosen to attend –it’s accreditation, tuition and fees, degree requirements and faculty qualifications. They should also ask to be connected to former students who graduated from the school. A diploma mill, unaccredited online school, or online college with a poor reputation is simply a waste of students’ financial resources and will jeopardize future job prospects.
  3. Potential students should exhaust all other options before taking on any student loan debt. These options might include personal savings, paying off tuition bills while still attending school, seeking out private scholarships, taking advantage of grants that target specified groups (i.e. military students, minorities, women, teachers, nurses, etc.). It is important to end up with as little student loan debt as possible, especially if the expected new job has a low starting salary.
  4. Potential students should complete their online degree program once they begin. Otherwise, loan bills will become a reminder of a dream that never happened, an unfinished project, and lots of regret.
  5. Potential students should enjoy their college degree, once earned, and make student loan payments when due. If there is a problem repaying the debt, they should use loan contact information to get in touch with the banking agency. Also, they may be eligible for a deferral, postponement or write off of the student loan — depending upon the circumstances.

Hard times will show up from time to time. But there is no need to make things any more difficult.

So follow the light toward a college degree, but leave high student loan debt behind.

online school, online degree program, military students, nursing, online degrees, jobs, career, elearners, diploma mill, student loans

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

No more recession, but where are the jobs?

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Yes, the recession really is over, according to leading economists.

But understandably, it does not feel that way to millions of Americans who lost jobs, houses, retirement income, and health care.

These individuals are looking for financial solutions, while hoping that lost jobs will quickly reappear.

Jobs are slowly returning; but it took 18 months during the recession, December 2007 to June 2009, to dig this deep job loss hole. And economists report that job recovery did not really begin until December 2009. So eight and a half months of economic recovery is not enough time to fill the U.S. economy with all of the new jobs.

Still, home construction and health care jobs continue to increase, while a number of other job sectors are already showing promise.

But even when job opportunities become plentiful, job seekers should do all they can to make sure they are qualified to return to work.

There are three reasons for this:

  1. Millions of jobs are gone forever. As a result, applicants will need to learn new job skills.
  2. Competition is keen for the best jobs. Professional certificates and college degrees will help give applicants an advantage.
  3. Specialization, with experience, is a dynamite combination for employers of the future.

During this down-time in the economy, returning to school is a smart move for anyone seeking job. It prepares applicants for the jobs ahead and builds confidence as the new skills are developed and added to the resume.

Online schools are a wise choice for adult learners and others who desire a flexible way to upgrade their education and jobs skills. Grants and scholarships may be available for out-of-work students, military students and veterans.

The recession is over and jobs are on the way. But like the Boy Scout motto says, “Be prepared.”

online degrees, certificates, health care, college, jobs, where are the jobs, recovery, online schools, military students, out of work

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Six Ways to Prepare for Good Grades in Your Online Class

Monday, September 20th, 2010

For many students, returning to school to begin a new online class is overwhelming.

They become anxious about the reading assignments, the homework and the good grades they hope to earn.

Yet, there are many ways to prepare ahead of time so that the path to online school success becomes less worrisome and e-learning becomes more enjoyable.

Here are some steps that will help students succeed in their online classes:

  1. Thoroughly read the course syllabus or outline. It may take more than one reading to catch all of the important details that describe the course requirements, homework deadlines, required materials that should be purchased, the grading system, and extra credit opportunities.
  2. Take care of technical issues before class begins. Whether it is weeks or days ahead, students should check the course outline for computer and technical requirements. They should download any necessary computer programs and install required software to make sure everything runs smoothly.
  3. Purchase all books and materials early. This often saves money, since the best deals on used books are available to early birds. In addition, students are not left out in the cold when course materials sell out and need to be re-ordered.
  4. Peruse the table of contents and skim the textbook (or textbooks) to be used in the class. Read the first assigned chapter, according to the schedule in the course outline. This will give students a feel for how long it will take to read and digest the material.
  5. Use a study calendar. Insert exam dates, homework due dates and study time into time slots. By mapping out a time schedule, students will have the peace of knowing how they plan to reach their goal of succeeding in the class.
  6. If any questions arise before class begins, contact the instructor for clarification. Even instructors make mistakes; and sometimes, one student’s question will be the same one that other students have.

Taking an online class or earning an online degree should be stimulating and satisfying. By taking these steps, students should be able to earn good grades and enjoy their online school experience.

online degrees, online, good grades, six ways, returning to school, online school, school success, elearning, online class, grading system

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Deadbeat Students Jeopardize Online Schools’ Federal Funds

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Shoppers are brutal when it comes to buying cars, electronics, furniture, jewelry, and other costly items.

For the most discerning, weeks or months of research go into the decision. Comparison shopping and pouring over Consumer Reports articles are a given.

But one item costs more than almost any of these things — a college education.

Student Loan Default Rates Rise

Many students lay their financial futures on the line by taking out hefty student loans without knowing the total tuition costs, interest rates, or repayment details.

And too high a number of deadbeat students simply choose not to repay their student loans at all, especially at for-profit online schools.

As a result, Congress is now deciding whether to pull federal student loan funding from for-profit online schools due to high default rates. If legislators pull the plug, working students will lose valuable options for studying in a flexible online format as for-profit schools struggle to survive.

Excuses for Defaulting on Student Loans

Defaulting students complain that they enrolled in online schools without knowing how much they were paying for their online degree programs. They claim that they walked away from their loan obligations because they were misled, not given all the facts, or lied to by online school recruiters.

And it is true that some college recruiters, at traditional and online schools, are paid to ’sell’ their school to potential students. As salespeople, they point out the best about their schools and downplay significant costs, tuition hikes, and anything else that might ‘kill the deal’.

But consumers anticipate this in other consumer matters. They prepare beforehand with their own research and are cognizant of all facts, especially those that pertain to finances.

In the case of online schools, loan defaulters admit that they neglected to do their part in researching the schools in which they enrolled. They did not ask relevant questions about cost, nor did they insist upon recruiters putting any financial details in writing. Also, defaulters paid little attention to the promissory notes they signed, documents that legally bound them to repay monies they borrowed to pay college costs.

Down the road, some of those students dropped out of school, while others completed their online degrees. Yet, approximately 36% of the borrowers made no effort to pay back their education loans.

It is easy to blame online schools; they are an easy target. And a few of them, about 15 out of the hundreds of for-profit online schools, were found guilty of paying their recruiters based upon numbers of students enrolled. And of these 15, just a few were found to have given misleading information to potential students.

Still, this is no excuse for ex-students to toss their loan debt out of the window. Where is the personal responsibility in all of this? Defaulters have left the federal government millions of dollars deeper in the hole and are now looking to absolve their own lack of integrity.

Feds Offer Solutions for Struggling Student Loan Holders

The federal student loan program bends over backwards to accommodate students who really want to pay back their loans, but who are finding it difficult to do so. The government offers hardship deferments, which give students extra time before having to make any loan payments. They are also willing to extend repayment from 10 years to 30 years for eligible students, lowering the monthly payment amount. There are forgiveness programs that require students to repay only a fraction of their loan, with the remainder being permanently forgiven. For the most severe hardships, student loan debt may be completely canceled.

Those who really want to pay back their loans can often find a solution without simply walking away from what they owe.

Online Schools are a Vital Oasis for Adult Learners

Online schools provide a necessary, flexible route for working adults to gain access to better jobs. This allows them the opportunity to embrace a higher standard of living by studying at home. Why should this valuable resource be jeopardized by the actions of slackers who took advantage of the system and left taxpayers and the U.S. government holding the bag?

Individuals, particularly working adults, should continue to have the freedom to choose an online school, if that is what works best for them. And they should have access to the same federal financial aid as those who are able to attend on-campus classes.

For-profit online schools should do their part to make it easy for students to understand the total costs of an online degree program. They should train recruiters to lay everything out in a way that is easy for potential students to understand. Outright lying by any school should incur penalties or prosecution.

Don’t be a Deadbeat Defaulter

Student loan borrowers should use the same wisdom they would use to buy any other expensive item. Thoroughly research the school, comparison shop, then choose the highest quality online school for the best price.

And when loan payments become due, rather than ignore them, students should honor their commitment to taxpayers and the U.S. government to pay what is owed.

online schools, online degrees, online degree programs, online classes, online students, student loans, financial aid, student loan default, for profit schools, online schools

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

When Life Happens, Refocus with an Online Degree

Monday, September 13th, 2010

You always wanted to earn a college degree; but after high school, life happened.

A full-time job, hefty living expenses and a couple of children later that dream no longer registers in your mind.

Yet, believe it or not, you may still be able to earn a college diploma — just not in the conventional way.

The first question to ask yourself is whether you are willing to carve out some time at home for consistent study.

If the answer is yes, you are ready to begin your journey to realizing the dream of a lifetime.

Online schools, which were created for people just like you, offer working adults a shot at reaching educational and career goals that were unwillingly discarded long ago.

Many adults are surprised when they begin the online school application process and find that they are eligible for grants, scholarships or other financial aid that cover major college expenses. Some are pleasantly surprised to find reasonable or low tuition when they shop around for high-quality, low tuition colleges, like Western Governors University (WGU).

Others learn that their corporate, federal, state or county employers are willing to provide tuition assistance for higher education courses that either lead to a college degree or improve current job skills. Employees often do not learn about these benefits until they begin to ask questions.

By taking classes on your computer, with easy-to-use distance learning technology in place, you can join the increasing online student community. Over 4.6 million students study via distance learning. Online associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs are available in fields such as accounting, health care administration, computer science, business, education, homeland security, criminal justice, nursing, and fire science.

A college education can significantly boost your income and open doors to administrative and managerial positions. Employers often see the college graduate in a more positive light, noting the perseverance, dedication and sacrifice it took to accomplish such a worthy goal.

But most of all, you will end up with your college degree — a respected credential that no one can take away from you. And with it, you will experience a special kind of peace, along with an inexplicable inner confidence.

Life will still happen. But this time, you will be ready for whatever comes.

online schools, online degree programs, online degrees, distance learning, jobs, college degree, online associates degree, online bachelors degree, online masters degree, career

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Health Care Jobs Increase, Offering New Career Opportunities

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Nursing, medical assisting, medical office administration — what do they have in common?

All of these careers are part of the growing field of health care, which gained jobs again last month — just as it has continued to do throughout a devastating recession and a slow recovery.

The recent employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows gains of 28,000 additional health care jobs in August. This averages out to about 20,000 jobs added in the health care field for every month of 2010.

What has been a challenging time for most other industries has been a boon for the health care industry.

In 2009, as unemployment rose throughout the U.S., health care employment continued its positive upward climb. New jobs sprouted up at about the same rate in 2009 as they have this year.

Those who are interested in a promising, interesting career in the health care field should pursue higher education training at vocational schools, online schools and traditional colleges or universities.

Online master’s degrees in health care are particularly helpful for upper level jobs — especially in the fields of nursing, gerontology, health care administration, public health, and health information technology.

Rising employment numbers are encouraging for those who are interested in switching to a health care or medical career.

So this is not the time to procrastinate. In fact, this is a great time to return to school to prepare for a better position in a career field that continues to thrive against all odds.

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Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida