Due to the extensive study and intensive work required to obtain a PhD, only 1% of Americans receive this prestigious degree. Online PhD programs are becoming a popular option for professionals who want to earn a PhD while maintaining a full-time job. Having a PhD can have a tremendous impact on your career; however, it is essential to do your research before choosing from the doctoral programs available online.
What is an online doctoral program?
In this advanced program, students recline in a virtual classroom via the web rather than meeting face-to-face in a school on campus. Many of those seeking a PhD online are currently working in their field of study to fulfill the work experience requirements. Earning an online PhD allows greater flexibility in determining semester time on work and personal commitments. Earning an online PhD can take four to six years to complete, depending on the course of study, the thesis topic, and whether you are enrolled full-time or part-time. In most doctoral programs, a committee of three to five professors monitors your academic progress and your thesis’s evaluation.
What to Look for in a Web-Based PhD Program
As with any degree program, your focus should be on the quality of your education. The following are the primary considerations when choosing a school for an online PhD program:
Beware of fraudulent claims.
Beware of “diploma mills” that claim you can earn a PhD online in weeks or months, using work or life experience instead of courses. All legitimate and accredited degree programs will require you to complete the relevant courses and a thesis if a company requires full payment of the program’s total cost in advance and provides the P.O. Box instead of the physical address, it is likely a scam.
Search for colleges and universities that have been accredited by one of the bodies recognized by the Department of Education. These accreditation bodies have a rigorous evaluation process to ensure that schools incorporate secure teaching methods and distinguished teachers to provide a high-quality education. Accreditation is essential because many employers will only consider candidates who have completed online degree programs from an accredited institution. Check that the schools you are viewing are certified by one of the recognized agencies listed on the internet.
Check with your local university if they also offer online and doctoral courses. In this way, you will continue your pre-doctorate life while earning a degree at the same time. You do not need to go to school every day, but the course program and other materials will be sent to you by post or email. You need to be at school for special occasions like big exams and the like. However, you will be self-taught and will be able to access the materials online.
Check with licensing agencies or professional groups associated with your field of study to see if they support your school and an online PhD program.
A recognized university
Take the time to review the faculty credentials for the doctoral programs you are considering. Do they have experience in the industry? Are they recognized as leaders in their field? Have they published critical work in popular magazines? You want to make sure you learn from the best and have ongoing communication with them. Have a good rapport with the educators on your advisory committee. Also, you should see if there are routing programs available.
Of course, funding is an essential consideration in any educational decision. Besides the cost of tuition, you may also have to pay for books, supplies, lab fees, travel, and other expenses. The schools you are considering should have financial aid information on their website. Do you offer scholarships, scholarships, or grants? If a regionally accredited university provides your doctoral program, you may be eligible for federal grants or loans. Complete the free online application for Federal Student Aid to determine your eligibility.
Availability of programs and courses
Review the academic calendar of the degrees you are considering. How many semesters are offered each year? How long is each course? Are required courses available every semester or only at certain times of the year? These are essential questions to answer when deciding how long it will take to complete an online PhD program.
Whatever your personal and career goals are, earning an online PhD can help you advance your career and achieve greater success. Research and choose an online PhD program wisely to ensure your place among the most influential leaders in your field. Selecting an online PhD from an accredited college or university allows you to take your career to the highest levels with the conveniences of web-based learning.