Many employers now require a degree.The unemployment rate for individuals without a degree was 3.4 percent higher than those with a bachelor's degree in 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 2008 recession not only put a strain on the economy, but the job market as well. Employers have increased their standards for applicants, making it more competitive and difficult for professionals to land a job without an extensive post-secondary education.

The demand for higher degrees continues to rise among working adults who are looking to further their careers. As a result, online colleges have been thriving. Flexible class schedules give everyone from stay-at-home moms to military officials the opportunity to finish their schooling and obtain degrees.

A number of colleges, both traditional and online, have recognized the need for more internet-based courses. This week, California Southern University (CalSouthern) announced that it will sponsor Social Psychology Network, a psychology resource site, to help distance learners earn degrees in the psychology field. The objective of the sponsorship is to give individuals the skills they will need obtain an online psychology degree at CalSouthern.

"With many adults returning to school to complete their degree and further their career goals, there is an increasing need for quality online education that can be accessed from anywhere in the world," said Barbara Grimes, the dean of the school of behavioral sciences at CalSouthern.

California Southern University is not the only school that has created a program to cater to the demand for accessible online programs. Cabarrus College of Health Sciences is now offering a course program over the internet for students working toward a bachelor's degree in nursing science, according to the Independent Tribune. The school recently received full accreditation that will allow individuals to complete their schooling online.

"The benefit to doing the program online is when nurses are working full time they don't need to take vacation time or take time off work to take a class," program chair Molly Patton told the news source. "They can do it at their own convenience. It's flexible. They can do it at home, they can do it in their spare time, as long as the due dates are met."

Individuals who already have a high school diploma or associate degree in nursing may be eligible to participate in the program. The school will hold an orientation day, during which students will learn how to access their online courses. From that point on, individuals will be able to develop their own schedules and communicate with administrators solely over the internet.

Online programs are helping more working adults finish their schooling, but these schools are not necessarily ideal for everyone. Individuals who are mulling over the idea of enrolling in an online college should consider all of the pros and cons in respect to their current lifestyle.

A benefit to enrolling in an online program is there is no commute. This is ideal for working professionals who do not have the time to take classes on a traditional campus. Classes held over the internet also allow students to work at their own pace.

A disadvantage to obtaining an online degree may be that an employer does not acknowledge this type of education. A degree earned online may only be acceptable by certain businesses and companies. Individuals can avoid making this mistake, however, by doing the research beforehand and ensuring that their online degree program of choice has been properly accredited.

Approximately 90 percent of high-wage jobs developed in the next decade will require some postsecondary education, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Online colleges are making it easier for individuals to meet the demands of employers with adaptable programs. 

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