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When searching for online degree classes, it's important to understand exactly what type of institution is offering the course. The type of institution will often determine what financial assistance is available and if you'll be able to transfer credits. There are a variety of places to earn a college degree online, but almost all fall within a few categories.
First, there are career and technical education centers which award postsecondary certificates in occupational, vocational and technical fields. These may be public or private, so be sure to ask when inquiring about any program. Financial assistance includes federal and state loans, need-based assistance and available merit scholarships. Although many of these offer online courses or training programs, they tend to award certificates or certifications rather than degrees upon completion of the program. It can be an excellent way to upgrade or enhance your job skills, but verify whether the program will count toward earning a college degree if you plan to continue your education.
Public community colleges award associate's degrees, while public colleges and universities award bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees. Financial assistance includes federal and state loans, need-based assistance and available merit scholarships.
Finally, there are private colleges and universities which award the same degrees as public colleges and universities. These institutions are usually governed by private boards of trustees. Financial assistance includes federal and state loans, as well as other available merit scholarships and need-based assistance.
If your employer provides tuition reimbursement, ask the Human Resources department if there are any limitations on the type of institution you can attend while receiving tuition reimbursement. Also, be sure you understand what type of institution you are attending and whether you will receive a degree or certification upon completion.