Whether you are already working in a healthcare environment, or you have been thinking about making a switch to one of the many exciting healthcare management careers, chances are that you’ve already come to the conclusion that you need a master degree healthcare administration or management to get to where you want to go.
But if you are a busy professional the idea of going back to school might seem daunting. Driving to class after a long day at work or giving up your weekends to sit in the classroom – plus the commitment of reading, studying and completing assignments – might seem overwhelming when you have a job and other responsibilities. That’s if there is even a college or university nearby that you can easily commute to for class.
As a result of those challenges, many students turn to online schools to earn their advanced degrees in healthcare administration. However, before you enroll and log on, ask yourself these questions to determine if online learning is right for you:
Do You Have the Time to Commit to Studying? While online learning provides flexibility, with classrooms and materials generally available 24/7, you still need to have enough time to devote to your class work. Most classes require weekly readings – sometimes substantial amounts of reading – as well as regular participation in discussions, completion of assignments and several projects or papers. Averages vary, but some courses can require as many as 15 hours or more per week.
Are You Self-Motivated? Some people need the structure of a regular commitment like a traditional class in order to stay motivated with assignments and studying. Most online learning is somewhat self-directed, in that you’ll have to complete the readings, including the lecture, and do your own research. If you need more structure than that, a more traditional health care administration degree program may be a better fit. In addition, you’ll also need good time management and organizational skills. Because the class discussion does not occur within the several hour class periods of traditional in-person classes, you’ll need to make time several days each week to check in to the discussion and participate.
Do You Have Good Computer Skills? These days, it’s hard to get by – especially in the healthcare environment – without solid computer skills, but online learning in this field requires the ability to use a variety of tools, including classroom interfaces, online research libraries and basic word processing and accounting software. You’ll also need to feel comfortable communicating almost entirely online, and be able to express yourself clearly and concisely on discussion boards and through e-mail or instant message.
Online learning is a good fit for the millions of people that enroll in programs and earn their degrees online every year. If you meet these criteria, consider online programs to earn your advance healthcare management degree, and start on the path to a more successful and fulfilling career.