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About Online Career Training and College Programs

online trade school and technical programs

Attending college classes in the comfort of your own home has become a norm. Trade schools and colleges are now making it easier by offering many certification and degree options online. Here’s what you need to know about online career training programs.

Types of Online Program Formats

More trade schools and colleges are jumping aboard the online ship, but not all online programs are the same. There are a variety of formats to choose from when considering any online training program.

Fully Online: You never have to attend a physical campus in these programs; all the learning is done via online classrooms.

Hybrid: Hybrid is a mix of in-class and online instruction and learning.

Accelerated: An accelerated online program is one that is completed faster than average. You'll have a heavy class-load if you choose an accelerated program.

Self-paced: A self paced program is just what it sounds like. It gives the student a lot of flexibility when scheduling their classes.

Popular Online Program Options

Many career training and college programs can be done partially or fully online. One of the most popular online programs lately is the online medical assistant program, with online criminal justice not being that far behind. Listed below are some of the popular online programs along with accredited partner schools offering them.

Criminal Justice

Your options are vast within the field of criminal justice. Certification and degree programs like criminal justice, paralegal, and cybersecurity are available online.

Schools with Online Criminal Justice and Legal Programs

Healthcare Administration

As a healthcare administrator you'll find employment in a hospitals, rehab facilities, and outpatient care facilities. Many healthcare administration programs are available either partially or fully online.

Schools with Online Healthcare Administration Classes

Medical Billing and Medical Coding

You can find online medical billing and health information specialist (medical coding) programs at many different schools. This can be a relatively quick certification training program that takes under a year, or an associate's degree program that takes about 2 years.

Schools with Online Medical Billing and Coding Programs

Medical Assisting

Online medical assisting programs are a very popular choice among users of this site. Certification programs may take about 8 months and associate degree programs can take about 2 years to complete.

Schools with Online Medical Assisting Classes


Part online and all-online nursing programs come in a wide variety and include, pre-nursing, practical nursing, and RN to BSN to name a few. Check out the schools in the list to research program options.

Schools with Online Nursing Classes

Choosing a Good Online Program

Not all distance learning programs are created equal. Pay attention to these things when you are searching for online programs.

  • Accreditation is important: Be certain the school you’re looking at is accredited. You’ll spend a lot of time and money on a degree that won’t transfer and may not be legit.
  • Accessibility to real people: Will it be easy to speak with professors, counselors, and other administrative staff? Many online programs set up specific "office hours" for questions and tutoring, so for most, this won't be an issue.
  • Help after graduation: Sometimes, with an online program, you won't have the same access to benefits like job placement assistance, resume services, and interviewing workshops. An admissions counselor can advise you before you commit.

Why Accreditation is Important

When enrolling in any higher education, it is important to be mindful of whether or not your school is accredited. Accreditation means the program has been approved by a neutral third party.

It can protect your investment in schooling by allowing credits to transfer and giving a stamp of legitimacy. Any future licensing or certification requirements for your career may require you to have received training from an accredited institution as well.

Reputable schools have accreditation at the state or national level, and for the whole school or specific programs. Here are some questions to ask an admissions counselor:

  • Is the school/program recognized by the Department of Education?
  • Is the accreditation status posted online? It should be!
  • What does the school's overall accreditation look like? Institutional or specialized? One or the other is fine. Both is even better.
  • Is the accreditation regional or national? Either one is fine in general, but it also depends on your career goals.
  • Is the accreditation institution legitimate?

What is Online Training Like?

Overall, it’s a straightforward format where lectures are watched, read, or listened to, and the hands-on learning is demonstrated by videos, gifs, and illustrations.

  • You’ll need to have access to a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Some schools may provide you with a school-issued computer. You will also need to have access to the internet.
  • Sometimes, you'll have physical books to read and work out of; other schools have all assignments and material online. You can work at your own pace, completing assignments when it's best for you.
  • There may be a classroom forum where you can engage with other classmates and the instructors.

Is Online School Less Expensive Than Campus Learning?

Online learning can vary in pricing, but many programs do end up being cheaper than a 4-year degree. You won’t have to pay additional living expenses or even spend money on a commute to campus. Schools can typically offer online classes at a lower tuition price thanks to less maintenance and overhead required.

One thing to keep in mind is that the cost of the online class doesn’t make it better or worse than the education you’d get in a traditional setting. That factor is more weighted on the actual course and the professor, not how much it cost you. For online classes, you can expect to spend between $100-$400 per course credit hour. So, a four-credit class could cost you between $400-$1,200.

Similar to brick and mortar trade schools and community colleges, financial aid may be available if you qualify. An admissions counselor can help walk you through the information. All schools have different requirements and guidelines.

How do Employers Feel About Online Degrees?

Once you complete your training program, you will be career-ready for an entry-level position. Employers are looking for people ready to work, and accept online certificates and degrees from credible schools, no problem. It's going to be more about whether or not you are the right person for that position.

Is Online School Right for You?