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With an unstable economy affecting job security, employees are looking to differentiate themselves from their competition however they can. As a result, workers are returning to school at a higher rate than ever in pursuit of higher education--in 2009, an impressive 30 percent of adults 25 and older held at least a bachelor's degree. Although students everywhere find time and tuition dollars increasingly scarce, the right distance learning bachelor program can make earning a degree convenient and rewarding.

A Degree Pays Off

While it is no surprise that college graduates make more money on average than high school graduates, the average discrepancy in salary often comes as a shock. In 2008, for example, the average salary for people whose highest level of education was a bachelor's degree was $58,613 per year--nearly double the annual salary ($31,283, on average) of those with only a high school diploma.

Furthermore, the unemployment rate of those with only a high school diploma is 9.7 percent, compared with only 5.2 percent for those with a bachelor's degree. So, higher education means not only are college graduates making more money in good times, but they are also less likely to be unemployed when times are tough.

When the earnings of those with a bachelor's degree are so much more than those with a high school diploma, the benefits of a college degree are clear. How that degree is obtained, however, is up to the student--and today's students have more learning options than ever before.

Face-to-Face Instruction

Traditional classroom instruction typically takes place with teachers and students interacting face-to-face. While classroom-based instruction is how most people think of the average college education, not all subjects are best served up in a classroom environment. As a result, many bachelor and master's programs are moving their content online to maximize the programs' reach and impact.

Online Learning

Online learning is an instruction model which incorporates tools such as the internet, e-mail, video, webcasts, chat rooms and discussion boards to simulate face-to-face instruction. Often times instructors will incorporate some face-to-face meetings into the online learning curriculum in an effort to make their programs as effective as possible.

Distance Learning

Distance learning means that students have the option to receive instruction completely outside of the traditional classroom environment. Instructors employ similar techniques as in online learning, but not all distance learning necessarily takes place on the internet. Distance learning can involve video, CDs, DVDs, tapes, and even regular mail in addition to online methods.

Distance learning bachelor programs are available in a wide variety of subjects, from business administration to psychology. Recent studies of job-related courses have shown that distance learning can replace classroom-based education and is often times superior to face-to-face instruction, particularly for students ages 25 and older.

Older Students Excel

Analysis of dozens of studies suggests that adults over the age of 25 excel in a distance learning environment, and that students who were engaged in online learning performed, on average, better than those who received the same material in traditional, face-to-face instruction. Distance learning bachelor programs can be customized and utilized the way which fits each student best, which makes them the ideal choice for busy students everywhere.

Mackenzie Quinn

Mackenzie Quinn is a marketing professional with nearly eight years of technical and educational writing experience. She has a bachelor's degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and has continued her education in both classroom and online post-graduate courses.


Unknown • Bureau of Labor Statistics - Employment and Wage Estimates • May 14, 2010 • http://www.bls.gov • http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcst.htm • May 2009 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

Unknown • Bureau of Labor Statistics - How Education Pays • May 27, 2010 • http://www.bls.gov • http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm • Education pays in higher earnings and lower unemployment rates

Unknown • Census Bureau Reports Nearly 6 in 10 Advanced Degree Holders Age 25-29 Are Women • Apr 20, 2010 • http://www.census.gov • http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/education/cb10-55.html • Current Population Survey (CPS) from 2009

Means, Toyama, Murphy, Bakia and Jones • State Occupational Projections Long-Term • Sep 01, 2010 • http://www2.ed.gov • http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf • Prepared by the Center for Technology in Learning

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