So you’ve decided to go back to school to pursue a healthcare career! Now it’s time to choose the right school for you. You’ll want to find a school that fits your needs and offers your program of interest. Since there are a lot of healthcare schools out there, here are five important questions to ask when you’re making your decision
1. Are you accredited?
Accreditation means an accrediting body has determined the school offers a quality education according to specific parameters and regulations. Many employers prefer graduates from accredited schools. It may also mean that the school is approved by the Department of Education to offer financial aid for those who qualify.
2. What does education look like at your school?
Depending on the school, courses may take as few as five weeks to finish, or up to 16 weeks (a semester). You may take 2 classes per quarter, or 6 classes per semester. Depending on where you are in life and what you're looking for, these factors can be important in deciding where to pursue your education—so make sure you choose a structure that fits your lifestyle. For example, if you work full-time, you may want to pursue a flexible online education with 5-week courses.
3. How will I learn in an online classroom?
Different schools provide different online learning environments. To find out which one is right for you, ask questions about the online classroom. Check to see if your program includes watching lectures, working through animated scenarios, responding to posts, taking tests, participating in chat rooms, live instructor sessions, and other online learning features. Some online classrooms may require you to log in at a certain time to watch a live lecture, and others allow you to log in when it’s convenient for you. Once you understand what online learning looks like at a specific school, you can decide if it’s right for you.
4. Will I get help from real people?
Just because you do coursework online doesn’t mean there’s no human element. An engaging online program should offer student support from real people. Does the school offer live tutoring sessions? How do you ask your instructor questions? Can you call a research librarian for help on using databases? Can you talk to your financial aid advisor? Ask lots of questions about how you'll get help as a student.
5. Will you help me look for jobs after I graduate?
You’re likely not just going to school to get an education—you also want to pursue a new career. So find out if the school you’re considering helps get you ready for your job search, and if they have access to a large network of employers. Is there job interview coaching available? Will you get help writing your resume and cover letter? What about tips on how to dress for an interview? Career Services can be an important part of your overall educational experience, so make sure to look into how supported you’ll be once you enter the job search.
Those are just a few important questions to keep in mind when looking into online schools. Your student experience is vital, so make sure you enroll in a school that meets your needs and offers you ongoing support.