Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Wittman: Need new skills? Try online degrees

I’ve been toying with the idea of going back to school to get my doctorate degree. This isn’t something I’m taking lightly, mind you. With a husband, two small children – and one on the way – my decision on a possible Ph.D. affects more than just me.

But it’s a thought I can’t get out of my head. Perhaps it’s just the sound of “Dr. Romi” that is so appealing to me.

Continuing education is at the top of a lot of people’s minds these days. With the economy so shaky – and with so many people out of work – a lot of folks are going back to school to fine-tune their skills and, in some cases, completely switch careers.

But pulling up stakes and enrolling in school full time is hard for most adults. This is why online learning programs have become so popular.

In the old days, online education was viewed in the same light as diploma mills. That is, you paid your money and, voilà, you got a piece of paper saying you were the holder of XYZ degree. But today there are a multitude of accredited online programs, many sponsored by traditional “bricks and mortar” schools.

Columbia (www.cvn.columbia.edu), Duke (www.fuqua.duke.edu/admin/gemba/index.html), Seton Hall (setonworldwide.net) and Stanford (scpd.stanford.edu) all offer online programs. However, these programs are skewed toward engineering and business administration master’s degrees.

If you’re interested in getting a bachelor’s degree, the University of Phoenix (phoenix.edu) has a wide variety of online programs to choose from.

If you’re interested in getting an accredited Ph.D., there’s Capella University (capella.edu/gateway.aspx).

On the downside, these programs, though convenient, can be quite expensive. Capella’s Ph.D. program will set you back about $100,000, and that doesn’t include the required colloquia travel. So you can see why I haven’t jumped in with both feet.

For the time being, my notion of “Dr. Romi” will just have to wait.

Romi Carrell Wittman is a writer and the communication services director for Trico Electric Cooperative. E-mail: romi.wittman@comcast.net.

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