APU Careers & Learning Online Learning

Destination Known

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Destination KnownCongratulations, you’ve selected an online university and you’re ready to get a degree. Consider a degree your destination, because you’re about to embark on a fulfilling journey. First, you need to select your specific program–one that won’t get you lost along the way.

Let’s assume you’ve already narrowed your options down to your top three. Perhaps you might be thinking about an MBA program, but you’re undecided whether to focus on marketing, finance or a general concentration. Do yourself a favor and filter out the nice-to-have and focus on your must-have criteria. Now, put your research in motion–go to each program and look for key elements that include the program description, costs, prerequisites and more.


 Universities that are committed to academic quality clearly define their programs. There’s nothing left to chance. More importantly, you should be left with the impression that what you’re reading is an accurate curriculum overview, not a pushy sales pitch.


It’s important that you fully understand a program’s objectives and how the curriculum links to student outcomes. For example, if you’re interested in qualifying for teaching licensure, check out Master of Education: Teaching in Elementary Education. You will see the exact qualifications this degree supports. In fact, at American Public University, you will also see a program objectives section for every degree offered.


Credits required–total tuition and fees–should be readily available. This information is comprehensive, so you’ll know what the costs are and the amount of credits needed. Quality universities are transparent. They display the details of all costs and have no hidden fees.

You should also see degree completion rates and the median loan debt for graduates. The completion rate shows you the time period that students generally complete a degree and how many are able successfully go the distance. You’ll also see job descriptions that are most often associated with the degree program. The descriptions are linked to O*NET, a Website sponsored by the U.S. Department and Labor which maps job tasks, skills, trends and other helpful information.

Consider all of these helpful elements to be your signposts. They’ll give you the confidence that you’re heading in the right direction.

By J. Thompson
Online Learning Tips Staff

J. Thompson is the Vice President of the Content team at American Public University. He earned an M.F.A in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles and performed his undergraduate studies in English literature, political science and business management between the University of New Mexico and East Carolina University. His career insights draw upon experience as a communications vice president supporting learning management, applicant tracking, and talent and leadership development for Bank of America and other Fortune 500 firms.

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