First-time students considering earning an online associate degree often wonder if all the hard work is worth it, if it might be better to attend classes on campus, or if employers place real value on an online degree program. While there are many factors to consider when weighing education options, here are just a few of the things earning an online associate degree can do for you.

An online associate degree can train you for a new career.>

Some online associate degree programs are created specifically to qualify and train you to enter a chosen field. For example, earning a paralegal degree from an accredited online college will train you to do research and draft documents for a law office. A medical billing and coding degree will teach you what you need to know to obtain a job as a medical biller. For career-minded students, other online associate degree programs to consider might be human resources, web design, or marketing.

An online associate degree can provide the foundation for further education.

When many students start out, they have no idea what they want to do with their lives. An associate degree program gives students general education credits, helps them figure out what they’re interested in, and makes the next educational step possible. An online associate degree in a general field of study like business, psychology, or liberal arts can be transferred to other institutions for other types of degrees down the road. It could also be used as the foundation for a more specialized bachelor’s degree that continues along the same path.

An online associate degree can get you a promotion at your current job.

For adults who already have a day job they’d like to keep, attending college can seem like an impossibility. But to move up in the workplace often means having the right credentials. It’s a tough situation when your dream job is in sight, but just out of reach. Earning an online associate degree can both qualify you for a better position and can be completed on your own schedule. You won’t have to miss work, and some programs can even be completed in less than a year.

An online associate degree can give you quality time with your children.

If you’re like many people, quality time with your family is the most important part of your day. Going back to school on campus means sacrificing large chunks of time either during the day or in the evenings. The problem is, that’s when you take care of your children. One of the best parts about earning an online associate degree is that you can choose when you participate in class discussions and complete assignments. You can log on while the kids are napping, playing with friends, or even after they’ve gone to bed for the night. For mothers and fathers who aren’t willing to give up making those memories, it turns out that they really can have everything.

An online associate degree can drastically improve your written communication skills.

Because attending class online means that all of your assignments and discussions will be written, you’ll get lots of great writing practice. If you don’t consider yourself a strong writer, you’ll definitely improve your writing skills by earning an online associate degree. By the time you’ve completed your program, your new writing skills will make you a much stronger job applicant. If you’re already working, your professional email and memo-writing skills will be drastically improved.