For degree programs like teaching and health care, hands-on experience is simply part of the training to enter the field. Students who take online courses will be completing a lot of their degree work online but won’t miss out on these experiences. In fact, online colleges require them to complete a degree just as any brick-and-mortar school would.
Health Care Degrees
If you’re pursuing a degree in nursing, counseling or another related health care field, you can expect to need to spend a bit of time working in a medical facility or hospital before getting your degree. For online students, this presents a range of options. Students will meet with a coordinator from the school who will help students figure out what options are best for clinical experience and will present students will a list of approved opportunities to choose from. Some students may even seek out internships and practicums on their own and present them to the school for approval. Whatever route your school employs, students should expect to spend a couple of semesters at the least working in a practical setting before getting their health care related degrees, and some students may need to complete additional internships as well.
A big part of getting a teaching degree is completing a stint as a student teacher. Online schools set up student teaching experience the same way that most brick-and-mortar schools do. Students will be matched up with a school in their area that best suits their needs or abilities, and will spend a semester teaching a group of students with the assistance of a more experienced supervising teacher. Some schools may also require a set number of observation hours that students can complete on their own time at schools in the area. The number of student teaching hours can vary from school to school with WGU requiring 12-20 for a BA in education and DePaul just 10 for it’s Masters in Speical Ed program.
Students in other degree programs may want to get practical experience before heading into the workplace. Even if it’s not required of your degree, internships and other hands-on experiences can be a great way to learn more about your field before graduation. Online students who want to pursue these opportunities should check with academic advisors, students services and career counselors to see what internships are out there that can best suit a student’s individual needs.
If you’re worried that pursuing an online degree program in one of these professions will mean you’ll miss out on valuable practicums, don’t be. Students in online degree programs will be required to complete the same fieldwork experiences as their on campus counterparts, requirements that are completed in much the same way and with the same stringent standards as well.