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Are you ready for a career change? What about gaining a competitive edge for that promotion you deserve? No matter what your career plans are, an online school can provide the convenience and flexibility one needs to balance daily obligations with educational pursuits.

The key to a successful online educational experience starts with selecting the right online school. The selection process requires careful consideration and the following checklist is a great place to start.

1. 100% Online Courses
Make sure the program you choose is truly 100% online. Some schools offer courses with online and classroom requirements. Avoid the confusion. Select an online educational institution with 100% online courses that are self-paced and accessible 24/7.

2. Personalized Student Support
Choose an online school that offers live technical and academic support with multiple contact options: email, phone and fax. If you get stuck on a concept, assistance is within reach. And here's a good tip - make sure your school's support department is staffed by more than one person. Your time is precious.

3. Accreditation
Your online school of choice should be accredited by a nationally-recognized accrediting agency. In order for any school to receive accreditation, they must constantly adhere to strict guidelines. For example, the school must be financially sound, have qualified instructors, approved policies/procedures and much more. Beware of schools lacking proper accreditation - your hard-earned certification or licensing could lose all credibility.

4. Variety of Online Training Courses
Choose an online school with educational programs in growing industries. For example, with Obama's plans to improve our nation's health care system and renewable energy use a major focus nationwide, these industries are in need of trained workers. Selecting an online school with certification and licensing programs in an industry poised for growth is simply a smart choice.

5. Job Assistance
You just completed your online education program. Now what? If you chose an online school with job assistance, you can request the help you need to pursue a new career. Services may include resume and cover letter reviews, interview tips and more.

6. Payment Plans
Worried about money? Align yourself with an online school that offers flexible payment plans. Some payment plans will even allow you to start your course at a low cost, followed by affordable monthly payments.

7. Military Tuition Assistance
If you're in the military, choose a school that accepts your Military Tuition Assistance (TA) benefits. As an active-duty service member, TA benefits may cover up to 100% of your online education. Spouses of active-duty service members can also benefit by selecting an online school that accepts Military Spouse Career Advancement Account Program (MSCAAP) benefits, which can provide spouses up to $6,000for their education.

8. History of Success
Are there student testimonials on your prospective online training school's web site? How long have they been established? Did past students have successful experiences with their courses and the school's policies? These are the kinds of questions to consider when pursuing education courses online.

An online education is an ideal choice for those who like to manage their own time, enjoy learning from home and must attend to other responsibilities while pursuing their education. Choose your online education program carefully and you'll be on your way to a rewarding career in no time.

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