6 Recession-Proof Reasons to Get an Online Degree

In the midst of tough economic times, you may be hesitant to make any definitive decisions about your career or your education. But a recession may, in fact, be a good time to pursue additional college training--especially an online degree.

1. Keep Your Job Secure

Showing healthy ambition and an interest in developing your job-related skills is an excellent strategy in any economy. During a downturn, that strategy becomes even more important, as degree-holding professionals tend to be less vulnerable in an unpredictable job market. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that the July 2009 unemployment rate for college graduates was 5.2 percent lower than that of those with only a high school education.

2. Increase Your Pay

Higher pay for those with higher degrees just makes sense, and the facts support the logic. According to the College Board, lifetime earnings are significantly higher for those who complete traditional and online degree programs. Depending on your profession, you may see an immediate salary increase once you've obtained a degree. Teachers, for example, often receive thousands of dollars more each year after finishing a master's degree program in education.

3. Stand Out from Other Candidates

In a competitive job market, every additional skill and qualification counts. Anything positive that you can use on a resume or job interview gets you that much closer to being hired. Economists at Boston University say that college graduates nearly always do better than high school graduates, and you're much less likely to struggle financially if you have additional education.

4. Get Educated for Less

Many companies continue to reimburse their staff for job-related tuition expenses; an online degree program is a great way to attend school and work at the same time. In addition, the economic stimulus plan passed by Congress designated more than $31 billion to provide grants to college students and tuition tax credits.

5. Keep Your Skills Current

If you earned your bachelor degree many years ago, going back to school may be an important step in keeping your skills up-to-date. Especially for professions like nursing, where technologies and procedures change continuously. Pursuing RN-to-BSN or master's degrees in nursing can help nurses stay current.

6. Start a New Career

For many, the recession has become a time of re-evaluation and the opportunity to start over. If you've had second thoughts about your chosen career, starting an online degree program while you still have a job--or even while job-hunting--could be a smart strategy. Consider looking toward recession-proof careers in health care, education, and green energy.

Recessions come and go. The current crisis will fade, but additional education through any of the online schools out there continues to benefit you well into the future.