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11 Questions To Ask When Searching For A Nontraditional Educational Program

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11 Questions To Ask When Searching For A Nontraditional Educational Program


As I mentioned in my last blog, “To DIY or Not To DIY? That is the Question,” thinking about someone entering a professional work world with anything less than a formal education makes my eye start twitching. That said, I do understand this is not the “olden days.” And, although the “olden days” do give us valuable lessons on how to move forward, things (and by things I mean specifically how people educate themselves) are not what they used to be. So much has changed with the advent of cutting-edge technology right at our fingertips, including how people want to learn. The masses are crying out for flexible, AFFORDABLE options, and, in my opinion, if colleges want to stay in business, they need to heed the call of aforesaid masses. However, just because the way someone is educated changes and the means become more flexible and the payments become more affordable does NOT mean the quality of education has to lack.

So if you are dead set against enrolling in a traditional college or university and eschew having to actually sit in a class and listen to a professor extol on the virtues of 16th century poetry when you’re passion is math, listen up. DIY or “Do-It-Yourself” educational programs are becoming – heck, they ARE – the rage. Just make sure to (I can’t emphasize this enough, so I’ll do what I can and put it in bolded capitals with an underline thrown in) RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!!!! Use the internet for more than figuring out millennial slang or voting for hottest new sci-fi cable TV show! Your hard-earned money shouldn’t be wasted on a wing and a prayer, so find the program that fits your needs AND is reputable.

First, I would be remiss if I didn’t state that it’s possible for cheap programs to be awesome and expensive programs to be awful. And, of course, it goes without saying that the opposite can also be true. Don’t base your decision to enroll on how much a program costs without looking at a host of other indicators. Below, I give you 11 questions to ask in order to find a nontraditiional educational program that not only fits your needs, but is a quality education to boot.  

  1. Who created the program? What are their credentials?
  2. What is the average length of time to finish the program?
  3. Does the program offer any type of career assistance?
  4. Are there examples of real-life jobs where completion of the program would be enough education to get hired?
  5. Is there anyone who has completed the program, or currently in the program, who you can chat with and ask more questions?
  6. What type of technology support is provided? And, when is it offered? 24 hours?
  7. How is the program structured? Is it truly flexible?
  8. Does the program offer everything you need to be prepared to work in that particular field?
  9. Besides paying for the program itself, are there any other costs? i.e. books, software
  10. Is there any academic support? E.g. someone who is available to discuss questions or issues with the classes or materials?
  11. What makes the program stand out from its competitors?

Last, I wanted to point out that there are some professions where it’s impossible to educate yourself through a DIY program and then expect to get a job – doctor, lawyer, astronaut – to name a few. But, for those of you who are seeking out a profession where the most important thing is that you have the skill and know-how, regardless of how it was achieved, then, by all means, get out there and find a program that will lead you to a successful and wildly satisfying career!

Natalie Kijurna

Director of Alumni & Employer Relations

College of Court Reporting



CCR Online: The online education you want. The quality you deserve.



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