The success of health care professionals depends on their ability to stay abreast of the medical and scientific changes. With our modern society's busy schedules and fast lifestyles distance education over the Internet provides adult students with the convenience, flexibility, and the ability to study anywhere, any time without being on campus. Also, more and more students in remote areas are looking toward web-based courses to supplement or advance their education. However, just because a course is offered online and requires a fee to sign up doesn't automatically mean the program is accredited, even if the provider claims it is. Often, the certificate or diploma e-learners will receive upon successful completion of an online course is not even worth the paper it is printed on.
A Simple Word of Caution
The Internet serves as a great information resource and education portal, but at the same time, it also is the perfect breeding ground for different types of scams. It is important that potential students recognize this, and understand the difference between fully accredited vs. illegitimate and non-accredited programs. If not, then the e-learner might be in for a rude awakening in the end, when after successfully completing an online course they find out they have nothing to show, and are not permitted to sit for any national certification examinations.
Rule of thumb is: online courses are seldom accredited, or approved by the board of education unless they truly have met or exceed established national standards. The application process for reviews and approval is tedious and lengthy. Online training providers, non-traditional universities, and so called virtual colleges who offer distance learning programs have different accreditation standards than brick-and-mortar universities, colleges, and vocational training institutions. These institutions who went through the process and are approved will always have their program's accreditation status visibly posted on their website and online course catalogs.
What are the Courses to Look for?
E-learners should be careful to choose courses that meet their individual educational needs to ensure that they don't waste their money and time. Some just need a refresher course for personal and professional enhancement and a low cost, non-transferrable, non-accredited course will do just fine. Others may need proper vocational training to receive a much desired promotion, or to achieve specific educational goals that will allow them advance into a new position or career. Then it is vitally important that these individuals graduate from courses that are accredited not just by any, but by the right organization, such as, for example the U.S. Department of Education, Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).
But How Can You Tell the Difference?
Awareness is the Key! Web page advertisements that contain text, images, seals, and any profound sounding designations that a vocational training school and their programs are accredited containing words such as approved, accredited, accreditation pending, authorized, chartered, licensed, empowered, sponsored, recognized, and registered should be critically examined to determine whether these claims are merely common catch phrases, or the assertions are legit. It is always prudent before joining any programs to get in touch with the provider of the courses to ask questions, and to also contact the accrediting organization to find out whether a program is truly legitimately accredited by them, and to confirm the quality of the online training courses.
What are your past experiences with online distance education courses? Please post your comments!
©2005 Advanced Medical Assistant Custom Web Design, LLC. All rights reserved.