Distance and Online Education for the Unemployed: Is Continuing Education a Good Option During a Recession?

Unemployment is on the rise in both Canada and the United States. In these difficult economic times, many people choose to return to college or university in the hopes of finding a better job.

With a global recession in full swing and job losses at an all-time high, it can be difficult to find hope for those who have lost their income and financial security. Spending more money on continuing education may appear to be a bad idea; however, education is an investment. Even if an adult student needs to borrow money to return to school or hire the best essay writing service, the debt is not considered “bad” because there is an expectation that it will lead to higher wages in future positions.

Distance Online Education Provides Benefits During a Recession

Individuals who are unemployed or underemployed may be eligible for funding to help them return to college or university. When calculating the amount of funding available to an adult student, some funding organizations, such as the Ontario Student Assistance Program, consider needs such as living expenses, childcare, and transportation. Those who have already been laid off may be eligible for valuable assistance with living expenses while they look for a better job.

Parents and caregivers who are concerned about providing for their dependents during a recession can enroll in school via distance or online education while receiving financial assistance. This enables students living outside of major urban areas to stay in their homes during the study period, completing coursework online or through correspondence.

Opportunities for Distance Online Education – US Schools or Athabasca University

Hundreds of colleges and universities in Canada and the United States provide distance and online education. Many provide specific distance courses, while others provide full distance programs that allow participants to earn a degree while studying from home.

Prospective students in the United States can access a comprehensive list of schools offering distance programs by visiting the United States Distance Learning Program’s Link Program. Adults in Canada looking for a legitimate home study opportunity can join the 37,000 distance students currently enrolled at Athabasca University, Canada’s largest distance education provider with over 90 undergraduate and graduate programs.

Education technology is rapidly evolving and improving, allowing students to complete assignments, attend virtual classes, and communicate with tutors online regardless of their physical location.

Teaching Adults Online – Self-Directed Study Challenges

For adult students, the prospect of returning to school may be daunting. This problem is exacerbated by the lack of a physical classroom or the guidance of a teacher. Home study through distance or online education is entirely self-directed. Most schools provide phone or email support, but students must set a realistic schedule and stick to it in order to complete the course.

It is easier to study at home if you are organized and dedicated:

  • Make a study schedule and stick to it. Some students, particularly parents or caregivers, require more leeway. Treating home study as a regular job, on the other hand, increases the likelihood of success.
  • Set attainable goals and track progress on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
  • When you need help, ask for it. Adult students can benefit from the services of school counsellors, tutors, and financial aid officers.

Choosing a Distance Learning Program

For adult students, the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” can be intimidating. Some may return to school for a few courses to complete an unfinished degree or to add job-specific skills to their current repertoire. Others may discover that their job is obsolete or that their industry is unstable, making a complete career change a viable option.
If continuing education appears to be the best option, a career counselor can assist in determining which distance course program best fits the candidate’s current education level and skill set while also providing the best employment opportunities.

Returning to school after years, if not decades, in the workforce can be intimidating, if not frightening. However, in uncertain economic times, it can provide people with valuable time to reevaluate their options and prepare for the next stage of their career.

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