Going back to school online can offer busy families flexibility

TAMPA, Fla. -
For people with full-time jobs and growing families, it can be tough to think about advancing your education. But going to school online can offer flexibility for busy families.
 
ABC Action News is committed to highlighting some of the best education for your money to get on a good career path.
 
In Nicole Baker's house, the kids are playing while mom's going to school.
 
"You can do it 24 hours a day, seven days a week," she said.
 
It hasn't been easy for her to get her bachelor's and now master's degree online.
 
"It's very difficult to run a family, run a career and try to go back to school at the same time," Baker said.
 
But for Baker, who doesn't live close to a college and is already working, this is her best option.
 
"It makes it to where every single person who wants to get a degree can," Baker said.
 
"They can put their children to bed at night and start their course," said Cynthia DeLuca, USF Innovation Education.
 
The University of South Florida already offers 99 online degree programs alongside many other traditional colleges and universities. Many of their online students are getting degrees in in-demand areas and getting jobs fast.
 
"Cybersecurity is very popular," DeLuca said. "It impacts people in every facet of business."
 
But not every online program has what employers are looking for.  
 
"Look for the accreditation," DeLuca said.
 
USF says going to a regionally accredited institution is critical and all it takes is a search on the U.S. Department of Education's website. Otherwise, you may put your hard-earned tuition money at risk for a degree employers may not value.
 
"You want to make sure the money and the time you've invested leads to that career that you want so badly," DeLuca said.
 
Nicole is on her way to becoming a full-time teacher using her online degree.
 
"People realize they are serious degrees, they're real degrees," she said,.
 
She's proud of what she's been able to accomplish one class at a time.
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