Business professionals place a lot of value on credentials. If you’ve worked in the business long enough, you may have garnered plenty of prestige with your creativity and salesmanship, but someone who has the same qualities as well as a degree may still get ahead of you. Master of Business Administration degrees are worth more to business professionals than 10 years of experience in some cases. The best news of all is that colleges are recognizing the need for this degree in the business world and many have transitioned incredible MBA programs into online formats. The same online school from five years ago isn’t the same as it is now. They are much more integrated with current technology and allow students to work one-on-one with teachers; easing a busy schedule and helping the business professional earn the qualifications while still gaining the experience. For many, these online MBA programs were the reason that they were able to gain a better position. There are some things that you need to look out for when you pick an online school. In addition, business professionals should really consider schools that focus on allowing the student to set the pace.

Know Your Limits

If you think you can handle school, then you have to consider that while online schools are less rigidly schedule than a traditional college’s course schedule, you still have to make time to do the work. There will be a lot of reading, on old and new topics, and you may need to attend video lectures and group discussions online. For someone who doesn’t have a lot of self-discipline, online formats aren’t the best choice, because how can you make yourself study and do the work? There are some great benefits if you can find the time and create a priority schedule for your school work load. You can commit extra time in your day to learning new concepts and applying those to your current job. Accelerated online courses will give you a speedy ticket to graduation, and you can work with other students who are also business savvy—all while learning from the comfort of your own home.

Check the Accreditation

Any school worth its salt has accreditation. This ensures that the school is providing quality education and a certain level of excellence that you can expect for an online degree. There are such things as diploma mills, which mean that places often give diplomas to anybody. You don’t want to go to one of these schools. If it seems too good to be true and the program is extremely accelerated, like you can get a MBA in a week kind of speedy, then it’s probably not a good idea to sign up. Instead, look for programs that are on U.S. News & World Report’s top online business program’s list or research a school’s accreditation before applying. It will save you a lot of grievance later on.

Cha-Ching! Get Reimbursed

Many employers want their employees to understand business topics and become well-versed in salesmanship, advertising, marketing and strategizing. If you are a currently working business professional, perhaps your employer will provide tuition reimbursement or at least partial reimbursement for your online classes. There are multiple advantages for the employer who does support its employees this way. They get more skilled employees who can help provide new business solutions. If your employer doesn’t provide reimbursement, there are also financial aid programs that are available.

Do Your Research

The best online MBA programs have been around at least three years. You can find plenty of business school and degree reviews from students who also attended the university. You should read about these experiences and figure out which online degrees are really benefitting the students. There are also interactive forums and chat groups which can help you get more suggestions for finding an online MBA degree that’s worth your time. Once you’ve found a few degree programs that you like, narrow down the results even further by calling and speaking to a department provost for where you want to go.