Depending on which online degree program you are interested in, there may be a few prerequisites that have to be met in order to begin taking classes. Different online schools have different prerequisites, so it is best to check their online admissions pages.
For example, if you want to enroll in any bachelor's degree program, you will have to have either a high school diploma, or equivalent, or an associate's degree. To enroll in a master's degree program, you will need to have a bachelor's degree. Also offered are certification programs that require a person to have a job in the field in which he/she wishes to earn certification.
If you are going into a program such as nursing, you will be required to have prior experience in the nursing field. Most people who earn degrees online are interested in career advancement. They can apply the knowledge they are learning immediately to their current position. This is a great way to learn more about one's job and to try more efficient ways of handling situations that will occur at the workplace.
If you want to obtain an associate's degree and this is the first time you will be attending college, you will have to be at least 18 years of age, have Internet access, and in some cases, already have a job, or at the very least a high school diploma or equivalent.
These prerequisites have been put in place to ensure that students will be able to understand the material presented and can complete course assignments. There are some degree programs such as nursing and teaching that require students to complete internships. This is why it is best if students are already working in these environments. They will have access to internships easily.
But for traditional majors such as English, math, and liberal arts, such prerequisites do not exist. You will have to complete certain courses before others in order to learn the chronology of information correctly. There are prerequisite classes that will have to be taken before you will be able to take higher level classes.
Prerequisites are used as a way to let people know the level of experience and knowledge necessary to complete a degree program. If you do not meet these prerequisites, you will have to either find a new degree program or try to get a job in a field that is related to the degree program. Some online colleges require that you work at a job for a least a year before enrolling. This will give you a chance to see if the career you are interested in is the right one for you.