Your safety career and its success is a function of a number of inputs that you have provided. One of the most important inputs is your education—both at the start of your career and during its development. Relatively few safety practitioners have degrees in the field. Those that do often want to advance their careers by building on that education. The educational environment today offers more options than ever before. A very important option is online education. It is available in more ways than ever, and it is better done and more exciting than at any time in the past. Colleges and universities offer learning in a variety of formats. With technology improvements in the last few decades, students have access to formal education in ways not dreamed of in the past.

When I began teaching in the early 1970s, I showed up for class and taught. We had secretaries and they used typewriters. I hand-wrote all tests and handouts, gave them to the secretary and they retyped everything on mimeograph paper. They needed two days of notice and they would return it to me without complaints. If I forgot and turned in something late, they dutifully did their jobs, but when I had it returned to pick it up, I also received their complaints. If a student needed academic credit for a course, he would either come to class on a regular basis—anywhere from thirty to forty-five times per semester, turn in the papers, and take all the tests, or he would sit for an exam that would offer equivalency credit. These exams were often standardized, but in the school where I taught, they were sometimes constructed by the professor. Theoretically, although it rarely happened, a student could read the book, learn the material, take the exam, and receive credit for the course. This was as close as anything came to "distance learning".

My first significant exposure to learning outside of the traditional campus was when I traveled to another site to offer courses there. It required extra effort on my part, but students were now able to minimize their travel and take courses at a local classroom. In fact, I taught a number of classes at a federal minimum-security prison for students who had no other access to formal education. The students were bright and often motivated to do well. In fact, I had one who, upon graduation, was accepted into the Wharton School of Business. Of course, he had to finish not only his term at the college, but also the one in prison before he moved on.

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