Online degrees have become increasingly popular the last few years due to the fact that we live such busy lives in the 21st century that if we want to return to college, online is the easiest way to do it. Most people are now comfortable enough with technology that they can easily get accustomed to learning in the online classroom.
Another reason for online degree popularity is our global community, as the advancement of technology allows us to reach out to almost any place in the world, which indeed, enriches our lives. The fact is that online colleges and degrees are here to stay.
But how do employers view online degrees? Will you be able to get a good job if you put the time and money into a degree? Is it worth the risk?
Because so many people now earn their degrees online, employers are more now more comfortable seeing these types of universities listed on applicant’s’ resumes.
With the popularity and availability of online degrees, employers have found it necessary to be open-minded about hiring employees from trusted online universities.
Overall, employers value a solid education where meaningful skills are taught, regardless of whether they come from an online or traditional college. In general, employers tend to be more concerned with the degree, reputation of the attended college and the GPA of the job applicant.
As the numbers of graduates from online universities increase, so has the acceptance of employers. Even though this was not the case just a few short years ago, employers have had enough time to witness for themselves the quality of students who are graduating from online universities.
In fact, some forward-thinking employers see a real benefit to job candidates with online degrees. They are now more aware of the skill and determination it takes to juggle job, family and school, and they recognize that candidates can bring the same skill and determination to their job performance.
Of course, there are some employers who are more traditional, who have a tendency to still be biased against online-only degrees.
This is usually due to their familiarity with brick and mortar colleges, along with a lack of understanding of what it takes to earn an online degree. But it is likely that in time, these employers too will come to see the benefits of hiring employees with online degrees.
However, it is wise to tread cautiously when looking at all of the various universities and programs available now. They are not all equal, and there are “diploma mills” out there, for sure.
To safeguard against earning a degree from a college with meaningless credentials, it is imperative that you take various things into consideration when deciding which college is right for you. Some research into your top school choices will pay out big in the long run.
There are online colleges out there that have no accreditation, and therefore, offer less than marketable degrees to students. And even worse, there are colleges who invent their accreditations, so that they appear to be credible colleges, when in fact, they are not.
Make sure that your top college picks are accredited by the appropriate, regional learning accreditation agencies before signing anything. Also, take a serious look at the accreditation that your program of interest has. All fields have various accreditation entities that provide their stamp of approval for programs that met their quality educational standards.
Learn what those accreditation bodies are in your chosen field and see if the colleges you are interested in have those qualifications. The best way to determine the college’s accreditation is to verify that they are accredited through one of the agencies approved by the US Department of Education.
Reputation Of University
Spending some time researching your top school choices is a good way to determine the reputation that each school has. Have you heard of the university? Does it have a good reputation both regionally and globally?
Is the program you are interested in highly regarded in your field? Big names such as MIT and Yale offer online degrees now too, and obviously, one of these universities would be beyond reproach when you go to find a job.
But online-only universities who have a long standing in higher education have also gained recognition for providing students with quality education and skills necessary in the work force.
Online Only Or Regional Campuses
Some studies show that while online-only degree programs have less of a sigma now than in years past, there are some employers who show prejudice against online-only universities because they believe that they offer students a less rigorous education than traditional schools.
With the rise of many for-profit and online colleges, traditional colleges have also stepped up to the plate to offer online programs to students as well, so you now have a choice about which type of college to attend. It’s a good idea to do some research on your top choices of schools and how your particular industry views them, as well as online degree programs.
Some fields and employers may look more favorably on online degrees that are attained at colleges that have a regional campus.
The strength of brand recognition is important in two ways. First, potential employees will know the name and the good reputation of a strongly, positively branded university, and will be much more likely to hire online graduates from those colleges.
Also, the university needs to keep its strong, positive brand in the future, so they will offer a rigorous education that compares to traditional colleges. Going with a well-branded college is a wise decision to keep your risk to a minimum.
Name Of Institution
Regardless of whether you graduate from an exclusively online university or a traditional one, the name of the institution is important. It is just easier to get a job when the name, brand and reputation of a college is highly thought of.
Keep in mind also that it is recommended that students avoid attending colleges with “online education” or “distance learning” in the name of the college. Even some employers who are open minded about online degrees might succumb to the stigma that distance learning only programs are less rigorous or reputable than traditional colleges.
Quality And Reputation Of Faculty
Check out the tenured faculty in the department you are interested in. Does the faculty tend to stay at the university or does there seem to be a revolving door of new professors all the time. Do the professors have a good reputation in their field?
Don’t just take the word of their faculty page and the department page. Do a little digging to see if they stand up to scrutiny beyond the letters after their name.
Comparable Degree Name And Requirements
One way to check the quality of an online university is to see what brick and mortar universities accept their transfer credits, and look at the courses required for comparable degree from a traditional college that has a good reputation.
Do the number of credits match up? Do the names and descriptions of the courses seem similar? Is the degree title similar?
Pressure Tactics Of Recruiters Or Counselors
If a college makes it past the research phase, factor in your experience with the representatives of the college. Are they open to answering any questions you have?
Do they really answer your questions or do they deflect them? Are they friendly and knowledgeable? Are they pressuring you to make a decision? If you are feeling pressured to pay your fees and enroll, take another look at their reputation and quality of education. You shouldn’t feel pressured to make a decision until you are ready.
What Can You Do To Overcome The Bias Of A Potential Employer?
Focus on the educational rigor required for your core classes. By mentioning some of the high standards and challenging requirements you faced in various key classes, you can help the interviewer to see that you earned a quality degree that is just as reputable as one that came from a traditional university. Quality programs want to make sure that they keep their good reputation and will offer the same rigorous training program as a traditional college.
Discuss the challenges you overcame to ensure you received your degree. Showing strength of character in obviously challenging situations can help the recruiter see what personal dedication and character you can bring to their organization.
Emphasize the work traits required for completing an education exclusively online. Things such self-motivation, strong written communication skills and high-level information literacy skills can go a long way in proving your job qualifications.
Phrases such as “buyer beware” and “if it seems too good to be true, it is” definitely apply when it comes to choosing a creditable intuition that will help land you a good job after graduation. The time and effort put into the research to make the right choice for you and your future will definitely be worth it!