How Employers View Online Degrees

How Do Employers View Online Degrees?

There are many arguments for the benefits of the fast-growing world of online degrees. However, nobody wants to spend time and money earning a degree that isn't worthwhile in the job market. Unfortunately, with online degrees, the distinction between a worthy degree and a worthless one is based on the discretion of the employer scrutinizing your resume. It hasn't yet become the norm for companies to view online degrees as equal to traditional, 4-year degrees. Nevertheless, as more students graduate from online programs and online schools continue to develop, HR managers and hiring managers feel increasingly secure about the quality of education an online degree provides. 

What most employers see as the drawbacks of an online education, based on the 2001 Vault study, include the lack of social interactions with peers, lack of reliable data about the effectiveness or quality of the education, and loss of real-time teacher/student exchanges. Luckily, you have tools with which to combat these doubts in an interview: you can bring along transcripts and course work examples; you can provide letters of recommendation or authenticity about the program and its accreditation; you can simply explain the classroom dynamics and how you interacted with your instructor and other students; and having industry experience may also help to enhance your degree. There are countless studies that prove there is little, if any, difference in the quality of education received through online distance learning versus traditional classrooms. You may just need to take the initiative to explain these basics to your potential employer because he/she likely doesn't understand the process of an online education, and, thus, may consider it slightly suspect. 

What's the good news? Acceptance of online degree programs is on the rise. As more traditional and quality institutions begin to offer these programs (90% currently provide or plan to provide online course alternatives), they will continue to become more widely accepted. Currently, the most willing to embrace online degrees, perhaps not surprisingly, are technology-based industries. However, other industries are beginning to follow suit. All in all, the future looks promising for online schools and students who graduate from them. Just remember that you may need to remind people about the hard work you put in, and, if applicable, the busy schedule you had to work around to do so.

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