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Find Out if Employers Distrust Online Degrees

written by: Kimberly Roberts, MPH•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 12/1/2009

Understand why employers are less skeptical towards degrees earned online. After reading this article, you may be better able to answer the question, "Do employers distrust online degrees in today's world?"

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    Will I Be Respected?

    Are online degrees respected by employers world-wide? Do prospective employers view online degrees as less credible than a traditional school setting? These are very valid concerns. We want our efforts in furthering our education to be respected and recognized by the professional class.

    When online degrees were first introduced many employers were skeptical. Most felt that the traditional school setting was much more demanding in curriculum and therefore created more qualified candidates. Employers also were also not familiar with the names of many of the online schools where higher education degrees were claimed to be earned. They were accurate in this skepticism.

    We have often heard the term ‘degree mills’. These places take money and present a diploma for little to no guidance, expectations or demand. There are also programs that take money, demand a great deal of effort but provide a degree or certification that is not recognized or properly accredited for employment. How these classes are conducted, the credentials that the professors hold, and the demand of the curriculum was very much a mystery to employers. Thus, there was very little understanding, very little trust and a large amount of skepticism that often led to hiring other candidates.

    Have things changed over the last decade? Absolutely. Not only has perception improved dramatically but many employers have even expanded employee benefits to include opportunities for online educational programs paid for by their company.

    There are a couple major reasons for this change. First, many traditional schools are now offering online courses and distant learning programs. Statistically, 90% of traditional schools already offer or are in the planning stages to offer online programs within the next couple years.

    Online degrees are now being associated with well known colleges that have already established a prestigious reputation that employers can better relate to. Also, as the number of online programs increase, so does the competition and in turn the demand for higher standards within program expectations, delivery and outcomes.

    Finally, employers are more aware of the demand and benefits tying into the completion of an online degree. They identify the technological experience, self discipline and motivation. They also are aware that this educational approach requires efficiency in virtual communication and creativity in seeking resources and networking.

    In today’s modern world, these are often skills that are sought out by employers and more easily displayed through successfully earning an online degree. So, in answering the question, "Do employers distrust online degrees?"...The answer, definitely not.

    It is still important, though, to seek out prestigious online programs just as you would a traditional, four walled university. It is important to believe in the value of your degree and be prepared to identify the skills that this form of learning demanded and required you to strengthen and learn. Do your homework and be prepared!