How Will A Potential Employer View an Online Degree?
Lets face it, a degree from an online university may not be viewed by prospective employers with the same amount of credibility as one from a traditional campus based university degree. But while a few years ago an online degree may have been seen as anything from suspicious to questionable, we are getting closer to the day when the person reviewing your credentials may have received a degree themselves via distance learning program, or at least have had some training from one. The jump from online training to receiving a diploma from an accredited university is not such a large one.
In today’s economic climate, there are many people who are looking for ways to save money without sacrificing quality. One such method is choosing advanced schooling by going to an online institution. Before deciding this is your preferred method for career preparation, you need to think about how will potential employers view an online degree. There are a number of factors that one should consider before deciding to go down either road.
Do your due diligence to ensure that you are choosing the right university. Choose a school that has the classes you need and make sure that it has teachers who have experience in the field. Believe it or not, professors from Ivy League schools will moonlight and teach classes at online universities, so you may end up getting that quality of an education at a fraction of the cost. The school should have a good record of successful career enhancement for its graduates. Choosing the right institution means looking at how it is set up to present the coursework and if there are other factors which will affect successful completion of the classes.
You should check the formal accreditation of the institution at the U.S. Dept. of Education’s website an national versus regional accreditation matters. There are other online school rating agencies, such as Collegesource.org, as well as national ranking firms. If the online course is linked to a bricks-and-mortar institution, you may find the courses are more likely to be recognized. If the course in which your degree is taken has a national professional association, check with their website to ensure that they recognize the institution you are considering.
A potential employer may be quite impressed that you have made the effort to enhance your work skills, regardless of the type of course in which you enroll. Initiative and self-direction are a recognized and appreciated characteristic by employers. The fact that you have worked to better your experience and your education may be just the selling point that will put you at the head of the recruiting list.
The employer may look more favorably upon one type of online course over another. There are various ways in which information can be presented, even under the umbrella of Web courses. For example, the student may attend courses at the same time as campus students do. Other classes don’t happen at a physical location. Other media forms combine visual media and written media. Some courses offer the opportunity to study with peer groups.
In some instances, a prospective employer may request that you get your degree as part of your employee training or orientation. Some employers will even provide partial or complete tuition assistance to valued employees. This may be through a Web-based course or one that is more traditional.
An advanced degree such as an MBA, (Master of Business Administration) is quite often completed while on-the-job. Many employers will help to fund such coursework toward this degree. In many instances, the work is incorporated into the requirements to complete the Master’s program.
One thing to keep in mind is the purpose of acquiring your degree online. For many trade-oriented jobs, online classes, or a degree will enhance your employability as you have gained necessary knowledge, and made the effort to do so, and it is less about the piece of paper (your degree) than studying the material and developing your skills. However in some industries, for example finance, where and how you get your degree may be vital, and a prospective employee who has an MBA from a well-known and established campus based university may have an edge over a prospect who received their degree from an online university. The latter prospect may have acquired the same quality of knowledge and training as the former prospect, but there may be a perception by the employer that the social setting as well as the more hands-on approach of a campus based degree will translate into a qualitatively better experience. Whether this is true or not may not be material, as unfortunately opinions matter as much to some people as facts.
Determining how will potential employers view an online degree may make the difference in whether or not you want to invest your time and effort into the project. The type of coursework that you are taking will also make a difference in whether or not this is a wise career advancement move. Elements to look at before making up your mind include the cost of the training, the type of coursework, whether or not the institution is accredited and the recognition of the value of the finished degree.