The value of an online education may be left to the hiring company but don’t let that dissuade you from pursuing your degree. There are countless articles available online that attempt to answer one question: Will employers respect my online degree? The hard truth is that you would have to ask your employer to find out for sure, but recent trends suggest that the answer is an astounding yes. Online education was once a rare and obscure form of education to participate in, with a very uncertain value. However, in recent years, most universities that are brick and mortar have begun to offer online education in some form.
According to a recent study by Online Learning Consortium, more than one in four students are now taking an online course in some capacity. Many students that attend brick and mortar schools take one or two online courses per semester for one reason or another. Over the past 17 years, enrollment in online courses has continued to climb across the United States.
The opinion of employers when it comes to online learning has changed drastically. Many well-respected universities now offer online programs in some capacity, and online schools have gotten significantly better at delivery methods. Because of this, recruiters and hiring managers have gotten much more comfortable accepting this form of learning. The views of employers can still vary, but when the degree comes from an accredited university, it is difficult to look down upon regardless of the delivery method. Accreditation simply means that the university has met high standards of quality based on the standards of an outside authority. This can be the difference that employers are looking for. Another difference maker can be whether the online university is for-profit or nonprofit. Unfortunately, there is a stigma about for-profit universities that still remains to this day. It is not a huge deterrent, but according to Greg Keller, chief operating officer at the District of Columbia-based national recruiting firm Bloomfield & Company, if it comes down to someone with a nonprofit degree and someone with a for-profit degree, the nonprofit degree holder has the edge.
It is also common for employers to lack recognition that a degree is online unless you specify it. In an interview with US News, an Indiana University-Bloomington Kelley School of Business MBA student said that during job interviews, employers did not recognize that he earned his degree online at first glance. After noticing that he held a job in Cincinnati while earning his degree, they began to inquire. Once they realized that your degree was earned online, employers will often ask one question, “why?” The answer you give should be an honest one. Whether it has to do with your family, a local employment opportunity, or another reason, being honest is the best way to go.
Overall, the negative connotation associated with online degrees is dwindling more and more each year. With so many highly respected institutions offering online degrees, employers are becoming more and more open to the idea of a virtual education. In another decade or so, it is very possible that this negative connotation will disappear completely.
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