Do Employers View Online Degrees?
is on the rise in an emerging industry
Increasing numbers of older students are participating
in online courses or seeking full
degree programs online. These programs are an attractive
alternative as they help busy adults balance hectic
schedules. As the numbers of interested students steadily
increase, the number of colleges and universities providing
these online programs also continue to rise. According
to recent statistics, over 90 percent of traditional
institutions provide or plan to provide some kind of
program through distance learning.
For example, Keller Graduate School of Management has several online
master's degree programs for busy working professionals.
Programs include a master's in business administration,
project management, account and information systems
management, and some graduate certificate programs.
DeVry University is offering an online bachelor's degree
in business administration with concentrations in accounting,
business information systems, e-commerce, information
technology, and project management - all online.
Many other nationally recognized universities are offering
full programs through the Internet as well. Professors
who teach the online courses have commented that the
quality of work is typically higher from the online
student than the traditional student who is physically
attending a class. In addition the degree earned online
is the same credential earned when attending a traditional
Traditional, brick-and-mortar universities often make
no separation between their programs and the type of
degree awarded. For example, students can take 90 percent
of their coursework in the classroom at New York State
University, and the remaining 10 percent online, and
receive a degree from New York State. Students could
also complete 90 percent of their classes online, take
only 10 percent on campus, and be awarded the same degree.
If a student is interested in taking some courses online
at a regionally
accredited university, and then transferring them
to the traditional university next door, the transfer
credits will be accepted 90 percent of the time, according
to John Bear, author of Bear's
Guide to College Degrees by Mail and Internet.
For profit universities, such as the University of Phoenix, are wholly targeted to working adults.
There are over 19,000 students enrolled, and all coursework
can be completed entirely online. Programs include associate,
bachelor, and graduate degrees. The University of Phoenix
is fully accredited, and is quickly growing in recognition
and popularity among older students. Up to 59 percent
of students at the University of Phoenix receive tuition
assistance from their employer.
For more examples of featured online programs and to
request information, see our degree
It is vital that students interested in online programs
do their research before selecting a program. Some institutions
lack the appropriate accreditation,
or provide poor interaction between students and faculty.
Other universities, termed "Degree Mills,"
award diplomas not worth much more than the paper they
are printed on.
Recognized institutions with online degree programs
carry more weight with employers than degrees awarded
by lesser known schools. A Vault.com study reports that
77 percent of hiring managers say that an online degree
received through an established university such as Duke
or Stanford is more acceptable than a degree earned
through an Internet only university like Capella or
Jones International. However, some say such an assessment
is unfair, as Capella and Stanford have the same regional
accreditation and uphold rigorous academic standards.
Despite concerns, acceptance of online degree programs
is on the rise. Many corporations are hiring applicants
with online degrees, or providing tuition reimbursement.
As more traditional and quality institutions begin to
offer these programs, they will become more common and
widely accepted. According to a report from Market Data
Retrieval, colleges providing online degrees doubled
in just one year. The survey of 4,000 institutions showed
promising figures: in 1999-2000, 34 percent of colleges
offered degrees on the Internet, up from 15 percent
just the year before.
Consortium found that complete online degree programs
are offered by 34 percent of institutions. Among public
institutions, 49 percent are offering full online degree
programs. 80 percent of public and 37 percent of private
institutions offer both online and blended programs.
For profit institutions expect to increase their online
programs more rapidly than any other type of institution,
anticipating an increase of more than 40 percent. In
addition, according to Consortium findings, three quarters
of academic leaders at public colleges and universities
believe that online learning quality is equal to or
superior to face-to-face instruction (The
Sloan Consortium: Entering the Mainstream, October 2004.)
As increasing numbers of professionals receive their
degrees and professional training on the Internet, employers
uncertain of online degrees will need to re-evaluate
their position. These programs are coming on strong
in the education industry, as technology becomes more
sophisticated and the demand grows.
For more information, see Online Education Gets Accolades, Should
You Get Your Degree Through Distance Learning?,
Online Degree Programs.