Are online degrees respected? It’s a question many people ask everyday as they think over their options for going back to school and earning the degree they didn’t finish years ago. Many people who work full-time or have other commitments are now turning to online degree programs and it’s easy to see why. There are several reasons why the online option is so appealing. First, most people who are over 30 find it very difficult to work college classes into their busy schedules. Once a person reaches a certain point in life and has certain life responsibilities, it’s often very hard to work in-person classes into their lives.
Another problem that working adults run into when considering traditional degree programs is commuting back and forth to school. After all, it’s not like these 30-somethings and older people are going to live on campus in dorms. No, they will have to commute back and forth several times a week and have to fight each time for the best parking spaces. This is something that consumes even more of their valuable time.
Because of the many problems that adults face when they think about finishing their undergraduate degrees or even earning graduate degrees, the online degree option looks like a great idea. And why not? Most online degree programs do not require students to be sitting at their computers at specific times to participate in class activities. They can access their course materials during times that are convenient for them…. like when the kids are asleep, during breaks at work, over the weekends, and other times that work for them. Online learning makes the concept of having to worry about following your professors’ schedules a thing of the past.
But still…. there’s that nagging thought about the quality and usability of online degrees. Are they respected? Are they taken seriously? The answer is not a simple “yes” or “no.” There are several things to consider when shopping for the best online degree program. And not all online degree programs are created equal.
Are Online Degrees Taken Seriously?
Online degrees are often taken seriously by employers if they are from well-established state colleges or universities. In fact, many people don’t even realize that most traditional colleges and universities now offer online degrees in addition to their regular on-campus degree offerings.
There are some online degrees that are not taken anywhere near as seriously as degrees from traditional schools. These are degrees from the for-profit schools. These are schools that are more of a business than a school…in fact, most of them were created for the purpose of generating a profit for their owners. These schools are very easy to identify. With a simple internet search for “for-profit colleges and universities” you can easily find a list of these schools.
Many of the for-profit schools have developed a bad reputation because they advertise so much and have open enrollment admissions. You have to think about it from the perspective of an employer. Which would you be more inclined to hire….someone who graduated from a respected state university or someone who graduated from one of the for-profit schools that has cheesy TV commercials and accepts anyone with a pulse? That’s what many employers face on a daily basis. And in most cases the applicant with the state school on his or her resume is usually the one who gets the job.
Online Degree VS Traditional Degree
There are a few differences in an online degree vs a traditional degree that you should be aware of if you are considering earning your degree online. This assumes you are going to be earning your degree from a traditional university instead of a for-profit school. First, traditional classes require you to meet at specific times at a specific location…usually several times a week. Online classes, in contrast, typically do not require any in-person meetings. They also usually do not require you to be at your computer at specific times either.
Another thing that is occasionally different involves exams. There are many online classes that don’t require any exams at all. It’s true. As long as you turn in your assignments by their due dates and complete all of your online discussion board postings, that’s all that’s required to earn your grade. However, there are many online classes that do require you to take exams. How is this done if you live a long way from your school? Most online classes allow you to find someone who lives close to you who is in a position of trust to administer your exam. This person, usually called a “proctor,” can often be a librarian, public school official, or someone else as designated by your school. Exams are mailed to your proctor and are mailed back after they are completed.
Online Degrees For Military Personnel
For many military personnel who are stationed at bases all over the globe, online degrees are really the only option they may have to continue their education. Thankfully, there are now so many different colleges and universities that offer such programs that there’s literally something available to fit everyone’s particular needs. Military personnel can earn an online degree while stationed in a remote corner of the globe and use their degree to gain a promotion. In addition, military personnel can take advantage of military tuition assistance and the GI Bill to earn their degrees with little or no out-of-pocket expenses.
Are Online Degrees Respected?
To answer the question of whether online degrees are respected….the answer is a qualified “yes.” They are respected if they are from a traditional college or university that also has online degree programs. If you are thinking about enrolling in such a program, it’s a good idea to go with a school that’s as close as possible to where you live. Hardly anyone will even suspect you earned your degree online with this strategy. For example, if you live in Florida, you could enroll in one of the University of Florida’s many online degree programs. If you don’t mention the fact that you earned your degree online to a potential employer, they probably won’t ask as long as it’s from a respected university in your state.