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Online Degrees Versus Traditional Degrees

Friday, May 21, 2010

While most employers will value a degree from an established campus college without question, there is a different response from employers reviewing applications for those that list a degree earned from an online college. Should a degree from a virtual college be valued the same as a campus college degree? The times are quickly changing and while the question is valid now, as online education continues to grow and improvements enhance the presentation of course delivery, in the near future there may be no question at all to consider.

Frequently, online students encounter questions about the validity of their degree. However, if you avoid the "degree mills" that give you an official sounding degree but offer no accreditation, you should end up with a legitimate degree. Consider taking virtual courses from an established school, like George Washington University, or register for a recognized online classroom course.

Unfortunately, un-accredited universities and degree mills are besmirching the reputation of distance learning. It may be worth your time to perform a quick search online for the name of the college you are considering with the word "unaccredited" or "fraud". The results can either bring you peace of mind or reasons to investigate further.

However, there are still dozens of schools with quality reputations; just make sure to research your online college before you enroll. Employers have expectations about the quality of worker hired when his credentials list Harvard University, Boston College or UC Berkeley, but there is less known about distance learning institutions.

As a consequence, completing a degree program with very little history or reputation as a credible establishment can have an effect on how your education is perceived. Those who attend more recognized online schools like University of Phoenix or Walden University will see that human resource managers have less questions about the validity of those types of colleges as they are well-known across the country.

In terms of what kinds of degrees you should be considering for an online curriculum, master's degrees are considered more credible than bachelor's degrees, although neither have the prestige of a traditional degree. 26% of human resource professionals accept an online degree as the equivalent of a campus degree, while they accept 37% of masters degrees as a brick and mortar equal.

Some online certifications and degrees may be acceptable and even encouraged, based on the industry that you are in. Those in technology, interior design or culinary arts fields can expect employers to be more open to interviewing applicants with degrees from an online institution, whereas those seeking employment at law firms or in specialized fields of medicine will have a more of a challenge competing with other applicants who have traditional campus degrees. This is due to the face-to-face interaction of standard classroom format. Degrees that are based on computers allow you a day-by-day interaction through the class, whereas a Biology major from an online program would not have been given the same materials as a traditional student.

In the end, the credibility and validity of your degree truly depends on the person that is hiring you and your ability to sell yourself based on the knowledge you gained through your online education. Some may favor work experience; others will place more emphasis on the name and history of the school from which you graduated. Additionally, choosing a college with a broad alumni base will help you network in the future, as it increases the potential that one of the employees already hired will be from the same college as you. Nonetheless, as the number of students enrolling online continues to increase exponentially, companies are being forced into the 21st century and are incorporating ways to seriously consider virtual degree applicants evenly with campus degree applicants.

A lot of companies these days are even adding continuing education to employee benefits and support those that want to advance their career through online training. Many employers offer financial assistance or paid leave for employees to participate in these programs, just like they would for someone heading back to a campus for traditional schooling.

My Nursing Degree Online provides articles and resources for nurses looking for continuing education online. Find more information about earning your nursing degree online at

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