When considering going back to school, many would-be students often consider online degrees. It”s easy to see why, as many online degrees give students the opportunity to do their work whenever and wherever, allowing them to squeeze classes and homework in between working full-time and other daily duties. The one issue many potential students often worry about when choosing an online degree is whether or not it will be looked down upon by employers. Despite its inaccuracy, the assumption persists that online degrees are lesser than degrees that were received on campus. This is simply not true, and an online degree is just as valuable and respected by employers as a degree obtained from sitting in a classroom. However, there are several factors to consider when choosing to enroll in an online degree program.
Is It Accredited?
It”s important to know whether or not the online degree program is accredited. If the program is not accredited, issues could arise down the road, as there are many employers and certification programs that will not accept a degree as valid if it was not received from an accredited institution. Many accredited institutions with physical campuses have online degree programs available, even world-renowned universities such as Harvard. For students who are worried about the respectability of an online degree, choosing to receive an online degree through a school that is well regarded, accredited, and has a brick and mortar campus can be one way of putting those fears to rest. It can also give students access to some of the perks of a physical campus, like advisors and career counselors. However, an online degree program doesn”t need to have a brick and mortar campus to be an accredited and respectable institution, and students who don”t need a physical campus can be well served by colleges that are strictly online only.
What Style of Learning Does the Program Use?
When choosing an online degree program, it can be helpful to understand ahead of time what style of learning they use. Some online degree programs are strictly online, and all courses are taken on the computer wherever the student wants. Other online degree programs have a blended style of learning. Blended learning means that much of the degree is obtained online, but it is blended with face-to-face learning in a physical setting.
For example, some online degree programs may allow students to do all of their course work from the comfort of their own home, but may have one night a week, or perhaps one weekend a month, where students get together in a traditional learning environment. This can be a positive thing for those who would like to get to know their professors better, or would like to do some networking with classmates. For those who simply don”t have the time to go to a classroom, however, blended learning can be a negative, and those students should stick to traditional online degrees.
Terry Southerland is a career counselor and content contributor for thebestdegrees.org, a site featuring lists of and specialty field endeavors such as