Do Employers Take Online Degrees Seriously?
As you've grown up, it's probably been drilled into you by your parents and teachers that going to college will provide you with the best opportunities in life. But with the recent introduction of online degrees, does that idea still hold true? Many students are wondering whether online degrees are valuable alternatives to degrees studied at college, or are simply not taken seriously in the world of work.
One aspect to consider is the 'generation gap'. Whilst this idea has probably never occurred to you, it is very much relevant. Many employers who are, say, around fifty, may not be at all clued up when it comes to the Internet (bearing in mind it only started its rise to fame around a decade ago). For this reason, they may place less value on an online degree than a traditional degree from a college. Whilst this seems unfair (and it is), it's unfortunately the reality of the world. So if you are considering an industry that is typically dominated by the older generation, you may be better off attending regular college rather than studying via the Internet.
More importantly, you need to look at the wide range of online educational courses available - and be sure to choose a program ran and certified by an accredited organization. Accreditation indicates to employers that the degree you have is valuable and legitimate, rather than of the 'Mickey Mouse' type. This may even make those of the older generation think twice about how they consider your degree. Be careful not to enroll on a course that is, essentially, a scam. Not only will you lose a significant amount of money, but you will have wasted a lot of time. It is easy to find out on an organization's website whether or not their degrees are accredited.
If you are looking to enter a highly competitive area of work - like banking, or law - you need to consider the competition you are going to have when going against other candidates for a job position, and what kind of qualifications they are likely to have. If your competitors are all set with degrees from Ivy Leagues colleges and business schools, your online degree probably won't stand out. On the other hand, neither will a degree from, say, Dartmouth, if others have been to the likes of Harvard and Yale.
It may be that the specific subject or course you intend to study is not available online (or vice-versa, only available online). Of course, if this is the case, you will have no choice but to go with the available option. When showing your employer your degree certificate, you should make them aware that (if it was done online) you weren't able to study it at an institution. This way, they simply have to accept it is valid. Additionally, you are demonstrating passion for the course, as you have done something unconventional in order to study it.
Of course, to find out the straight-forward answer to whether your potential employer would take on online degree seriously, you could simply ask them. By contacting them in advance of enrolling on a course, you will at least gain some sort of idea as to whether they do consider online degrees valuable (remember, they may not answer completely truthfully, as they may have a bias towards college degrees).
In conclusion, it is reasonable to say that some employers won't take an online degree seriously: but this is not the case across the board. Either way, times are changing, and as the Internet becomes part of everyone's daily life, online degrees are likely to become more accepted.