Are online education degrees respected? Chances are if you've considered enrolling in an online learning program, this is a question you've mulled over. Earning an online education degree offers many benefits: flexibility in your schedule, the ability to earn a degree without moving, working while completing your studies, applying course learnings to your current job in real-time and many more.
But do any of those conveniences matter if your employer, or future employers, don't respect the degree you worked so hard to earn? There's good news on that front. We'll break down what most employers really think of online degrees, and how online education may help your resume.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employers are more likely to be open to an online degree from a school that also provides traditional on-campus coursework as well as online offerings. In fact, 92 percent of employers said they viewed online degrees from brick-and-mortar universities favorably.1
When earning a degree in a traditional on-campus setting, it's important that the school you attend has a good reputation. The name on your diploma becomes even more important if you're earning your degree entirely online. According to CNN, 83 percent of the hiring executives in their survey said that an online degree is as credible as one earned through a traditional on-campus program, but factors such as accreditation, quality of graduates and the name of the institution were chief among things they considered to make an online degree more credible.2 Accreditation is important for all online programs, but it's especially important for lesser-known schools, as employers will want to verify whether an online program meets a high standard of quality.3
Employers Are Getting With the Times
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the fall of 2016 nearly 3 million students were enrolled in exclusively distance education courses.4 As more and more well-respected universities offer online-only programs, ignoring online education degrees is becoming a less acceptable practice. Many companies have noticed and embraced this educational trend and adjusted their hiring practices to consider all types of degrees.3
It's equally important to note that the hiring managers usually won't know or recognize that an online education degree has been earned online, unless the school is known for being a virtual university (like Phoenix University). If they do realize this, it's usually in the interview phase, which allows you to explain your educational history.3
Use Your Degree to Your Advantage
You should be prepared for questions about your online education degree and the rigor of the curriculum. Whether you choose an online education degree program because you don't have time to juggle a family, career and driving to campus, or you choose the online program at your dream school but couldn't afford to pick up and move across the country, your reasoning can help employers get a gauge of your decision making-abilities.
You can help them gain a sense of what attracted you to the program by mentioning the skills you gained through the program, sharing industry-accepted accreditations, providing details about experiential learning opportunities and listing ways you directly applied your learning to your current job.
The best thing you can do is embrace the aspects of an online education degree that make it different from on-campus programs. Graduate students who earn their degrees online are often balancing a full-time job as well as their education and other outside commitments. An online education degree also requires students to collaborate and problem solve with their peers more intentionally. Many employers view these aspects favorably, as they demonstrate your desire to overcome obstacles and further both your career and your education.
Take the Next Step
Your talent, intelligence, work history and drive are more important than the method in which you earned your degree. But the reputation of your school and quality of your education certainly matters. If you're thinking about earning an online education degree at the graduate level, consider how earning an online Master of Science in Education from a Top 10 Best Education School (among public universities)5 can help you further your career.
1. Retrieved on September 17, 2019, from shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/research-and-surveys/pages/hiringpracticesandattitudes.aspx
2. Retrieved on September 17, 2019, from cnn.com/2010/LIVING/worklife/03/29/cb.employers.online.education/index.html
3. Retrieved on September 17, 2019, from usnews.com/higher-education/online-education/slideshows/10-things-employers-think-about-your-online-degree?onepage
4. Retrieved on September 17, 2019, from nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_311.15.asp?current=yes
5. Retrieved on August 15, 2019, from usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-education-schools/edu-rankings