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Do employers take online degrees seriously?

February 08,2011 by: Maxim Thomas

Employers have always placed greater weight on higher educational degrees and skill acumen than experience. This is the reason why many adults who are unable to go back to traditional colleges for higher degrees are looking at online universities as an alternative option of closing the gap between their education degree and the expectations that employers have for a particular profile. While it is obvious that distance education is providing an alternative method to fulfil the needs of working adults who wish  to move ahead in their respective careers and also qualify for new professions, the impertinent  question of concern is if the online degrees are held valid by present employers or not. Many experienced job holders question if the degrees availed online have the same educational importance as those degrees that are achieved from attending traditional classes.

In the year 2007, a private non profit organisation that has been involved in the field of online education, conducted a survey of some more than one thousand five hundred CEO’s and entrepreneurs as to what opinion do they hold on the validity of the degrees obtained through online distance learning. While around more than half the interviewed professionals acknowledged the existence of online educational universities and the degree programs offered by them, more than eighty percent of them gave the online degree programs the same status as that obtained through normal full time courses.

A Boston based research firm conducted a second survey that confirmed that sixty two percent of the interviewee was of the opinion that online degrees were at par to or better than the degrees offered by online educational system. The outcome of these surveys showed that online degrees were gaining the same status as the normal degree programs.

While the online degree programs are gaining popularity but there also lays the fact that many employers are still unaware of the degree courses offered online. Many employers still for reasons do not accept online degrees as credible and valid as a traditional degree. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that most of the professionals in the hiring positions are still not familiar with distance learning programs and therefore fail to give due importance to them. Online programs are still new and therefore have still to gain wider acceptance. There are employers who question the level of acumen obtained in online degree courses since there is no direct interaction between the peer group and the instructors. Absence of practical experience also makes online degree courses a questionable aspect of the education program.

The above situation and beliefs can be changed only if a job seeker is able to make the most of the distance education degree programs. It is true that not all universities have been accredited to provide distance learning education. It is therefore necessary that applications are made to programs of only federally accredited institutions that provide higher education. A federal accreditation is the best way by which the legitimacy and quality of the degree offered by an institute can be judged. Also, if people who have obtained professional skills through distance education can perform well in the job market and play an important role in increasing the productivity of a company, the myth against the online degrees can easily be waived off.

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