Are Online Degrees Treated the Same by Employers?

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Gerte Brandley
Feb 28, 2010

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With the proliferation of computers and email, many people
have the opportunity to follow college courses online, and
receive a degree from a college by following the standard
curriculum for that degree at the college. This system
offers convenience, and flexibility to many who otherwise
might not be able to attend college, but there might be
drawbacks when you have to verify your education to a
prospective employer. Should you be concerned whether or
not your online degree will be acceptable?

Before committing yourself to a particular online degree
program, check to see what form of accreditation that they
may possess. If you~re dealing with one that doesn~t have
accreditation, your so-called ~degree~ may only be the
worth the paper that it~s printed on. Unless you~re simply
taking courses for personal enjoyment, it~s important that
the school is accredited by the proper agencies. If the
accreditation is in order, then your online degree will be
accepted by most employers.

Another area where accreditation is important is if you
want to transfer credits to a different institution, either
now or eventually. For these purposes, any credits you
earn must be from an online school that is accredited, or
you will not be able to transfer the to another accredited
school. The credits from a non-accredited school will be
lost However, if it is accredited, you should be able to
transfer these credits toward your degree at a new school.
You will then earn a degree as if you attended that school.

The Distance Education and Training Council is the
accreditation agency that grants accreditation to online
schools. If the school you are considering has been
approved and accredited by this organization, your online
degree should be accepted by most other schools and by
employers. Of course, each school or employer has its own
policies concerning acceptance of accreditation by this
organization. Many employers, but not all, now recognize
online degrees, since attitudes regarding them have changed
a lot. The stigma of "mail order" degrees is a thing of the
past for the most part, and most colleges now accept them.

In many cases, the online school is accredited by a
professional organization such as the American Library
Association. This degree is, of course, only accepted by
organizations specifically in that profession. For example,
if you have your online degree in Library Sciences, most
likely it will be accepted by a library, but perhaps not by
a government body or school system to work in the library
of that government or school. These types of accreditations
are limited, and therefore their acceptance is also.

However, schools that are not accredited at all probably
won~t be accepted by any employers or other schools. Large
employers probably have strict policies regarding education
requirements, and would not consider them valid, but with a
smaller employer, you may be able to prove that the course
content will qualify you for the job you are applying for.
However, that may hinder you if you intend to go on for
further education, or if an employer later in your career
requires an accredited degree.

There are many valid online schools which are fully
accredited and offer a legitimate degree. It is therefore
encumbent upon you to make sure that the online college
of your choice is either accredited or that you are
prepared to defend your degree to employers who question
its validity. The sense of inferiority of online degrees
still exists in many cases, so if you want to make sure you
are not wasting your time and your money, do your research
and make sure that your inline degree is going to be of
value in your career search, or your further education.

Gerte Brandley is the webmaster and operator of
HK Degree
which is a top resource on the Net for Degree
information.