Do Employers View an Online Degree Differently?

Last updated on November 15, 2017

Some sort of reputation is often attached to academic degrees. Ivy league schools are noteworthy; unfamiliar colleges net a second glance. In that same vein, some employers may look twice at an online degree because they are less familiar with them. Online degrees are somewhat new to the education arena, considering they came with the rise of the Internet as a popular medium. If you are thinking about earning your degree online but are worried about the public’s perception, there are a few things you can be aware about to ensure you have the same – or better – credentials as a traditional school.

Just like degrees earned on a campus, not all online degree programs are equal. You can check to see if your degree is from an accredited program, which is approved by an agency that is considered to be reliable by the U.S. Department of Education that signals quality and proof of a valuable education. However, not all quality educational institutions are accredited or even required to be. Your employer’s perception of an online degree might be more positive if it’s from an accredited university, and you’ll feel better knowing that. When you are choosing an online program, make sure to take time to shop around. There are many education websites that will not mention their accreditation, and these are the programs you might want to look a little deeper into. Some of these programs might even be scams. Therefore, don’t settle on the first program that you come across. Opt for a program that is reputable and that you can thoroughly investigate. One additional bonus is that accredited class credits have a higher percentage of being able to transfer to other universities if you happen to transfer.

The next step you can take to make sure your employer thinks highly of your online degree (as with any school) is to earn the best grades possible. Employers will be able to see the good grades that you earned and see that you are a hard-working individual. If you are faced with a decision during your studies that allows you to choose between going out on the town or staying in to study, choose to study. Anything you can do and any extra time you are able to devote to learning and studying for your online classes will help you earn better grades. In the end, it’s the grades that will prove to your employer that you took your education seriously. When earning an online degree, it is strictly on your shoulders. You must be disciplined because you do not have the structured environment of a campus-based education to benefit from. Hard work at the college level can translate well to the work environment, and when applying for a job, it’s something you should make your future employer aware of.

Due to the nature of online education, your employer might have a different view of your work traits than someone who earned a regular degree. Online education is done solely on the Internet, rather than in a classroom, which decreases your interaction with people. On one hand, your employer might wonder if you work well with others because of the independence you are used to. If your potential job is full of interaction with other employees, your employer might prefer someone with a traditional degree over you. On the other hand, online degrees give you the opportunity to show off your positive work ethics. You can highlight your ability to work independently.

In an interview setting, having earned a degree online will allow you to promote more traits than just independence. You can talk about your excellent time management abilities since an online degree usually implies you are trying to balance a busier lifestyle. You can also tell your potential employer what kept you motivated to learn and how that might translate to your work environment. Also, the earning of online degrees requires you to be an independent self-starter – something that’s always valuable in the workplace.

It’s never going to be easy for you to predict what your potential employer will think of your online, whether it was earned on a campus or not. Some might fully embrace a degree that is earned on the web, and some might be ambivalent towards it and yet others might not really trust an online degree over a regular degree. Rather than approaching an interview situation defensively, you can just make sure you are prepared to provide all the right information. And, you now know which ideas to highlight, such as accreditation, good grades and the positive characteristics you gained while earning your education.