How Employers View Online Degrees
If you are curious about how employers view online degrees, there are a few things to consider. The first is that much of the hiring process comes down to personality of the person in charge of the hiring process. This cannot be predicted, but it there are ways to moderate your risk. The second is the reputation of the institute you attend. And the third is accreditation status of your degree.
What the Research Says
As part of her graduate program in education at Oklahoma State University, Kathy Norene Seibold did a paper on employers perceptions of online education. The questions she asked were:
- How do employers perceive the quality of online coursework and/or degrees in comparison to more traditional education?
- What differences do employers perceive between non-profit institutions that offer online coursework and for-profit institutions that offer online coursework?
- What concerns do employers have about the educational path of their potential employees, and how do these concerns impact the hiring process?
- What effect has the advertisement of online education and concrete 4 exposure to online education (personal or through employee contact) had on employers’ perceptions of online education?
Her research collected data from human resource departments on their hiring practices and found that the acceptance of online education greatly depends on the attitudes of the people reviewing your application and performing your interview. If a particular person at a company has had a negative experience with online education, or looks down upon it in general, then your chances are greatly reduced for getting a job at that company, if you have received an online degree.
Choosing the Right School
All online degrees are not created equal. Choosing the right online degree can make a big difference in the perception of the people evaluating your application. In fact, according to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, the most important thing to employers is the quality of the education and the reputation of the institution where you received your degree. One way to determine this is to ask prospective employers directly what they think about specific degrees and online institutions. However, you can also take a look at rankings put out by the U.S. News and World Report, who ranks the top online degree programs for easy assessment.
Accreditation is Important
Of course, whatever college or university you select should be accredited. Having an accredited degree is a very important factor for almost all employers when evaluating a potential hire.
Attitudes Are Changing
Online students have characteristics employers are seeking. The ability to juggle work, school and family shows employers a great deal about the character of potential hires. As online education becomes more prevalent, employers will continue to accept online degrees in the same way they accept traditional degrees.