Distance learning degrees are not a new concept, and online degrees have been around since the early days of the internet.
Online learning has gained momentum in the last two decades. In fact, the COVID pandemic may have been the catalyst that drew colleges and universities to fully embrace online education programs for good.
A 2022 study by Stanford University found COVID forever altered the expectations of college students looking for flexibility in their higher education. Working towards a degree through a traditional, in-classroom setting can be impractical for many people who wish to earn a degree. Balancing work, home, and school may have been too great a challenge in the past for some prospective students. However, in recent years, we’ve seen numerous changes in the online learning and higher education landscape.
Ten to twenty years ago, earning a degree online was a new concept. Today, employers are much more open to view online degrees in the same way they look at traditional in-classroom degrees. Online degree programs have made great gains in employer respect, student perception, overall quality, and public acceptance.
For students looking to advance their career while completing coursework remotely, there has never been a better time to go to school and earn a degree.
Online vs Traditional Degrees
Traditional programs are in-classroom experiences where students gather in a central, physical location on campus to attend classes.
Online classes are usually where 100% of the work is done remotely through an online portal. You might have heard online programs being referred to as asynchronous learning.
There are also hybrid programs, which is when some classes are held in a physical classroom, but most coursework is completed online.
Online Degrees Have Grown in Popularity
According to the National Center for Education Studies, in 2020, 75 percent of undergraduate students attended at least one online class, and 44 percent of undergraduate students were attending class fully online.
The most popular type of online degree program is business administration. A 2020 study by Wiley Educational Services found that business degrees were the most popular type of online degree by far. Online business degrees were more popular than the next two leading categories of study by a rate of almost 2 to 1.
A 2022 study by the NCES showed that online postsecondary degrees jumped from 17.5% in 2019 to 45.5% in 2020. In just a year, its popularity jumped by almost 30%! This normalization of online education is great news for the many students out there who need the flexibility of a remote program to earn their degree and advance their career.
But Do Employers Respect Online Degrees?
In recent years, it seems that the majority of employers have a favorable view of online degrees. A 2010 survey by CareerBuilder showed that 83 percent of executives believe an online degree is every bit as credible as a degree earned through a traditional, on-campus program. A 2019 study by Northwestern University also found that 75 percent of employers valued online degrees as much or more than they did five years prior. We’re seeing that today’s employers are actively adapting and responding to the growing popularity and need for online education.
How Do Potential Employers Evaluate Online Degrees?
There are certain characteristics that employers look for when it comes to evaluating online degrees. These include school reputation, curriculum and faculty, and track record of graduates. Of course, at the top of the list is accreditation.
Colleges and universities in the US are accredited by accreditation agencies overseen by the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. There are two types of accreditations, regional and national.
For junior colleges, universities, not-for-profit colleges, and state-owned colleges, regional accreditation is usually preferred. Specific regions in the US are accredited by specific bodies. National accreditation is generally reserved for vocational and trade schools, art schools, and other institutions that offer certifications and selected degrees.
Employers are looking at whether your degree is accredited, what type of accreditation applies, and assessing the overall quality of your degree. The biggest concern for employers is if you received an education from a school whose curriculum has proper oversight. Accreditation is a reliable sign of degree quality.
If you’re planning to attend any kind of degree-granting institution, be sure to confirm their accreditation status so that your potential employers can check that off the list right off the bat. For example, Campus is regionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Faculty and Instructors
Who is teaching the curriculum at your educational institution? Are you receiving the best education possible? These are questions that potential employers are asking about your degree.
At Campus, formerly known as MTI College, the instructors of our Campus Scholars degree programs are professors who also teach at some of the top universities in the country, including Princeton, Berkeley, and UT Austin. Our online instructors for our certification programs are seasoned professionals in their respective industries. You can be assured that you’ll receive a high-quality, online education at Campus.
Schools that have an established educational structure and a long track record of successful graduates are more likely to be trusted than an unknown online college. That’s part of why schools with household names or Ivy League recognition are so competitive to get into. Interestingly enough, over the last decade, many highly selective universities have even launched their own online programs so that students can take advantage of the full spectrum of courses across their colleges!
School Graduates and Their Track Records
Have the other graduates from your school gone on to have long, successful careers? This is a question you should ask of any school you are thinking about attending. A great way to bring this up is to ask about your prospective college’s job placement rate. Employers may also look up this information. A high job placement rate indicates that graduates go on to get gainful employment and land positions at companies.
Launch Your New Career at Campus
Campus offers a variety of degrees and certifications to help students enter a career with a high-quality education. Our accredited programs are taught by instructors from some of the most respected colleges and universities in the US.
If you would like more information on our career-focused programs, or if you would like to talk to our Admissions team, feel free to reach out to us today!