The Truth About Online Degrees

There are educational purists among us who think that the only valuable higher education degree is one that you earn from a traditional “brick and mortar” college or University. That in and of itself is a bit of a slippery slope argument. Does that mean that every traditional college and university should be on equal standing? Is a degree from Harvard the same as a degree from a state university? Of course not. It all comes down to a question of accountability and accreditation. This is what earning an online degree is all about.

While it is true that you could find many online institutes of a questionable nature you would find an equal amount (if not more) of traditional colleges which are living up to high standards of excellence. Distance shouldn’t discourage you from getting the degree that you’re passionate about.

There are some misguided facts about earning an online degree that you should be aware of as you investigate the possibilities of continuing your higher education over the Internet.

Misguided Fact #1: “An online degree has no value.”

Try telling that to 70% of the students who have already taken online courses. This figure is based on a study conducted by the Center for Ethics in Free Enterprise, Global Academy Online’s nonprofit foundation. The truth is that many Ivy League colleges have gotten into the online learning game and are providing distance learning for their incoming students. Those same highly accredited institutions are also offering complete degree programs as a flexible option for those interested in obtaining a higher education degree. Don’t believe this? Search through any college website and you’ll see online courses being offered for students at all levels.

Misguided Fact #2: “The only legitimate degree comes with American accreditation.”

Imagine being able to earn a degree from a university in England or France without ever getting a passport. On some level, that’s entirely possible. Most foreign schools who offer online courses allow for complete articulation at accredited American universities.

An interesting fact about accreditation is that the US federal government and the Department of Education do not require a college or University or any school for that matter to be accredited. It is all done strictly on a voluntary basis. Most states require their colleges and universities to get accredited in order to obtain funding. Consider that the 200-year-old University of London is not officially credited. Would you turn down an online degree from that revered institution? Of course not!

Misguided Fact #3: “You’ll never get a good job with an online degree.”

If this were true, then why are so many employers encouraging their staff to enhance their credentials through online learning? In order to claim you’ve earned a degree from an institution, it has to be authenticated. That authentication can come in the form of a transcript from the school. If the school has been accredited, then that will reflect on the transcript. You might find that the same organizations that are accrediting traditional colleges are also accrediting online institutes. With the growing popularity of online learning, many employers are recognizing that potential new hires are benefiting from the exact same education as someone who attended a traditional college.

Misguided fact #4: “Online degrees are so easy to earn that they shouldn’t count.”

Try running that statement by anyone who’s actually earned a legitimate online degree. The same level of difficulty and challenges presented in the traditional classroom are also presented online. In fact, the very nature of online learning compels students to be more active participants in each of their classes. It is conceivable that you could go through the entire semester in a classroom without once ever raising your hand or commenting. That’s not the case with online learning where every student is required to post in the classroom forums. This makes online learning a much more enriching experience.

Misguided fact #5: “Online degrees are for younger people”

No matter your age, an online degree can be great!  It gets you back ‘into the classroom’ learning something new or, perhaps, there is a lifelong passion you have always had but had gotten sidetracked by life.  That’s why a record number of individuals have been flocking to get a degree in an area they love, and what better place to learn that in the comfort of your own home.