Are Online Degrees Worth Anything?

If you've been considering an online course, it's natural that you will have a lot of questions. After all, it is not everybody who wants to enroll in an online degree. What's more, it's possible that your 'research' has introduced you to quite a few horror stories of online students failing to make a positive impression at a prospective employer's office.

Yes, that does happen. But did you know that real research has much to say in favor of online courses? Numerous studies have proved that there is "no significant difference" between traditional courses and distance education.

If that's the case, why do online degrees invite so much ridicule? Perhaps the single most valid reason why traditional colleges are still ruling the roost is that old habits die hard.

If you're still unsure about the merits of an online course, take a look at the facts below!

How Many Students Are Enrolling For Online Courses?
The number of students enrolling for online courses has been steadily growing in the last few years. According to the Sloan Consortium, online enrollments have been growing at a rate that far exceeds that of the total higher education student body. In fall 2007, more than 3.9 million students enrolled in at least one online course - a 12 percent increase over the previous year. About 20 percent of higher education students in the U.S. were enrolled in at least one online course. Would an increasing number of students opt for online degrees unless there were obvious benefits?

How Does An Online Degree Compare With A Traditional Degree?
According to Sloan Consortium's 2006 survey, an overwhelming 62 percent of Chief Academic Officers consider online instruction as being equal, and in many cases superior, to traditional classroom learning. This was also corroborated by a study from John Losak of the Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale.

Yet another study from Thomas Russell showed that there was "No Significant Difference" between a student enrolled in a distance education program and one attending a course in a face-to-face format.

How Do Employers Regard Online Learning?
A survey released by Vault.com, a career network web site, showed that 83% of employers believed that online degrees were more acceptable now than they were five years ago. While 59% did not consider an online bachelor's degree as credible as a traditional degree, they were still considered as being "acceptable."

77 % of 239 HR professionals believed that an online degree from an accredited institution like Duke or Stanford was much more credible than one earned from an Internet-only institution.

The numbers just go to show that if you can back up your choice of an online degree with proof of excellence, self-motivation and independent studying skills, employers will be willing to give you a fair chance.

What's The Future of Online Degrees?
With fluctuations in the economy, online degrees are expected to become more acceptable both among students and employers. Students are expected to turn to online degrees to upgrade their skills and stay marketable, while employers are likely to be on the look out for candidates who have made the effort to stay market-savvy! For further information please visit Applying for Jobs with an Online Degreefor tips about entering the workforce with a degree obtained from an online college.

Eduventures, a research firm in the education sector, predicts that very soon, one in 10 college students is going to be enrolled in an online university.

Can I Enroll For Any Discipline Online?
Almost all disciplines are offered online, yet some degrees tend to be more popular than others. Online research surveys show that 'popular' online degrees change almost every quarter. However, the main fields of interest are usually business, healthcare, education and engineering.

Industries that might be open to online degrees are Internet/New Media, Technology, and High Tech, while Telecommunications, Media and Marketing, and Consulting follow close behind.

Industries that require hands-on work with equipment and machinery may not be open to online degrees.

How Do I Choose Online College?
Before you choose an online college, do your research. Find out if the college has been accredited by a reputed accrediting agency. Many colleges are accredited by agencies that they have set up themselves, while others claim to have "licensure." Neither term means anything under the scrutiny of a potential employer.

Check out the accreditation of your potential college with the Better Business Bureau or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

You also need to check out the faculty of the colleges you are considering. Ask to see their graduation and placement rates and check out industry sources and publications to get a fair idea of what you're signing up for. Speaking to a few alumni can also provide you with valuable insight.

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