So, you want to boost your resume and increase your job opportunities with a higher degree. But committing to residential learning seems too daunting with your full-time job. You are thinking about going online, but the rumors say online degrees aren’t credible. We understand.
At Grace College, we offer eleven online degrees ranging from an associate’s in liberal arts to multiple accredited online master’s degrees. Getting a degree online demands self-discipline and good time management, which are some essential qualities that employers look for. But the questions remain, is the quality of an online degree equivalent to a traditional degree and are online degrees respected?
To put your mind at ease, we have done the hard work for you. Read on for a collection of employers’ opinions, research-informed advice, and examples of people who have found success after getting accredited online degrees.
What Employers Think About Online Degrees
Grace College neighbors a number of great companies that employ many Grace students. We spoke with a few hiring managers at these organizations to hear their opinions about hiring people with accredited online degrees.
Lanie Hodgson, the talent acquisition manager of the Bowen Center, shares her professional impressions concerning online degrees:
We do have employees with online degrees, and we do not care if employees have online degrees. Sometimes it helps with practice management skills (which is huge in the mental health documentation industry). When hiring, we look for adaptability, communication, compassion, composure, dependability, and emotional intelligence. Online degrees are as credible as in-person degrees, and there are certain strengths (drive, independence, motivation, self-sufficiency, timeliness, organization etc.) that we see in people due to their accredited online degrees and the different type of work that it takes to be successful.
We do have plenty of Grace alumni. They have been amazing for Bowen Center and make us succeed in the way we do today. We have an MOU in place with Grace College that gives students 25% off tuition for online Clinical Mental Health Counseling MBA, MS in Nonprofit Management, and MS in Higher education degrees. We employ the students who go through these programs while they are completing them, so it goes to show we find so much value in these online programs.
Similarly, Marc Goodwin, the lead pastor at Christ’s Covenant Church (CCC) in Warsaw, Indiana, gave us his opinions.
I don’t have any overt hesitations about online degrees. I think I’d just be curious as to why they pursued an online degree as opposed to in-person. There could actually be really encouraging reasons they did! Although we do not have any employees with online degrees presently, one is pursuing a degree, most of which is completed online. When we hire we look for employees with strong character, deep biblical conviction, love for the local church, demonstrated experience, and practical skill. We do not care if someone’s degree is online. There are accredited online biblical college degrees, and accredited online degrees are just as credible as in-person degrees in large part. I tend to put more stock in the school and faculty as opposed to whether it was online or in-person. An online degree from a great school is much better than an in-person degree from a lesser school.
What Research Says
It’s not just our local employers who say that online degrees are credible, let’s take a look at the research! According to this article by Jordan Friedman of usnews.com, employers care much more about the accreditation of the degree than the nature of it. Many employers don’t even realize a degree was acquired online until the interview, if ever. If the school is well-respected and accredited, then you are good to go.
Debunking Online Degree Myths is a book by Sage Publishing that explores a number of online degree rumors and gives answers to them. It states, “the line between traditional and online education has blurred substantially… Large online schools such as University of Phoenix and Kaplan University offer courses at a number of brick-and-mortar locations, while traditional schools such as Harvard University and the University of California at Los Angeles are starting to carry online course offerings.”
The conclusion? It’s not the delivery method that carries weight, it’s the degree itself that employers are worried about.
Oh, and just so you know…
The research and local employer opinions check out. In 2002, Steven Spielberg graduated from California State Long Beach with an accredited online degree in Film Studies, according to the LA Times. Likewise, Arnold Schwarzenegger graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior’s extended program with an online degree in International Marketing of Fitness and Business Administration.
Even some of the most respected professionals have received online education. What you may not realize is that online degrees require the same number of credits as residential degrees. For many online degrees, hands-on experience is not only required but amplified for full-time employees going back to school. This enables them to apply what they are learning to their current role.
So, are online degrees credible? You bet! An online degree doesn’t mean it’s illegitimate, it simply means that it’s mobile. Now, that same excellent degree can be obtained wherever you are.