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Are online degrees respected?

Are Online Degrees Respected?

Perhaps you’re looking to attend a university for a niche program that’s too far from where you live. Maybe you want to save money by pursuing an online degree program. Now you wonder, “are online degrees respected?” The short answer is yes, but there are some things to consider when choosing the best online degree for you.

Your Field of Study

Some careers require hands-on training and experiences that are not easy to gain through an online degree. Before enrolling in an online program, check how it will help you get hands-on training. Some schools offer online training through facilities like cyber ranges or unique curricula like an online M.A. in Theatre.

For most, an online degree will prepare you with the knowledge and skills to join the workforce after graduation. For others—like those pursuing degrees in performing arts or natural sciences—online degrees are best used as supplementary material for in-person training gained through internships or volunteering.

Your Institution

At first glance, most employers won’t know whether you received your degree online. Other than what you studied, where you studied stands out to your employer. There are three significant points to consider about where to earn your degree.

1.      Accreditation

Are online degrees respected? Accreditation is a critical factor. Various official organizations offer accreditation to schools as a method of quality assurance.

An online degree from an institution with the proper accreditation shows employers that you have the expected knowledge in your area of study. Schools that are not accredited are seen as low-quality and offer fewer benefits than accredited schools.

While unaccredited universities tend to be less expensive, they are riskier. Accrediting organizations do not oversee or guarantee the quality of these schools. You could end up paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for a degree that won’t get you the job you want—federal student aid is not available for unaccredited universities.

2.      Reputation

Colleges build a reputation through awards and their notable alumni. Some colleges and universities hold more weight than others due to their reputation among employers—hiring managers trust schools with highly esteemed programs.

Is the school you’re interested in ranked by reputable sources like U.S. News & World Report or Niche? Notability is a good sign that employers will respect your degree.

3.      Non-Profit vs. For-Profit

You can use the profit status to distinguish between respectable or dubious online degrees.

Non-profit universities use the funds from tuition to invest in your educational development with newer facilities, tools and course instruction. For-profit universities act as a business, with profit being the main goal for stakeholders and investors.

Employers could have a bias against a degree from a for-profit university. Non-profit universities typically have a higher standard of education.

Skill Development

Whether you pursue a degree online or on campus, you’ll need to seek opportunities to use what you learn in real scenarios. That’s why internships are important.

Prove your skills by volunteering, interning, or finding work where you can use what you’re learning in class. 49% of employers are “much more likely to consider” hiring a candidate with internship experience.1

Some schools mandate internships as part of the coursework or strongly encourage pursuing opportunities outside the course. As such, they may offer job board platforms and services dedicated to helping students connect professionally

Are online degrees respected? 49% of employers are "much more likely to consider" hiring a candidate with internship experience.

Do Employers Respect Online Degrees?

Online degrees are respected, and choosing an online option for your program doesn’t necessarily make you less appealing to an employer. Before choosing your online degree, research the schools you’re interested in.

Do they have your program? Are they accredited? If so, by whom? Will this program help you develop the necessary skills for your desired career? Many schools disclose this information on their website and can explain more on a phone call with an advisor.

Regent University is accredited or licensed by, or a member of, several prestigious organizations, including the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Regent University’s campus in Virginia Beach is home to several nationally recognized professors who also teach online. You’ll get to experience courses taught by caring faculty that offer online mentorship and guidance.

Request information to learn which online degree program is right for you.

  1. Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2021). How college contributes to workforce success. Hanover Research.