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Are online degrees taken seriously?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

If you get a degree mostly or completely online, do potential employers and/or graduate schools take you seriously?

 

I want to study Psychology/Sociology/Social work...something like that. I know I want to work somewhere doing something to help people...probably a non-profit organization? There is a small possibility that in the future I *may* want to go to law school, in which case I'm worried an online degree would not cut it in order to get me in. More likely, though, I will go to graduate school and study Social Work or Community Organizing or even Special Education. These are all things I've contemplated.

 

Will an online degree get me into grad school and/or a career in these fields making a livable salary? Schools I am considering: Ashford University, University of Maryland University College, American Military University...still researching this.


Edited by ihugtrees - 9/27/11 at 5:23pm
post #2 of 15

very curious as I just came here to post the same thing :) I'm in Canada and was looking into Athabasca University (apparently Canada's leading distance learning) waiting eagerly for replies! I'm actually interested in doing Psychology as well :) A long held dream of mine.

post #3 of 15

I'm still a senior in college right now, so I don't have any personal experience. I was worried about this same thing (because I've had to do my whole degree online), so I did a ton of research before I started.

 

Unless you are going to an obvious online school (like Univ. of Phoenix, American Military Univ., etc.), no one will know you did school online unless you tell them. Your degree should not say "online" anywhere on it; it will look just like a degree from a brick & mortar school.

 

You also shouldn't have any trouble getting into grad/law school with an online degree as long as you graduated from an accredited school. This is very important because many schools will not accept transfer work from an unaccredited school.

 

I would stay away from all the schools like Phoenix, AMU, etc., if I were you. I have known a bunch of people who have had trouble getting jobs with those degrees. Many employees look down on those schools. Look into actual, known, brick & mortar schools that have an online program. Many public universities and colleges are now offering partial, as well as complete, online programs.

 

Good luck!

post #4 of 15

not the OP, but thanks for the info!

post #5 of 15

Varies. Real universities that offer some online classes or onlines classes with some IRL attendance are more or less equal to regular degrees. The degree is the same.

 

Degrees of any type from for-profit unviersites are valueless.

 

Degrees from "in between" would vary, probably depends on the subject.

post #6 of 15
It really depends on the school. You can get a degree online from many junior colleges or public universities without ever stepping foot on campus. I personally take classes online at a local JC because I am disabled, and it is a lot easier than trying to get parking and get across campus.

I used to do background screening though, and online degrees were only looked down upon if they were from a diploma mill. Otherwise, employers didn't seem to care much. For financial reasons, I would highly recommend a public junior college or university. To be honest, most for-profit schools will not save much time. I wouldn't choose a for-profit school unless the degree wasn't available elsewhere. For example, the local JC's have dropped radiology and ultrasound tech degrees due to budget cuts. The for-profit schools have filled the gap and are the only option in Nor. California.
post #7 of 15

No. Please don't spend your money on that, especially if you do not intend to go into a particularly lucrative field. They are not taken very seriously. We have community colleges around here(I'm in Seattle, too) that have fairly good transfer rates- think about one of those, if a brick and mortar 4 year is not currently an option.

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

Varies. Real universities that offer some online classes or onlines classes with some IRL attendance are more or less equal to regular degrees. The degree is the same.

 

Degrees of any type from for-profit unviersites are valueless.

 

Degrees from "in between" would vary, probably depends on the subject.

this.  don't do for profit. 

it does depend on what field you're in.  i have a library degree from an online program (from an actual university that does distance in addition to f2f), and most library schools offer distance ed (except the really smart fancy people) and that's completely respectable; i know in education it's fine as well.  Not so sure about psych, but you're probably fine with a real university and not a for profit.  i found also that it was kind of a benefit as far as experience goes, if you're looking at higher ed-- if you have experience with online teaching and learning, you can use that to your advantage, as most of the schools i have seen are anxious to get folks who can teach online or hybrid classes.
 

 


Edited by hildare - 10/8/11 at 8:46am
post #9 of 15
I just finished my online ma and I got hired right out of school for a position...love my job. You need to be very careful when choosing a program as some are not fully accredited.
post #10 of 15

Also, a field like social work requires lots of hands-on internships and practicums.     That's what employers are going to look at when you finish, not just your grades.   A bunch of bookwork isn't going to make you stand out from the crowd compared to coursework that gives you hands-on experiences and real-life credentials.  

 

Friend of mine just finished her masters in social work at a very prestigious state university program.  The only reason she had a job at graduation was her fieldwork, and even that job isn't fulltime at a salary she can live at, so she's still job-hunting aggressively.   Your distance learning program will still leave you competing with people like her for jobs.

post #11 of 15
Check the accreditation & be aware there are "fake" accrediting agencies. Learn what agencies are considered to be valid. If you're looking for a BA, you could check to see if the credits will transfer to your state university or see what accreditation agencies they accept. You might be surprised to find out many online schools offer credits that no accredited school can accept. Also, to acquire some state counseling licenses, coursework has to be from an accredited school.
In my line if work I've seen students 30,000 in debt with 3 years worth of useless credits. greensad.gif
Do your homework, and, you should be fine. Good luck!
post #12 of 15

When my DH was doing hiring where he used to work they did not look favorably upon online degrees. But there is a difference between taking online classes from a regular college and an online college. If it's a regular college that just also offers some online courses then I don't think there is anyway for someone to tell a difference. But actual online colleges aren't thought of well. At least based on DH's experience and what I've been told by other hiring managers. 

post #13 of 15

I agree with cameragirl.  my dh just finished a degree online from st. leo university, an established university with a campus in florida.  they just happened to have the degree he wanted available completely online.  i would look for a university that is established and offers what you are looking for, but avoid some of the exclusively online universities.  at this point, his degree has opened doors to jobs with homeland security and the fbi.  so overall, it was a great move for him.

 

good luck!

post #14 of 15
I have been looking and have found way better prices at the local universities though I can't find a good priced teacher program I found on campus ones, a prestigeous college program near by is way cheaper than university of phoenix.
post #15 of 15

If you're taking online courses or trying to finish your degree online from a reputable, brick and mortar university, you should have no issues whatsoever.  I would say 99.9% (if not 100%) of employers would have no idea.  However, I would steer clear of online-only universities.  I think accreditation holds some importance, not just for any future schooling, but for the value of the degree.

 

Look for universities in your state that offer distance learning programs.  There are some major universities offering online programs, both for undergraduate and graduate programs.  You can look at out-of-state universities, too, but they are often more expensive. 

 

ETA - I did a cursory search and WSU has an online program for Social Sciences with specializations in Psychology and/or Sociology.  I know nothing about the program or the university, but their tuition is $100/credit more than Ashland University.  For me, the trade off would be worth it.  There very well may be other options in your state, too.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

Varies. Real universities that offer some online classes or onlines classes with some IRL attendance are more or less equal to regular degrees. The degree is the same.

 

Degrees of any type from for-profit unviersites are valueless.


 

Generally, the above is what I stick to for myself.  I wouldn't spend money on an online-only university education.

 

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