Are Online Degrees as Effective for Getting You a Job or Promotion as Those Gained on Campus?


Online degrees are on the rise, and aside from subjects where you need access to labs and practical resources, you can find an online option for just about any degree you want to do. Whether it’s a math degree or a masters in social work, you can find courses that would theoretically give you access to all kinds of career opportunities, and all without the hassle and expense of attending a college for the duration of your studies.

However, how do employers view online degrees compared with those gained on campus at a college? Will your online degree be as valuable an asset in your career?

Not All Online Degrees Are Equal

The negative perceptions about online degrees really come from the earlier days of the internet, when people were offering “degrees” online for far less work than is actually involved, allowing people to say they had qualifications that didn’t really mean a lot in weird subjects like homeopathy. These days, online degrees, when they are offered by proper, respected educational institutes like Rutgers, are essentially the same courses that on-campus students are taking, and with the same quality of tutors and exams. This means that as long as you choose a good online college, you can be assured that you will come out of your bachelors degree, MBA course or MSW online with the same level of knowledge and competence as if you’d studied on-site.

Employers Don’t Care Where You Got Your Degree, At Least Not as Much as You Might Think

There have been several US studies that looked at how private sector employers think about the qualifications of their candidates and where they got them. The most recent was a study by Gallup in 2014. These studies have all revealed that the vast majority of bosses don’t care about your choice of university – only what you know. Gallup’s study showed that only 9% cared at all which institution your degree was given by. This means that whether you went to a prestigious business school or studied online, an MBA is an MBA, and enough to get you an interview where you can prove you know your stuff. In understaffed fields like nursing and social work, your choice of college is even less likely to affect how employers view you.

Avoiding Student Debt

As well as being just as valid and valuable, online degrees have an additional benefit that may make a big difference to your future: they cost far less. With student debt forecasted to be the cause of the next big problem for the US economy, keeping the costs of your qualifications down may not only help you in the long term but can also make you look prudent to potential employers.

All things considered, getting an online degree or masters may well be the smartest choice if you are looking to boost your career prospects.