More and more opportunities are being made available through the internet. Education is one of these. Getting an online education is becoming an option for more people who aren’t able to attend a traditional college or university for one reason or another.
Students can get an online degree by enrolling in an accredited online college or university – accredited is the operative word.
Beware of “degree mills” that give out degrees, diplomas, and other certifications that are not recognized by any official accreditation board. Degrees that come from these places are either fraudulent or worthless and usually both. Trying to get a job with one of these bogus degrees often puts you in a worse position that if you didn’t have a degree at all.
Students who are interested in attaining an online degree must do their due diligence to make sure the online college is accredited and respected. Otherwise, the time and money spend obtaining the degree have been wasted.
Online Versus Traditional Education
Online degrees are becoming increasingly important as people begin broadening the definitions of words like “student” and “education”. A student is no longer a person who attends a traditional brick-and-mortar school. Just like an education can now be obtained from the comfort of one’s own home, rather then behind four walls of a college or university.
According to The Distance Education and Training Council there are about 4 million students who are enrolled in some type of distance education program at colleges and universities in the United States. Some studies even show that students enrolled in online courses do just as well as, if not better than, traditional students.
Traditional Schools with Online Options
Many traditional four-year colleges and universities are beginning to offer an online degree option. For example, The University of Illinois Online, Penn State Online, and University Of Massachusetts Online all come from traditional four-year schools.
Choosing to pursue an online degree from a traditional university is a viable option. Since many of these universities are already well-established and respected, it eases some of the fears that come with obtaining an online degree. Like, how will potential employers view this degree?
Choosing an Online College
When you’re making a decision about an online university, don’t just ask if the university is accredited, but by whom the university is accredited. A lot of online universities create their own accreditation agencies and therefore end up approving their own degrees.
The United States Department of Education maintains a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies. If the university’s accreditation did not come from an agency on this nationally recognized list, it is not in your best interest to enroll in the online program. Once you find out the accrediting agency for the college you’re interested in, do a reference check with the US Department of Education to make sure the agency is nationally recognized.
There are several online colleges with established reputations. The University of Phoenix is one of the most well-known and well-established online schools. Capella University, ITT Technical Institute, and American InterContinental University Online are also accredited by nationally-recognized agencies and respected in their industries.