Do Distance Learning Degrees impress Employers?

Posted on February 3, 2009 @ 2:13 am
by Mary Jack

With the technological expansion of the Internet, distance learning degrees have become increasingly popular. With great support facilities and the convenience of online degree programs, parents and workers can still have a family and a job while receiving an education. Unfortunately, the Internet has also provided an avenue for individuals making money by selling bogus degrees over the Internet. In a 2003 report by USA Today, 400 diploma mills are already in operation, with the shameful industry already worth $500 million per year, and the numbers are still rising.

However, despite all the unpleasant information going around about distance learning degrees, the fact is there are plenty of legitimate universities and colleges offering online degree programs. These colleges are legitimate and not involved in any way in offering dubious and fake diplomas. Instead, these colleges are going the extra mile to provide quality education online by taking advantage of all available instructional resources such as quality instructional design coupled with video lectures, online digital libraries and proctored exams to ensure their students get quality education and a valid, qualified diploma. Unfortunately, numerous employers have not yet been sold into this alternative way of acquiring education, thus they still regard such degrees as invalid or dubious.

To avert the confusion, 6 accrediting agencies were set up by the National Education Board of the U.S government with the role of providing accreditation to colleges and universities who meet a set educational standard. This ultimately differentiates the legitimate colleges from the fake ones. Students enrolling in these accredited colleges can rest assured they are receiving quality and qualified education. Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) is an additional accrediting body which solely exists for the purpose of providing accreditation to colleges that offer distance learning degrees. DETC is a legit body that falls under the umbrella of the US Department of Education and CHEA.

For the students looking for specific programs of specialization, various associations are available to assess the excellence of these distance learning degrees and grant the necessary accreditation to qualifying schools. For example, accounting programs are scrutinized and accredited by the International Association for Management Education, and health programs answer to the evaluations of the American Health Management Association. Only the agencies recognized by CHEA or the Department of Education have the authority to grant institutional accreditation.

So, to verify the educational quality of any institution, students, parents, and potential employers should be concerned about accreditation status. If any college or university has that coveted seal of approval, it means distance learning degrees have met the same basic standards of excellence with the support and facilities necessary to adequately offer online degree programs. Conversely, specialized accreditation concentrates on evaluating the course curriculum based upon the established standards of the university or college.

Accreditation assures employers, parents and students that a respective college awarding degrees has undergone and passed a stringent test of excellence in offering quality education in the respective areas of training. On the other hand, diploma mills and fake colleges don’t meet the same standards of education imposed by the agencies since they don’t possess any legitimate accreditation. Thus courses taken by prospective employees that are accredited by the respective agencies would have met standards imposed on the respective specialized areas.

Nevertheless, in the end, it all comes down to the discretion of the employer. He or she must decide whether potential employees have satisfactorily completed an online degree program. Hopefully, with accreditation through a well recognized agency, the confusion can be eliminated, and a valid resume will make it to the short list of excellent candidates with their distance learning degrees as an impressive symbol of fortitude and dedication to personal achievement.

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