Are Online Degrees as Respected as Traditional Degrees?

A pertinent question that is being discussed over years is that does the employers respect online degrees or not. Online learning was once an oddity and value of online degrees was uncertain. In recent years as more and more have started offering online programs the respect continues to grow. In a recent survey conducted by, 83 percent of executives say that “an online degree is as credible as one earned through a traditional campus-based program.”

With Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her 2020 budget allowing top 100 NIRF ranked educational institutions will be offering full fledged online degree programs this question of validity and respect of online degrees has once again come to forefront with so many new potential entrants into this segment raising a question mark on its Quality and credibility.

According to a recent study conducted by Online Learning Consortium,

  • More than one in four students (28%) now take at least one online course.
  • Public institutions command the largest portion of online students, with 72.7% of all undergraduate and 38.7% of all graduate-level distance students.
  • The total of 5.8 million fall 2014 distance education students is composed of 2.85 million taking all their courses at a distance and 2.97 million taking some, but not all, distance courses.

Even though the number of learners opting for online degrees and courses the common concerns raised by employers are:

  • lack of rigor,
  • lack of face-to-face interactions,
  • increased potential for academic dishonesty,
  • association with diploma mills,
  • concerns about online students’ true commitment evident from regularly venturing to a college or university physical location, considered by some to be an important part of the educational experience.

On the other side the employers also are looking to employ people with online degree and certifications as fluctuations in the economy, increased technological competence, fast-paced lifestyles, geographic dispersion, and the need for workers to possess new skill sets and credentialing is leading to scarcity and availability of good candidates. Thus, employers are looking for:

  • name recognition/reputation of the degree/certification-granting institution,
  • appropriate level and type of accreditation,
  • perception that online graduates were required to be more self-directed and disciplined,
  • candidates’ relevant work experiences,
  • and whether the online graduates were being considered for promotion within an organization or if they were vying for new positions elsewhere or in a new field.

Trends are changing and as more and more learners are going for online learning the acceptability is increasing and the respect of online learning and the perception of potential employers is positive.

Published by Ashish Sood

Ashish Sood is an experienced professional in the Higher education industry. He has worked with various international publishers namely Wiley and Springer Nature handling the sales and marketing verticals with P&L responsibility. He has also worked with EdTech companies like Coursera and Simplilearn developing the education vertical. He also possesses skills like team building, team management and digital marketing. As a certified Six Sigma yellow belt he also understands the importance of process management.

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