As the demands and professional requirements for further schooling are becoming a reality in the economy, more Americans are finding it harder to balance their professional and personal lives with an education. Because of this growing trend, more and more students are choosing to enroll in online programs. Online degrees cover many of the same subjects that are found in school, such as business or nursing. However, many people seem hesitant with online degrees, questioning if they degrees are seen as equivalent.
Growing Influence of Online Programs
Nevertheless, many students are investing heavily in online education. According to the Sloan Consortium, 57% of respondents reported that they saw online programs they enrolled in as either being equivalent or superior to traditional class learning. In 2004, the Sloan Consortium found that the sentiment toward online programs had increased to 63%. A 2004 study found that a total of 2.3 million adults were enrolled in an online program. The following year, the same organization found that the number of people enrolled in an online program rose to 3.1 million. What explains such a rise in popularity? The answer is mostly found in how online degree programs provide students opportunities to conform their education to their schedule. If a person is a working or cannot attend a classroom setting for school, attaining the right degree can be an out of reach goal. With online education, however, a student can enroll in a class anywhere and learn about the material within a given set amount of time. With no traveling or sitting through a discussion or lecture, students can take and learn the material at their own pace. Online education’s rise in popularity is not shocking then; as more people need academic degrees, more people will enroll in online programs to help increase their professional insights.
What To Be Concerned With
Research has shown that many employers do not view online degrees as essentially lesser in quality than traditional classroom degrees. Although many people fear that the quality will be different and employers will see this difference, no evidence has been presented that shows an employer prefers a candidate with a degree from classroom experience compared to a degree online. What is most important for all employers is that the academic institution providing online degrees is an accredited institution. Accreditation means that a third party has recognized that a college program and the whole college lives up to the quality standards of a competitive and well invested academic institution. Programs or whole schools that are not accredited are typically not looked at as providing quality education. Non-accredited institutions may provide very rare courses or degree programs, but almost all online degrees should be found at accredited colleges.