Special Reports

Do Employers Value Online Degrees?


Image by Maura Nicolaita from Pixabay

Photo : Maura Nicolaita from Pixabay

Students that opt for bachelor's degrees often have a busy lifestyle that makes it difficult to attend physical classes. Several other obligations like personal issues, family demands, job timings, and health cause students to opt for graduate programs online.

These programs may be complete online degrees or maybe hybrid programs that enable students to study some classes online and attend a few classes from home. This facility allows them to not just complete bachelor's degrees online but also enables them to opt for advanced degrees like a master's so that they can land better jobs and earn better salaries.

Even with all the benefits an online program brings, some students may still be hesitant to enroll due to worry about how the degree is going to be viewed by business employers. Today, we shall discuss whether an online degree is respected and whether it can help an individual hold the same value as a regular degree holder in a professional environment. 

What Is an Online Degree?

Online degrees are academic degrees that are completed in an online setting. These are often college degrees, but some may even be high school diplomas or certificates. Students can easily study while they work right from the comfort of their homes with a laptop and a solid Internet connection.

Students that reside far away from a suitable campus, and those that have time restrictions or other commitments should opt for an online program. These are especially great for caretakers, business employees, and individuals with health restrictions.

While some online degrees can be 100% online programs, some others are hybrid that do require students to visit a campus every so often. This enables physical interaction with teachers which can be quite valuable.

Why Have Online Degrees Become Popular?

Virtual degrees and online programs have gained immense popularity over the last few years. This has allowed more and more courses to become available online to offer variety to students. The 2016 report by The National Center for Education Statistics indicates that around six million or 28% of college and university students were already enrolled in an online graduate program that year. Out of these, nearly 2.8 million were full-time online students in undergraduate programs and 2.1 million enrolled in a bachelor's degree program.

These figures not only show the incredible amount of students studying for an online degree, but also emphasize the importance of such programs and how they cannot easily be ignored. Employers and businesses have also noticed this trend, and have started adjusting their hiring practices accordingly. They now account for all degree holders whether the student has an online or traditional degree.

General Comparison: Traditional Vs. Online Degrees

Online degrees have become so common that people are forced to think about them. The stigma behind studying from home using your laptop is fading quickly. Research has shown that students enrolled in an online program are performing better than those enrolled in traditional degree programs.

This also proves that online teaching is quite effective for all types of subjects and learners. Students limited by location, personal issues, and other problems can easily obtain a degree without having to be present on campus at all class times.

Employer's Perspective: Traditional Vs. Online Degrees

  • 61% of HR team members believe that online degrees are just as credible as traditional ones.

  • 71% of businesses have affirmed that they have hired an online degree holder in the past year. 

  • 33% of people think that online programs will eventually override traditional degrees and teaching methods owing to the rapid advancements in technology.

  • 52% of people think that the near future will see most advanced degree programs being offered online.

  • Even though all online degrees are not designed in the same fashion, having one makes you just as credible as any employer.

How Do Employers Evaluate an Online Degree?

Approximately 83% of business employers believe that any online degree is equivalent to one traditionally obtained from a popular institution. However, if the online degree has been obtained from an educational institution that is not reputed or well-known, chances are that an employer may look at it with less value. 58% of employers think that an educational institution's brand and reputation have a lot to do with the value of a degree regardless of how it is earned (either traditionally or online).

Some employers are biased towards hybrid online programs that require students to attend some classes on campus. SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) has deduced that 92% of employers think that online degrees offered by physical campuses are more credible than ones offered by an online-only institute. Employers that find the latter credible stand at 42%.

Marketing an Online Degree to Employers

  • List the skills you obtained while completing an online program in your resume.

  • Always share employer-accepted trade qualifications/accreditations.

  • Share prior experiences and projects you have participated in.

  • Mention workshops you have attended and mentoring partnerships you have made.


Enrolling in an online program from a reputed institution is a great idea as employers surely deem the qualification credible. Better yet, you can opt for a hybrid program so you can mostly study from the comfort of your home and at your own time and pace.

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