Online education is a convenient and effective method to get new skills nowadays. Unlike traditional schools or colleges, online courses welcome students of all ages and backgrounds.
However, despite the numerous benefits of online learning, prospective students may still doubt whether this type of education is recognized, trustworthy, and worth their time and money.
You may have asked yourself questions about the online diploma you plan to receive. Some may relate to the prestige of this degree: Do employers take such diplomas and certificates seriously? Are they open to hiring graduates of coding bootcamps?
Currently, most employers recognize and value online degrees along with traditional ones.
And yet, some nuances take place. When planning to complete online courses and use their certificate for a job search in major companies, you need to choose an online school carefully.
Here go the things to consider:
Is your online college reliable?
It’s not easy to decide which online college is the best option for a student. But please don’t hurry up to register once you’ve found a course on Google and read a couple of positive reviews about it. As far as you understand, well-designed and persuasive ads don’t guarantee credibility and a decent learning program.
The main factors to check before applying:
It’s the key detail to help you distinguish trustworthy online colleges from diploma factories. Check if your chosen school has got accredited by the Federal Government or Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
The Government accredits colleges through the Ministry of Education. This department authorizes certain agencies to develop and apply standards for colleges across the country.
In addition to the Federal Government, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation is another organization responsible for higher education institutions. The Council monitors students and their educational needs and approves various colleges based on that information.
There may be colleges that are not certified by government agencies but approved by the Council. So if you come across a college accredited by the latter, know that it is trustworthy.
Reviews and rankings
Do your best to check a few third-party resources with college rankings and student reviews. Sure thing, no educational institution is ideal. But if an online course, college, or coding bootcamp has a low percentage of graduates or negative feedback on its curriculum or employment rate — it’s a red flag.
The retention rate is another indicator of college success. If you notice that many students have dropped out of college, then perhaps this should serve as a sign for you to look for alternatives.
Cost and program
It is not true that expensive online college programs are definitely better and more trustworthy than more affordable ones. With proper search, you can find many online universities that offer good programs for low tuition fees.
Remember to consider all the factors, not an online course price only.
Is your chosen online college trustworthy?
Visit a college website and examine all the information carefully. A trustworthy course or coding bootcamp won’t hide anything from prospective students. An educational institution is worth your trust if they share the following:
Enough information about the program requirements
Every online college will have its requirements for future students. They will provide a list of classes and credits you need to earn to get a degree. If you see there is no list of requirements on their website, don’t hesitate to write to the admissions committee.
And if they don’t provide you with a detailed answer to all your questions, it’s a signal to check alternative options.
A certain level of attendance
The mere fact your course is online does not mean that you can miss classes or ignore the schedule. Like the traditional way of learning, online learning requires you to be present, focused, and participate in a virtual classroom.
Online colleges know how to support students and provide them with all the services that help in education. If there are no ways to contact the school library, alumni committee, or faculty at the college you plan to attend, you may want to explore other alternatives.
No matter how fast you want to get an online degree, please be careful about online colleges promising to make you a specialist for a super short period of time. Just do research on the program you want to attend, see how long it takes to finish it and if it’s enough time for covering all those subjects — and draw conclusions.
Accreditation by the Department of Education
A bunch of agencies certify online colleges, but if the State Department of Education and the Higher Education Accreditation Council do not authorize these agencies, then they have virtually no value. Make sure that the specific department has licensed the agencies that you see on their website.
A few payment options
A reliable college will offer several payment options to its students, and they won’t ask you to pay the whole fee in advance. If you see a website of an online school that wants you to pay upfront, leave it as soon as possible. They don’t care about what they offer but what they can earn.
How Employers See Your Online Degree
No two employers are the same. Their views on online education may differ significantly, but, as a rule, they adjust into several categories:
They accept online degrees
Now that many reputable universities offer more and more online programs, the number of employers who recognize online degrees is much higher than in the past. Online educational institutions have become better at this form of training, and hiring managers trust them more.
Another reason why many employers accept online degrees is that they have obtained an online degree themselves. Who can better appreciate online degrees than graduates of corresponding institutions?
They are suspicious of online diplomas
Even though online degrees are no longer treated with distrust, there are still employers who do not dare to hire graduates of online diplomas. It all depends on the company because not everyone values online degrees equally.
Doubts about hiring online students may relate to the myth that online students are individuals who can’t work in a team.
They don’t immediately notice your online diploma
Not every employer will notice your online degree in a resume. It mostly happens in interviews where you talk in detail about your education, and it is not necessarily a red flag. You will understand how they perceive online degrees when meeting them.
They appreciate your skills, not certificates
Even if employers may not know why you decided to pursue online education, they will still appreciate your efforts. Especially if you decide to get new skills and start training when working full-time. Keeping a job while studying should encourage you to master the management skills that most job applications require.
The technological skills you can gain with online training will also work to your advantage. You can fulfill the job requirement as well as impress potential employers.
If you are interested in an online college but do not know if it is trustworthy, consider the above factors. One tip: do not make hasty decisions without first checking a course, its accreditation, ratings, and student feedback. An online college will show its trustworthiness by posting everything that may interest its future students.