Trend to Watch: The Power of the Online Degree

In the early years of eLearning, many questioned not only the academic rigor and quality of an online degree, but also its place in corporate America.  Would online graduates enter the job market with the same skill set as someone who earned his/her degree in a traditional bricks and mortar setting?  And could online graduates successfully compete for that sought after job with their on-ground counterparts?

While it is still not without its critics, eLearning has made monumental progress when it comes to the perception of online degrees, many of which meet the same accreditation standards as traditional programs.

The Society for Human Resource Management recently published a study called “Hiring Practices and Attitudes:  Traditional vs. Online Degree Credentials.”  The study showed that 87% of organizations surveyed feel that online degrees are viewed more favorable today than five years ago. The report also concluded:

  • More than one-half of organizations (55%) surveyed indicated that if two job applicants with the same job experience were applying for a job, it would not make a difference whether the job candidate’s degree was obtained through an online or traditional degree program.
  • More than one-third of organizations (34%) reported that job candidates who have obtained their degrees online were viewed as favorably as job applicants with traditional degrees.
  • 79% of organizations indicated that they had hired a job applicant with an online degree in the last 12 months.

While most organizations surveyed still prefer a traditional degree when it comes to executive level positions, the fact is that more and more students are pursuing online education as a viable means of achieving their educational goals.  As time goes on, a growing percentage of our workforce will have graduated from online programs. These graduates will work their way up the chain of command into senior leadership positions, and their online degrees will serve as the foundation for their career success.

Steve Winchester

Steve is the CMO at Helix Education. He has been an advertising account executive for more than 20 years. Steve received his BS from the University of Utah.