There is some debate as to whether an online college degree is as valuable as a traditional classroom degree. With rising costs at secondary institutions and increased demand for classes, even traditional universities like Georgetown, Colorado State and Arizona State are getting into the online class arena.
We asked current students and graduates through a national survey what their thoughts about online degrees were. Here’s what we learned.
How long did it take?
Most of our respondents were satisfied with the amount of time it took to earn their degree. One complained that it took longer, but one was able to earn their degree by the time she was 21. Caitlin Muir told us, “For my senior year, I went online. I transferred all my credits to Thomas Edison State College, which is one of the nation’s leading online schools. The crazy style of school worked for me. I was able to work during that time, travel extensively, and stay rooted in the community around me.”
What kinds of programs are available?
Survey respondents reported a wide range of online college degrees they earned. The degrees ranged in variety from Bachelor’s to Master’s degrees in such disciplines as business administration, criminal justice and communications psychology.
Who takes courses online?
It was very interesting to see the types of students taking classes or graduating online. Our eyes were opened at the variety. Of course, online colleges appeal to mothers because of class flexibility. Shawna Bell said, “being a mom of five and working at the time—online education was truly the best continued education option for me.” She earned two degrees from the University of Phoenix; a BA in Health Care Business Management and an MA in Business Management.
Other non-traditional students utilize online classes as well. Mercedes Acuna, a military wife, earned her Criminal Justice degree from Excelsior Collegewhile in Korea with her husband. Working professionals are drawn to online colleges as well. Alisa Weinstein wrote, “I have been able to continue my normal work schedule including my personal responsibilities. Being able to earn a degree without fighting traffic, classroom schedules, parking and time has been a breath of fresh air.”
Alexis Moore told us about a very interesting challenge the University of Phoenix was able to provide a solution to. “Best part of school for me was that I am a stalking victim and being in the same place at the same time everyday is dangerous so going to school online offered me safety and security and a chance at a higher education without the dangerous risk.”
Has your online degree led to a job or promotion?
This is probably one of the biggest reasons people choose to go to college; to better prepare for a solid career or to improve their chances of a promotion. All of the respondents reported success in their job search or career improvement. Ms. Weinstein reported, “my current employer has promoted me and a local magazine has asked me to be a monthly contributor.” Mrs. Acuna said, “I was offered two management positions because of my degree and skill set.”
Itamar Kestenbaum explained she was able to get a better position at her company even though she hasn’t graduated yet, “Although I haven’t achieved my degree yet, I am now about to complete my 66th credit and am attending full-time at 15 credits per semester.
The experience at CUNY has netted me a better job recently – as I moved from Marketing Account Executive to Online Marketing Manager in the past month alone!”
College has even helped people bounce back from lay offs. Ms. Bell said, “When laid off last year from a major university—within a month I was hired with a private company—I believe having the education and experience landed me this position quickly.”
So, is an online degree worth it? Based on our survey results, it certainly is! Why not look for an online college degree today?