What are your prospect for a career and salary with an online degree?

If you look at today’s job market, there’s an uncomfortable truth. There are not enough good jobs to go around. That has turned the job-seeking activity into a form of competition between all those without work or who want a transfer to the better paying jobs. Online DegreeIt’s a fact that only those with the right qualifications stand any chance of getting an interview. Even when you get in front of one of the human resources departments in your chosen workplace, there’s no guarantee you will be selected. Indeed, the fact you only have an online qualification may count against you in some cases.

What’s the problem?

The largest for-profit education organization in the country is the University of Phoenix. It was founded in 1976 and there are about 750,000 alumni. By any standards, that should be taken as a success story. Yet, until 2012, it did not have a careers guidance counselor. This was a remarkable omission. Here’s a university offering more than one-hundred degree programs, and it was making no effort to help its graduates find work. In 2012, a Senate report strongly criticized the university. Partly as a result, the university has been trying to make amends, but it’s now less profitable than it was before.

What’s the right answer?

Whenever you are trying to decide which conventional or career college to choose, always look for colleges that tell you:

  • what works best for you;
  • what employers are looking for right now in each of the main careers;
  • what skills and qualifications you are going to need either for entry or promotion;
  • how the college can help you get the job you want.

Can an online degree get you a good job?

Because the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high among younger members of our society, an increasing number hope the answer to this question is yes. Because the cost and inconvenience of attending a traditional bricks-and-mortar college is creating significant debts to carry into the workforce, more people than ever before are opting for online study.

Sadly, some of the newly created online for-profit career colleges have been little better than scams to syphon money out of the federal government. The quality of the courses has been poor and most employers have refused to accept their qualifications as having any value. Although the representative associations have been taking action to put these colleges out of business and generally encourage the remaining colleges to provide a proper standard of education, many of the people who matter, i.e. the HR professionals, are reluctant to give the same weight to online as opposed to traditional college qualifications. So no matter what the colleges themselves may say and you may hope for, the real people whose opinion matters remain skeptical about many online qualifications.

Is there good news?

As the for-profit sector cleans up its act and more qualifications are recognized as having value, opinion is shifting among the HR professionals. Remember, no matter famous the universities behind the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), the majority do not issue qualifications if you complete them. So before you start any online course, make sure the result of completing the course will be a qualification the HR professionals are likely to accept. Particularly in the healthcare sector, the online career colleges have been working with the employers and most now accept the online degree and diplomas as acceptable entry level qualifications at each career point.

This now firmly places the burden on you. You can have a good career and salary prospects if your current or future employer accepts the online qualification as credible. You need to talk with people with knowledge and experience of your chosen career to discover whether the HR professionals accept the online courses as intellectually challenging as those in a traditional bricks-and-mortar college and that they are assessed with sufficient rigor. If you get positive answers, the online courses you haver chosen will deliver a successful career. If you get negative answers about your chosen online career colleges, look for a college with a better reputation.

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