Increasingly students wanting business degrees choose online business schools over traditional brick-and-mortar colleges. The advantages for students are obvious, but employers may view applicants with online degrees differently than those with traditional education. Why do students elect to study online, and how can they level the playing field when they take their degrees to the real world?Fewer than 25% of college students today fit the description of a traditional student. Today’s students are older, some work part-time as they study and some work full-time. They often take longer than 6 years to finish a degree, but some complete the program in less than 4 years.
For today’s student, online learning makes sense for several reasons.
• Online colleges usually cost less. There are no room-and-board fees to pay, textbooks can often be downloaded, students don’t have to commute to class and they don’t have to buy expensive classroom supplies.
• Online education is flexible. You can study at a time that makes sense for you. Although there is usually a deadline for taking tests and exams, you can wait until you feel confident with the material to tackle them. Online students can work while they pursue their educations as well.
• Online schools offer a variety of degree, certificate and diploma programs. This allows students to tailor their education to their needs. They can study to begin a new career or simply to get ahead in their current jobs.
• Online students can keep up with their studies even when they choose to stay home with new babies or act as caregivers to elderly family members.
With all the advantages to students, employers are seeing more online-educated applicants for jobs. Empowered News says in 2006 a whopping 96% of employers said they would hire an applicant from a traditional school over someone with an online degree. The 2013 survey found that 75% said they saw no difference between the two. The prejudice stemmed from the boom of “diploma mills” that sprang up in the 1970’s offering worthless degrees for a few thousand dollars. Technology has made a difference in perception. Today’s online schools are becoming recognized as quality educators. According to the Open Education Data Base, some of the best business degrees come from online schools.
Online business courses are designed to give students skills in business language, which is changing daily, and in working with business technology. Curriculum includes communication too, like public speaking, and offers classes in marketing. The degrees, or certificates earned vary according to the student’s needs. Vista Online College, for example, offers a diploma in business administration which would give students greater value as employees and move them in position to get promotions and higher wages. Students can also pursue an associate degree in business administration, or earn a bachelor’s degree in business management. In the newest employment figures, the largest sector of job growth was for those positions that required a degree. The programs also equip students to start their own businesses.
Job applicants with online degrees are on the same level as traditional students in one way. They must highlight their skills and market themselves to prospective employers. An applicant with an impressive resume and portfolio will say a lot about you. Still, it is as important to choose the right online school as it is to select the right traditional college. Accreditation is a big factor.
According to business pundits, online education is the future of education. They offer value with lower costs and recognized quality of curriculum.