Will an Online Degree help advance your career?
Earning an online degree seems to be a cheap and convenient for professionals to expand skill sets. But hiring managers have virtual education seriously?
The stigma attached to taking classes through the Internet can be a pressing concern for those who are investing serious time and money to advance their careers.
These fears may be fueled by federal recently published data suggesting that graduates of non-profit schools are not finding much success in the labor market. These schools, which are known for their online education programs in racing, had lower rates of repayment of student loans, according to data released last month.
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The Department of Education plans to enforce new regulations in July 2012 that restricts federal support for education programs of the race less than two years, with too few who can not pay student loans or transport unmanageable debt burdens.
Meanwhile, here are some points to remember about online degrees.
• The Elephant in the virtual room
Before you even start looking into online programs, there is the issue of stigma associated with them. As unfair as it may sound, fear not entirely unfounded.
Only half of respondents to a Society for Human Resource Management survey this summer, said online degrees are as credible as traditional degrees. HR professionals also said that online credentials were less acceptable to senior positions, only 15% said online degrees are acceptable for an executive position.
That said, keep in mind that this is a very subjective area, and that their education is only one factor that employers look. The field of work you are entering and the culture of a company also affect how they view online degrees, says Lynn Berger, a career counselor in New York.
“It may be that in his interview got their degree online as well,” said Berger.
The case may not be as big a problem if your online degree is a traditional university. The same is true if you earned your degree from a school that is not widely known as a provider of online education. That does not mean you have to hide who earned his degree online, but you have to do the key description of their education.
• The cost is anything but virtual
A common assumption is that online education will cost. That assumption is incorrect.
At the University of Phoenix, a school for profit best known, each provision of a master’s in business administration is $ 685. So to win the 36 credits required for the degree would cost a total of $ 24,660, not including application fees and others.
But keep in mind that for-profit schools do not have a monopoly on Internet courses. Most community colleges and public four-year schools now offer at least some online courses, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
“Many for-profit schools try to create the impression that they are the only schools offering courses online or at convenient times,” said Pauline Abernathy of The Project on Student Debt.
And the average tuition and fees at community colleges last year was $ 2,500. Traditional universities often charge the same amount if students attend classes online or in person.
With repayment rates of loans in the for-profit schools a hot topic right now, it should be noted that most community college students have no student loans after graduation. Of those that do, the average debt is $ 10,000. In comparison, almost all graduates of for-profit schools have student loans and the average debt is $ 17,000, according to the Project on Student Debt.
• Choose a program for profit
Some points to consider if you’re considering a school for profit. To begin, ensure that the school is accredited in www.ope.ed.gov / accreditation. You can also consult the website of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation www.chea.org.
Even if a school is accredited, beware of sales tactics or unwillingness to disclose information on prices. Recent evidence covered up by the Government Accountability Office found some for-profit schools use deceptive tactics and recruiting applicants to falsify financial aid forms.
For-profit schools tend to do a lot of handholding through the application process to make it easier for students to enroll. Do not let that stop you from shopping around for other options, instead of enrolling in school first thing you see advertised on television.
To measure how well graduates of a particular school for profit are doing, see the Education Department’s list of the reimbursement rates for students. Click on the link “Accumulated depreciation rate of four years by the institution.” Please note that rates may be different for a particular program within the school.
Finally, talk with mentors and professionals who know the field to obtain their views on their plans to pursue a degree online. They may have some recommendations for a very respected or that others have had a good experience.
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