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Are Online Degrees Taken Seriously?

As fully online degrees and certificates have become increasingly popular over the last ten years, potential students who are considering making the leap to online learning might be asking 'do employers take online college degrees seriously?' The good news is that employers seem to not see much of a difference between traditional and online degrees. 

Will Employers Take My Online Degree Seriously? 

The perception of online learning by potential employers is becoming more and more positive. According to a study done by the Northeastern University Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy:  

  • A majority of HR leaders (64%) believe that in the future, the need for continuous lifelong learning will demand higher levels of education and more credentials.
  • 52% of HR leaders believe that in the future, most advanced degrees will be completed online.
  • 61% of HR leaders believe that credentials earned online are of generally equal quality to those completed in-person (up from lower percentages in years past).
detail of someone's resume during interview

Do Online Degrees Get Jobs? 

Numbers don’t lie, and there is a strong case that employers’ attitudes toward online credentials have improved steadily over time. A majority of employers now see online credentials as equivalent to or in some cases better than on-campus study.

  • Busteed & Rodkins’s (2016) analysis of Gallup national survey data found that life and career outcomes for postgraduate degree holders who took most of their courses online (compared to graduate students who studied only on-campus) were equivalent in terms of their rates of being employed and achieving professional/managerial job status.
  • Primarily online and on-campus students were also equivalent in their interest in their work and valuing their degree’s contribution to their professional success.

Is a Degree from the University of Arizona Respected?

The University of Arizona is one of the most respected research universities in the United States. And an Arizona Online degree is a University of Arizona degree. But we understand that as a potential student considering earning your degree or certificate online, you might be wondering; 'What will the education section look like on my resume? Can I put the University of Arizona or do I have to specify the University of Arizona Online as my alma mater? When I receive my hard-earned diploma, am I getting it from the University of Arizona, or from the University of Arizona Online?'

Rest assured that, as one of the well-respected, fully accredited online universities, Arizona Online students must meet the same admission criteria and take the same rigorous curriculum taught by the same faculty as the flagship’s main campus students. Employers do care about the relevancy of your degree and accreditation. 

While the courses are designed to accommodate the needs of working professionals, upon the successful completion of their program, they will receive a University of Arizona degree that is identical to the degree main campus students receive. Students can proudly state that they graduated from the University of Arizona.

Meet a University of Arizona Graduate

Jennifer Willis Enzweiler, an Eller Business Administration Online alumni, was the Director of Client Relations at a law firm (Durie Tangri LLP) in San Francisco when she learned that the firm was looking to hire a Controller. Jennifer was ready for a new challenge in her career and expressed her interest. 

When the firm offered her the role, Jennifer knew she needed the education to substantiate the promotion. As a single mom with a full-time job, Jennifer knew there was no way she could balance her schedule and attend in-person classes. After an extensive analysis of online full-time programs, she identified Eller as her top choice. 

Of her choice, Jennifer says, “I valued the fact that the classes I would take would be the same exact classes an in-person student would take and that the work would result in the same degree.”

Jennifer was promoted to Controller in September 2018 while finishing the last year of the program.  

“The courses I had completed up to that point more than prepared me for the role and continued to help me as I tackled the learning curve of my new position. Eller offered me an enormous amount of professional opportunities. Not only was I able to take on the Controller role, but my whole professional path has also been widened with opportunities as a result. I have accomplished so much that wouldn't have been possible otherwise,” says Jennifer.

Photo of Jennifer Enzweilers

Jennifer Willis Enzweiler. Courtesy of Jennifer Willis Enzweiler

So, Are Online Degrees Worth It? 

We say yes. There’s never been a better time to earn an online degree. Online degrees are equal (if not better) to traditional degrees. Choosing the online education route can often be completed faster than traditional on-campus degrees and can better fit the needs of a busy schedule. We suggest attending a regionally or nationally accredited institution, keeping the skills employers are looking for top of mind and looking for real-world opportunities that will enhance your degree.

So if you’re already in a professional field looking to upskill or make a career change, online degrees are a reputable and flexible choice.