The Right Online Major

If you are interested in earning an online degree, you should be aware that some online majors are viewed more favorably than others. In addition, some industries are more likely to accept employees with online degrees than others. Pursuing an online degree is a strategic choice for starting your career; however, be aware of which fields will embrace your degree and which will not.

Employers are more willing to accept online degrees for majors that tend to be knowledge-based and technologically oriented.  Companies that work in the fields of information technology, internet, marketing, or mass media are also more likely to accept online degree.
 
Perhaps the best insight into employers’ perception of online degrees comes from a survey conducted in 2000 by vault.com, an employment research company.

The survey interviewed 239 human resources professionals and hiring managers on their opinions regarding candidates with online degrees.

The following are the results from the survey:

30% have encountered applicants with online degrees.

77% believe that an online degree earned at an accredited institution is more credible than one earned at an internet only institution.

26% of those surveyed believe that an online bachelor's degree is as credible as an offline degree, while 61% say that the online degree is not as credible, but was acceptable. Only 13% said that online degrees were not credible and were unacceptable.

Likewise, 37% of those surveyed believe that an online graduate school degree is as credible as an offline degree, while 54% said that it was not as credible, but was acceptable. Only 9% said that an online graduate school degree was not credible and unacceptable.

When asked what were the potential drawbacks of online degrees, respondents answered as follows (respondents were able to choose more than one answer):

61% said students don't socially interact with peers
53% said that online degrees are new to gauge effectiveness
39% said that there is a loss of real time pedagogical exchange
37% said that there is a potential for lower admission standards
33% said that the curriculum is diluted
30% said that students are not taught to think critically
6% had other concerns
6% said they saw no disadvantages with online degrees

When asked which industries are most likely to embrace online degrees, respondents answered:

70% said Internet/New Media
46% said Technology
44% said High Tech
29% said Media and Marketing
29% said Telecommunications
22% said Consulting

When asked which industries are least likely to embrace online degrees, respondents answered:

68% said Medicine
56% said Law
52% said Health Care/Bio Tech
44% said Academia
22% said Government
18% said Finance

In summary, certain employers, such as technology companies, are less likely to look down on online degrees because their employees gravitate to this type of learning. But some offline industries, such as law and higher education, are more reluctant to embrace online degrees.

Complete results of the survey can be viewed here.