In the past few years, not only has online education lost its stigma, but online programs have nearly surpassed traditional schooling in popularity. More than three-quarters of universities offer entire degree programs over the Internet, meaning students can attend classes and earn credentials from anywhere in the world. In response to the new availability and credibility of online education, employers began accepting new hires with digital degrees ― but now they are clamoring for them.
Whether you remain hesitant about the legitimacy of online programs or you aren’t certain attending online school will help you get ahead in your career, here are six reasons employers are starting to love online degrees.
1. They Are Educated and Trained
Initially, online degrees had a less-than-stellar reputation. When the Internet was young, unsavory organizations allowed individuals to pay for certificates, diplomas, and even full degrees without ever attending classes or taking tests. Thus, when legitimate online schools first began offering degree programs, many employers were dubious that job applicants boasting such online credentials had the knowledge and skills they claimed.
However, these days are long past. Now almost every traditional university offers online courses and programs that students can take from anywhere in the world. An online MBA program is just as effective as in-person programs at teaching future business leaders the information they need to help a business succeed. Therefore, at the very least, online degrees listed on resumes highlight an applicant’s extensive education.
2. They Have Work Experience
Online courses boast many benefits over traditional schooling, but perhaps the most notable is their flexible structure. Students can attend classes whenever they have time, which means they can schedule their educations around existing work schedules. At least one-quarter of working students have full-time jobs; online school allows them to boost their credentials while maintaining an uninterrupted work history. Continuing to work gives them real-world, on-the-job experience that isn’t always so easy to teach, so online students are typically well-prepared to work hard and contribute upon graduating.
It should be noted that this isn’t guaranteed to be true. Employers must still review application materials to be certain that online grads spent time accruing work experience. Still, that a student chose online education over traditional programs is a common marker of continued employment.
3. They Are Self-Motivated
To some extent, all higher education requires self-motivation. Yet, when there isn’t a professor tallying attendance or fellow classmates watching each other take notes, it is much easier to skip class. Enrolling in online courses is easy, but completing enough to earn a full degree ― especially an advanced degree like a MBA ― requires grit. Therefore, the enthusiasm and drive that mark favorably promising workers can often be found in those boasting online degrees.
4. They Manage Time Well
A large percentage of firings occur due to mismanaged time: employees who don’t show up for work, employees who take too many breaks, employees who don’t adhere to scheduling policies, etc. In any line of work, time is money, so employees who are respectful of their time at work are bound to be more productive and effective.
Online students understand how to manage their time. All online students have other responsibilities, whether that be full-time work, caring for family members, or other important duties. That those degree holders were able to devote enough time to their educations while balancing their everyday obligations proves that they can commit to whatever time constraints an employer demands.
5. They Are Tech Proficient
To attend online school, students must capably use at least one digital device, a computer, on a daily basis. They must understand how to navigate the Web and use computer programs to communicate with teachers, complete projects, and more. Though computers and Internet connections may rule businesses, about 16 percent of U.S. households still lack a computer, and about 21 percent of households rarely access the Internet. Thus, it is imperative that employers identify and hire applicants who can claim even moderate tech skills. Online degree holders are guaranteed to have the basic functions of computer usage down ― but most have become relatively advanced at navigating devices thanks to years of online education.
6. They Are Forward-Thinking
Finally, students who seek online degrees were willing to turn to a relatively unusual solution to better themselves and their futures. They saw the promise of online education, despite its vast differences to traditional schooling, and they sought to use it for their own gain. Applicants with online degrees are likely to be creative and unconventional with their problem-solving methods, but they tend to be both progressive and economical ― both of which make businesses shine.