Seeking a Degree Via Online Courses?

Nick Fishman

What better way to earn a degree than to take course work online in the comforts of your home?  Those contemplating such course work should read “Is Your Distance Learning School Accredited?” by Bill Johnson before you make the commitment.  Johnson discusses the importance of both accreditation and acceptance.  If the institution isn’t accredited, it most likely will not be recognized by prospective employers.  Equally important is how accepted that institution is to potential employers.  If employers don’t recognize or accept the academic institution, all of that course work is moot and could run the risk of hurting your job prospects.  See excerpt from Johnson’s article below.

For whatever reason, when deciding to continue education through distance learning or online colleges, the most important requirement to check out first is if the establishment is “accredited” by accrediting institutions that are recognized by the federal government through the Department of Education. Otherwise, students could end up paying their money for a qualification paper that will not get recognition by almost all traditional establishments.

The downside of distance learning or an online degree is, even if the learning establishment that is giving the qualification has the required accrediting, it is not yet widely accepted by employers. It could also be difficult when trying to transfer the credits obtained to other programs run by those that do not recognize the particular learning establishment. This attests to the fact that it is a mutual recognition among the educators and their partners, so that the quality of the education given will be at a higher level, and there are no sets of rules to follow.

The accreditation is a process where other learning institutions, through a peer group setup, ascertain that a given learning establishment has what it take in terms of the education quality it is availing. The essential issues they would be looking at could be the school’s mission, goals, objectives, available resources and how they are utilized, enrollment requirements, and the overall quality of the education.

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Remember, that employers are getting more suspicious of degrees from institutions that they do not recognize as more and misrepresent their educational background.  You don’t want to run the risk that they think you have obtained your academic credentials from a diploma mill.

Interested in identifying accrediting organizations and known diploma mills.  Check out our recent white paper: employeescreenIQ’s Guide to Identify Fake Degrees.

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
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  • Nick, I have read both yours and Johnson’s article u mentioned. You are right one has to be sure of accredition of colleges before deciding to pursue a degree.

  • Not only is making sure that your college is regionally accredited is important, you need to also look into whether the school is a for profit or a traditional non-profit. There are only 2 for profit schools that are highly respected for the distance learning programs: Argosy University and Walden University.

    I personally got suckered into a for profit university in 1991 with then Fort Lauderdale College. They gave me the spiel that they were in the process of becoming a university, regionally accredited, and their athletic teams becoming part of the NCAA. Well, only 1 out of the three was realized. In 1994, they became Florida Metropolitan University. In 2007, they changed their name to Everest University.

    Take the time to investigate your school because it is an “investment” in your future.

  • I am actually starting now researching schools for doctoral programs in psychology. Argosy University and Walden University are two of the leading candidates. Argosy University is accredited with the American Psychological Association. While with Walden University, a few of my past professors have received their Ph.D’s from their.

    Schools that I will ignore like the plague are University of Phoenix. While investigating schools I stopped by a campus and the admissions rep was so eager to get me to enroll right then and there. She even persisted by calling and emailing me to see if I made a decision. A normal, traditional university does not put on this type of high pressure sales technique on their prospective students.

  • Good advice. Credibility is very important and accreditation is one of the main ways to determine an online institution’s credibility.