Online Degrees from the Employer Perspective


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Many students refrain from studying online because they fear future employers won’t hire them as it is often said that employers do not consider online degrees as valuable. This used to be a common perspective, but times have changed and distance learning has greatly developed. Online education has many benefits, so don’t let your fear hold you back from taking advantage of them.



Since its inception, online education has attracted more and more students. From flexibility and cheaper costs to being able to study from the comfort of your home, distance learning has given students the ability to further their education without draining their pockets or having them quit their job. 

Even though it has many benefits, many restrained and continue to restrain from pursuing an online degree because of stereotypes that regard online degrees as less qualified than an on-campus degree. 

However, times have changed throughout the 2010s and many employers have arrived at the conclusion that what really matters are the abilities a potential employee can offer rather than where she or he earned the degree. 

8 Things Employers think about Online Degrees


  • The majority currently accepts online degrees: During recent years, the acceptance towards online degrees has increased at a staggering pace. This is so because many well-known universities now offer distance learning programmes, so their quality is not questioned anymore. 
  • Accreditation goes a long way: If you earned your degree in a lesser-known university, employers will have an outside authority ensure the programme’s quality and the school’s reputation. For that reason, make sure you earn your degree at a respectable university so that the chances of it being questioned will reduce.
  • Many employers prefer nonprofit over profit: Some employers are still reluctant to accept degrees earned at for-profit institutions because they have faced criticism with regard to their completion rates and recruitment practices in recent years. Fortunately, this perception is slowly fading away.
  • Many are not familiar with competency-based education: There are many employers who aren’t acquainted with competency-based education programmes: A kind of programme in which students must demonstrate mastery of specific skills. However, even though some employers don’t know this kind of programme, they feel interested in learning more about the option when a potential employer with this kind of qualification applies for a job.
  • Employers aren’t instantly aware the degree was earned online: Potential employees are the ones that inform employers they earned their degree through distance learning in job interviews, generally because they are asked how they managed their time to study and work. So, employers won’t judge your degree before they see you because they most probably won’t know.
  • Many respect Time Management skills: One of the reasons why students choose to study online is because they don’t have the time to attend classes the regular way. This means they need to master time management skills in order to take care of all their responsibilities, like a job or a family, which is viewed positively by many employers because the flexibility employees could offer the company is generally very appealing.
  • Some employers will ask you about collaboration skills: Being able to work in teams and collaborate with others is one of the most sought after skills in an employee. For this reason, they may ask whether you had the same opportunities for team working and for interacting with other students as an on-campus student would have.
  • Hiring decisions aren’t based only on the online degree: If an employer is interested in hiring you, they won’t decide not to just because of your online degree. There are many other aspects employers take into consideration before deciding. 

Some other aspects employers focus their attention on are: references, abilities, intellect, talent, working history, among others. If you still fear employers’ perceptions on your online degree, make sure you excel in all the other aspects and you will be fine.

Times have certainly changed and perspectives on online degrees are becoming more and more positive because many employees who have earned online degrees have shown they can do as well as an on-campus educated employer.

If you are interested in studying online, the following are South African universities that offer online programmes:

University of Johannesburg




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