Increasing your earning potential is one of the most popular reasons for students to choose to enroll in an online college. Most students choose to pursue a college degree in order to gain the skills and knowledge needed to command higher salaries from their future employers. Many high-paying career paths and positions require students to have received various levels of college education.

Pursuing a college degree is one of the best ways to ensure that you will be prepared for a successful career of high-paying employment. But many students worry whether or not an online college degree will net them the same level of financial benefit as a traditional, on-campus degree? Yes, an online college degree may be cheaper than a traditional degree, but will it ultimately cost I money in the long run? Will I make less money with a college degree?

Online Colleges are Respected and Legitimate

Much of this worry about whether or not you will make less money with an online college versus a traditional college stems from the perceived legitimacy of online colleges and whether or not they are respected like their traditional counterparts.

Maybe in the beginning of online college there may have been a hesitancy to accept the legitimacy of an online college degree, but after decades of online learning – the online college is no longer looked upon any differently than the traditional college.

Online colleges are subject to the same accreditation standards as traditional colleges. These online colleges must meet the exact same accreditation requirements as any other college based in the region. That means they must have the same level of academic rigor and quality as any college they are near, regardless of whether that college is entirely online or entirely on-campus.

Furthermore, many online colleges are operated by traditional colleges. These online colleges base their curriculum off of the exact same lesson plans and materials being used on-campus. The only difference between these courses is the delivery method- the content remains the same. 

Employers Won’t Know You Attended an Online College

Even though online colleges are subject to the same level of scrutiny as traditional brick-and-mortar colleges, some students still worry that employers may hold a prejudice towards a degree online. While it’s hard to speak for every employer, as online colleges and online college degrees become more commonplace, most employers tend to not care about the delivery method of the course material.

But even in the case that an employer might care about whether or not a degree was earned online, in most cases, the employer has no real way to know that unless you tell them yourself.

Most online college degrees do not mention on your diploma or degree that you received your education online. An online degree from a college that operates both online and on-campus will issue identical degrees for each program.

That way, students never have to disclose whether or not your degree was earned online or on-campus. 

The Prestige of an Online College Can Be Important

Just like a traditional college, the reputation of your school has more of an effect on your earning potential than whether or not your degree was earned online. Certain colleges just hold more cache than others. That’s why it is important for students to enroll in the most prestigious institution that they can afford and have been accepted to.

That’s a huge benefit of online colleges. As colleges become more prestigious, they tend to charge more for their tuition. But if you choose to enroll in a college online, you are often afforded a cheaper tuition rate. You can use this to your advantage by choosing to enroll in a more prestigious and more expensive college, but choose to enroll online resulting in some saved tuition costs. Maybe you wouldn’t be able to swing tuition at a particular college on-campus, but you can afford their online tuition rates.

An Accredited Online College is Most Important

Beyond prestige and reputation is a college’s accreditation status. This is massively crucial to selecting an online college or university. Enrolling in an online college that hasn’t received accreditation or has been accredited by a non-reputable source can definitely have an effect on the earning power of your degree.

Employers want to ensure that a student has earned their degree from a reputable source. That way the employer knows that the student has the skills and training needed to work that job. Accreditation agencies ensure that colleges and universities are all meeting the same base level of quality and academic rigor. 

When selecting an academic program, always be sure to enroll in a program accredited by a nationally-recognized accreditation agency. 

Will I Make Less Money With an Online Degree?

Enrolling in an online college degree can be costly and time-consuming. That’s why most students want to be sure that the degree they are earning will set themselves up for the brightest possible future. The thought of earning an online college degree that doesn’t yield the types of job opportunities expected can be very frightening to students. But, that fear is unfounded.

Online college is more ubiquitous than ever before. As more aspects of our lives move online, so has our education. Employers have become very comfortable with the fact that some of their employees will have earned their degree online. Online colleges have spent the past decades ensuring that they are offering students the same level of education as their on-campus counterparts. And if you happen to run into the odd employer who doesn’t trust an online degree, most online degrees make no mention of how the degree was earned so that employer never has to find out.

An online college degree’s worth is determined mainly by the prestige and respect of that online college, as well as its accreditation status. Making sure you enroll in the most prestigious, well-respected online college that you can be accepted to and afford is the best way to ensure that your college degree will maximize your employment potential. 

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