The Worth of an Online Bachelor’s Degree

In the past ten years, millions of Americans have pursued degrees online. According to the Sloan Consortium, more than 3,000,000 Americans were distance learners during the 2000-2001 school year. The National Center for Education Statistics expects this number to reach 18 million by 2013. Is it best to say, “Millions of Americans can’t be wrong?” Or is online education a fad and a waste of time and money?

Traditional Schools are Online

Signs suggest that distance learning is here to stay. Much of the rise in online enrollments can be attributed to programs being created by traditional brick-and-mortar universities – not schools that only exist online. Traditional schools are designing online courses to attract more students and save on costs associated with face-to-face teaching.

Students who choose traditional schools will almost always find that their degrees are valued by potential employers. As the career website reported, three out of four hiring managers consider an online degree from a brick-and-mortar university to be more acceptable than one from an online-only school. Still, as online students show their capabilities, even online-only schools may become more acceptable. A number of independent reports* have found that online learners often outperform traditional learners.

A Bachelor’s Degree is the Way Up

There’s no doubt that a bachelor’s degree in general is more valuable than no degree at all. During forty years of working adulthood, the average college graduate earns about $1 million more than the average high school graduate. If your lifestyle makes attending old-fashioned college classes impossible, then earning a bachelor’s degree online might be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

*For example, studies by the U.S. Department of Education and researchers at Missouri State University and Western Carolina University