For many college students, earning your degree through online learning sounds like an ideal choice. Not being tied down to attending a class at certain times gives students the flexibility to work outside of school or enjoy more free time. Yet students are also conscious of the fact that their degree can mean the difference between unemployment and a successful career. They may worry that if they earn their degree online, it may not be taken seriously by employers later on. There may even be a worry that the degree is invalid or not worth as much as a degree earned through traditional college classes. Concerned students may wonder, would it really be worth it to earn my degree online?

The Rising Popularity of Online Learning

Online learning has become hugely popular in recent years. According to a CBS News article, almost 75 percent of colleges now offer online classes, and nearly 4 million students participate in online learning. Colleges such as the University of Phoenix are even almost exclusively online institutions. Although there are a large number of unlicensed online “diploma mills” with virtually worthless degrees, most online colleges are legitimate and award degrees which are just as valid as those from traditional colleges. Many online institutions also specialize in classes in growing career fields such as engineering and computer technology, and degrees earned in these fields will give students an advantage when they enter the job market.

Are Online Degrees Respected?

Although students might worry that their degree will be discounted because it was earned online, for many employers, this is not the case. As long as the college awarding the degree was a legitimate one, the degree is just as valid as one which may have been earned through traditional learning. Many prospective employers are also more concerned about what the degree is in, rather than which college it came from. And in many cases, the fact that a degree was earned online is even more appealing to an employer. Since many students who study online do so in order to also have a job or take care of family situations, this shows businesses that the student has a strong work ethic and is able to handle many responsibilities at once.

Opportunities for Going Back to School

An online degree is also a good choice for those affected by the sluggish economy. Older students who may have lost their job may choose online learning to earn a new degree and find new employment. Online classes will allow them the flexibility to care for children or other household responsibilities while still making progress toward a new career. Many online colleges even offer introductory lessons for older students who may be unfamiliar with using a computer, so those worried about adjusting to an online format can feel more at ease.

As with traditional college learning, online classes require hard work and responsibility. Yet this hard work does pay off in the form of a degree and, someday, a career. For a student who works or who just wants a flexible schedule, online learning can be a good option for pursuing a college degree.