Before you commit to a distance learning education, it’s important to be sure of the credibility of an online business degree program. Many legitimate online business schools offer a great and flexible education at a great value. However, there are also degree mills that charge students tuition but don’t provide a real education. Enrolling in one of these bogus programs could leave you with a useless degree and a lot of student debt. To determine whether a program is respectable, you should consider the school’s accreditation, reputation and quality of instruction.


The most basic way to determine the credibility of an online business degree program is to find out if it is accredited. The most credible online degree programs have institutional accreditation that applies to the university as a whole and programmatic accreditation specific to the business programs.

Keep in mind that even schools that claim to be accredited might not have accreditation from the right organizations. You should look for a school that has earned institutional accreditation from a regional entity recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) are respected accrediting bodies that award programmatic accreditation for business schools.

School Reputation

One factor that can help you determine the credibility of an online business degree program is the school’s reputation. If the institution is well-known and respected, there’s a good chance that the online program you’re considering is legitimate. If few people have heard of the school or it has a negative reputation, you could be looking at a fly-by-night operation that will take your money but won’t help your career.

How do you gauge the reputation of a school, especially an online program where you’ve never actually set foot on the campus? One way is to look at school rankings and reviewed published by authoritative organizations like The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.  Business publications like Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek and Business Insider frequently publish their own lists of top business schools. If possible, you want to research how the college or university is perceived as a whole as well as the reputation of its business school and, in particular, its online offerings.

Instructor Quality

Your education is only as good as the professors who facilitate it, and that means the quality of online instruction plays a big role in the credibility of an online business degree program. At the best online degree programs, online instructors have just as much education and experience as the professors who teach on-campus courses. In fact, some schools even require that online instructors have even more qualifications than their counterparts who teach only traditional courses. These professors may have to undergo additional training in effective teaching methods for the virtual classroom environment.

By researching the accreditation status, reputation and instruction quality of a school, you can feel confident about the credibility of the online business degree program you choose.