Today I'm going to pull back the curtain and talk about something we rarely discuss on Career Hub: Online degree programs and web marketing.
At Career Hub, we regularly receive inquiries from online degree programs and the companies that advertise them -- offering to provide us with content we can publish to on the site in exchange for links. These links are often very lucrative for the companies, as schools pay a fair amount of money for click-throughs and applications.
We don't often publish content underwritten by online degree marketing because -- as the infographic below shows -- many online degree programs are not given full recognition by employers or hiring organizations because the programs themselves are not accredited by the governing bodies and accreditation agencies that they should be. This can cause problems for students long after they've finished an academic program -- and may do more harm than good.
If you are considering going online to further your education, you should research and understand -- how and if -- the programs that you are applying to are accredited. This can be tricky: If your program is not accredited by a widely accepted accreditation agency for your field or region of the country where you studied, you could have a hard time gaining credit for your training by both schools and employers.
Here is an overview of what accreditation does -- and how it works from the U.S. Department of Education website:
The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. Accreditation in the United States involves non-governmental entities as well as governmental agencies.
Accrediting agencies, which are private educational associations of regional or national scope, develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met. Institutions and/or programs that request an agency's evaluation and that meet an agency's criteria are then "accredited" by that agency.
The U.S. Department of Education does not accredit educational institutions and/or programs. However, the Secretary of Education is required by law to publish a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies that the Secretary determines to be reliable authorities as to the quality of education or training provided by the institutions of higher education and the higher education programs they accredit.
Want to know whether a program you're applying to is accredited? Check out this
Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions you can search to learn about accreditation by school and degree program. It's important to search this database whether you plan to study online or at a school site. You should also ask to speak to successful graduates of any school/program that you are applying for -- find out what the outcomes look like, and how hard it was to find a job after you receive the education.
Want to know why it matters?
Check out this infographic which provides a partial overview of problems -- and the size of the problem. (Hat Tip to Peter Kim of Accredited Online Colleges for providing us with this chart -- but we recommend you do homework on programs listed on their site, too.)
Created by: Accredited Online Colleges