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With online degrees becoming more popular and prevalent amongst jobseekers today, employers are faced with a brand new obstacle. As online degrees can sometimes be difficult to verify, and some may even be obtained from disreputable organizations that are known as “diploma mills.” As such, employers must remain diligent when attempting to verify or validate a candidate’s online degree.

Online Degrees are on the Rise

Regardless of your own individual view on the subject, there’s no denying the fact that the number of individuals who possess an online degree has been steadily rising throughout the 21st century. According to statistics, just over 30 percent of educational institutions offered online curriculum in 2002. This number rose to more than 60 percent by 2012.

Increasing Acceptance

Despite the fact that some employers are still hesitant to make a hiring decision based solely on an applicant’s online degree, statistics show that more employers are beginning to accept, if not embrace, candidates with online degrees.

According to a recent survey by Rasmussen College, which polled more than 100 individuals in middle-level and senior management roles throughout a variety of industries, nearly 30 percent of respondents said that they would be “very likely” to hire a candidate with an online degree. An additional 18 percent indicated that they would be “extremely likely” to make a hiring decision based on the presence of an online degree.

Some companies, including UPS, the largest and most prolific package delivery company in the world, have partnered up with traditional schools in order to design both online and offline curriculum that still meets the needs of their company.

Anne Schwartz, vice president of global leadership and talent development with UPS, summed up their viewpoint by saying: “We recognize that generations have different learning preferences and styles. It’s difficult for us to tell a 20- or 30-something that they have to have a degree from a brick-and-mortar college. As a result, we encourage all types of education, including online.”

Benefits

There are many benefits to hiring jobseekers who have earned their degrees online. For starters, individuals who have graduated from an online school have already proven their level of self-discipline, motivation and dedication. In such a loosely structured environment as an online university, such skills are necessary in order to maintain focus over a long-term period.

Employers who consider applicants with online degrees will also find that they have a larger network of candidates to choose from when it comes to filling their ranks. Moreover, given the fact that the popularity of online education is still on the rise, jobseekers who possess online degrees may soon become the majority.

Jobseekers who hold an online degree will also possess a certain level of computer skills. As more and more roles are incorporating technology into their daily responsibilities, applicants who are already familiar with computers and technology will be able to ease into their new positions more quickly, seamlessly and effectively when compared to those without computer skills.

Finally, those who have a graduated from an online university are typically independent workers who are able to take initiative on their own behalf on a day-to-day basis. This is ideal for work environments that don’t rely heavily on team-based operations.

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