How Can I Verify that an Online Bachelor's Program Is Legitimate?
When choosing an online bachelor's degree program, it's important to make sure you'll receive a valid degree. Unfortunately, some schools award worthless credentials, and some online programs simply provide a subpar education. Keep reading to learn how you can verify the legitimacy of an online bachelor's program.
Why Verification is Important
There are two primary reasons to verify the legitimacy of an online bachelor's degree program. First and foremost, future employers might not honor a degree from an unaccredited institution. This could mean you might not get hired at all or that, if you are hired, your education might not count toward opportunities for increased pay or professional advancement. Second, if you decide to transfer to another school or pursue a graduate degree, the credits you've already completed might not be recognized by your new school.
Important Facts about This Field of Study
|Common Courses||American history, conflict resolution, business writing, data management, human resource, taxation, computer technology, biology, ecology, human anatomy|
|Concentrations||Arts and sciences, technology, psychology, nursing, education, business, human services, accounting, marketing|
|Online Availability||Many select schools|
|Possible Careers||Accountant, teacher, software support specialist, marketing lead, researcher, nurse, security manager, front line supervisor, business writer, sales associate, administrative assistant|
|Median Salary (2018)|| $70,500 (for accountants and auditors) |
$50,980 (for computer user support specialists)
$134,290 (for marketing managers)
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)|| 10% growth (for accountants and auditors) |
11% growth (for computer user support specialists)
10% growth (for marketing managers)
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
How to Find a Reputable School
Online programs appeal to students because they're flexible, often allowing working professionals and/or full-time parents to earn a degree without interrupting their regular work or family schedule. To make sure the time and money you're investing in an online program is worth it, consider the following tips to find a reputable school for your online bachelor's degree:
- Check the school's history to ensure that it's turned out numerous graduates, both on-campus and online.
- Compare the online bachelor's degree program with traditional, on-campus degree programs in the same subject.
- Make sure the school (and the program, when appropriate) is accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Types of Accreditation
Distance education schools might be accredited through an agency specific to online education, such as the Distance Education and Training Council, or through a traditional regional or national institutional accrediting organization, like the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Additionally, individual online programs can receive accreditation. For example, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, while the Committee on Accreditation of the American Board of Funeral Service Education accredits diploma, certificate and degree programs for prospective funeral directors.