If you are someone who works full-time and you want to earn a college degree, you essentially have three options. You can either quit your job and go back to school full-time, enroll in an evening or weekend program, or earn your degree through a program offered entirely online.

For most working adults the very idea of quitting their jobs and returning to school full-time is laughable. Who will provide for the kids? Who will pay the mortgage? When a person has responsibilities, quitting everything to go back to school simply isn't an option.

But what about evening and weekend programs? Sure, those programs are great if you happen to live near a school that offers them. But most people don't.

The only option left for the vast majority of working adults is a degree program that is offered entirely online. But some may be hesitant to enroll in such programs. This is totally understandable considering how new online degrees are. They may not be sure whether a degree that was earned entirely online is accepted in the workplace.

How then do employers view degrees earned entirely online?

New Kid on the Block

In the world of higher education, online delivery of course content is relatively new. It hasn’t even been around for two decades yet. But it is a trend that has caught on in a big way. These days most colleges and universities offer either some online courses or entire degree programs that can be completed online.

Even many of the elite schools now offer online courses or degrees. A few examples include Georgetown University, Stanford University, Drexel University, University of Southern California, Penn State, and others. Without a doubt, online degree programs are here to stay, and the trend is for more and more of these programs to be developed in the coming years.

Online degrees make a lot of sense. They unlock the doors of higher education for many who would otherwise be locked out, such as non-traditional adult students.

Those who work full-time can work on assignments for their online courses during times that are convenient for them. They can do so during the evenings after work, after the kids are asleep, during the weekends, and even during their lunch breaks.

The great thing about online degree programs is that geography is no longer a limiting factor. Where you live in regards to the school offering the degree program is completely irrelevant.

Growing Pains

One way to view the acceptance of online degree programs by employers is to compare them to how evening and weekend degree programs were perceived when they were first introduced a few short decades ago. These programs were started in the years following the end of WWII as a way for schools to offer programs to the many returning service members who had GI Bill benefits.

Sadly, evening and weekend degree programs were initially scoffed at by many. There was no logical reason for this, of course. After all, it's not like a course offered in the morning is somehow superior to one offered of the evenings or weekends. The time of day a course is offered is irrelevant, as people slowly began to realize. In time, the stigma of earning a degree by non-traditional means completely went away, and such programs are now considered equivalent to traditional programs.

Online degree programs have experienced a similar transition period. When they were first introduced there were some who scoffed at them. But the only thing that was different about these programs was how the course content was delivered. The learning outcomes were not compromised in any way. Students who take college courses online have to complete the same assignments and take the same exams as their on-campus counterparts. The only difference is in how students access the course content.


The times are definitely changing in the world of higher education. Evening and weekend programs went through a transition period where they were once derided and mocked but are now commonly accepted. These days no one questions their validity. Just as these programs had to go through a transition period, so too did degree programs offered entirely online.

Online degree programs are now fully accepted by the vast majority of employers. In fact, there are now many corporate executives who have chosen to continue their own educations entirely online due to the convenience and the proliferation of high-quality schools that now offer these programs.

If you are considering earning an online degree, it's best to stick to a well-known college or university. Better yet, go with a college or university that is physically located in the state you live in. If you do, most people won't even know you earned the degree online. There are now so many great schools that offer these programs that you should not have any trouble finding a great program to suit your needs and career goals.

Author's Bio: 

The author is a freelance business writer specializing in the financial services sector. He uses strategic content marketing to help businesses achieve results. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, he enjoys taking in the local music scene and other attractions in his spare time.