Some online schools are offering desperate jobs seekers the world. But don’t sign up before you do your homework.
Promises you’ll end up in your dream job or make big bucks once you graduate, may end up to be empty, warned Allison Linn, TODAY.com’s senior reporter who has covered how degrees impact employability. She was on hand to answer readers’ questions about the topic during our live web chat Wednesday.
Many readers wanted to know the real career value of online degrees, and some were considering the option after receiving tempting offers.
Richard Keating wrote:
“I just received a letter in the mail saying that I'm "pre-accepted" to an online university. They tell me that I can earn $50,000 to $80,000 more per year if I get an MBA with them and that I don't even need a bachelor's degree to start my MBA. Is this too good to be true?"
To that Linn cautioned:
“You know the old adage, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It's true that an MBA can advance your career, but most legitimate schools require a bachelor's degree first. In addition, no one should be guaranteeing you a salary bump without knowing anything about you.”
Another issue plaguing the web chat participants was whether degrees from non-traditional universities were worth the money.
Michael Bok asked:
“How about a traditional brick and mortar school versus an online school or for-profit institution? Is my four-year degree from a for-profit institution going to be treated differently than a degree from a traditional school?”
“We are in a new world with the influx of for-profit and online schools. There are definitely legitimate online and for-profit programs, but you should vet them carefully and make sure you there isn't a lower cost option through a more traditional university. Although keep in mind that although things are changing, some employers still have a bias toward more traditional universities over for-profit and online.”
If you want to find out whether the school your considering is accredited check out the Council for Higher Education Accreditation's site.
Here’s a full transcript of our web chat with Linn: