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My Medical Device Sales Career

Whats the deal with those online schools we all see advertised? Are those degrees even real?

We have all seen the online degree commercials on TV, especially if were unemployed (which is currently 9.5% of us according to the bureau of labor statistics). These ads usually run inbetween episodes of The Golden Girls at 2pm-how dare they disrupt such a fantastic show!

I have always been curious about these degree programs; the people in the commericals look so excited, happy and thankful for ITT Tech changing their lives. (I was painting fences, and then BAM now I'm working for an Aerospace Corporation.)

The first question that pops into my head is, are these even real degrees? The second, do employers/HR departments take these degrees seriously?

After doing some digging...the answers to these questions that haunt me at night are a little "grey area," if you will.

If you are going to do the online degree route you MUST make sure your university or college is ACCREDITED.

There are many online schools that are not accredited and your EXPENSIVE degree means absolutley NOTHING (you might as well have your 5 year old draw a picture of a PHD diploma, frame it, hang it in your office and call yourself doc).

Click HERE for a list of UNACCREDITED online collegs to watch out for!

Okay so for those of you thinking of doing an accredited degree from an online school....STILL BEWARE!

Although your degree IS real and perfectly valid (state universitys and prive colleges will accept you for a graduate program with these undergraduate degrees) there is still a stigma among the hiring world.

A recent Vault survey of HR professionals reveals "30% of them had encountered job applicants from an online university; 26% of those surveyed believe that an online bachelor's degree is as credible as an offline degree, while 61% say that the online degree is not as credible, but was acceptable. Another 13% said that online degrees were not credible and were unacceptable. Likewise, 37% of those surveyed believe that an online graduate school degree is as credible as an offline degree, while 54% said that it was not as credible, but was acceptable. Another 9% said that an online graduate school degree was not credible and unacceptable."

Do you really want to risk the stima?...ESPECIALLY in the times we are living in? You could be taking the risk of winding up unemployed (or at the same level you were before) but now with an expensive loan to pay back-these schools cost almost as much as private college.

BIG yikes.

If you are a working adult with a busy schedule or you prefer creating your own schedule you should look into ONLINE DEGREE PROGRAMS from RECOGNIZED institutions (not "FOR PROFIT"colleges...which pose an even BIGGER problem for our economy (think mortgage industry)-which I will discuss in my next article).

Many established universties now offer online programs; 34% of all instututions offer online programs. In fact the Sloan Consortium research group found that three quaters of academic leaders at public colleges and universities believe that online learning quality is equal or superior to face to face instruction.

Among public institutions, 49% are offering full online degree programs, 80% of public and 37% of private institutions offer both online and blended programs.

A Vault research study discovered that 77% of hiring managers say that an online degree received through an established university such as Duke or Standford is more acceptable than a degree earned through an internet only for profit university like Capella or Jones International.

Professors who teach the online courses have said that the quality of work is actually higher from the online student than the student who is attending a physical class. The degree earned online is the same credential earned when attending a traditional class.

Now that we have decided the best "online route" for heightening your chances of better employment lets talk costs, because like it or not, money matters, unless your Paris Hilton...but that's a completley different story all together, isn't it?

Average Cost of a Public State School for a resident for 1 year: $7,000-10,000

Average Cost of a Public State School for a non-resident for 1 year: $15,000-25,000

Average Cost of a Private Non Profit University for 1 year: $21,000-40,000

Average Cost of a Private For Profit Online Colleges (ex: University of Phoenix) for 1 year: $17,000

With considering cost, one should note that perhaps an online program through a state school would be your best bet. You will save money on gas, textbooks (most online courses have an online pdf book) and housing. Also, most online students keep their day jobs while still maintaining normal salary.

So there you have it, I hope you have a digitally fantastic time learning.

By Elyse Martin

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Views: 23

Tags: college kids, education

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Comment by Linda Hertz on September 2, 2010 at 5:43am
Nice article Elyse! I must add that through all my years of hiring and now over 5 years of hiring I have never hired or placed one person with an undergrad from the University of Phoenix. In fact, I have had several managers tell me, "don't send me one of those University of Phoenix Undergrads, I want someone who has graduated from a real college". Right or wrong, that is still the perception of a University of Phoenix Graduates, especially as it relates to an undergrad degree. In fact, many managers will tell me they want someone who has gone to a brick and mortar school and experienced the rigors of attending class, interacting in person with the professor and other classmates.

No one wants to talk about this from a hiring perspective and I will address it here as a former Medical Sales Manager and now Recruiter; save your money and spend your time wisely at an established and accredited public or private college (but I think most private colleges, unless of a Harvard or Yale quality, are not a good value in general). I have 40,000 resumes in my data base and probably 25% of those from executives who have gone up the ladder in major corporations, not ONE has an undergrad degree from the University of Phoenix! Let's face it, top executives have degrees from established Universities for the most part. Read a resume where someone graduated from a University of Michigan or even one of the Cal State Colleges vs. a resume with University of Phoenix and hands down the hiring manager will pass on the University of Phoenix undergrad regardless of background experience; especially in this marketplace.

I look forward to your next piece on the possible government funding cuts for these for profit schools.

I am sure this will upset some of those who graduated from these schools, but one must really look at the reality of how those degrees compare in the hiring publics mind. I feel they have a place for the older student who has "their job" and needs credentials to say, "I have a degree". Perhaps even those who are in an industry that a base qualifier is just having a piece of paper that reflects "I have a degree". Some statistics on graduate income comparisons and etc. would be interesting but perhaps difficult to attain to compare the ROI of degrees between a standard University and these for profit schools.

Any other thoughts out there?

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