The advent of the Internet has made it possible for people to perform a wide range of tasks remotely, including pursuing a college degree.
According to a survey conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group, about 7.1 million students attended at least one online course offered by a university in the fall semester of 2012, up from 6.7 million students in the previous year.
Also, 62.4 percent of colleges and universities offered fully online degree programs in 2012, an almost 30-percent increase from 2002. Since the number of people getting online degrees has increased dramatically in recent years, there is a greater likelihood that you will have online graduates applying for positions in your company.
So, is it a good call to hire job candidates with online degrees?
Are employers becoming more receptive to online degrees?
Several years ago, many employers were skeptical about online degrees, because they were afraid that they would hire people who obtained degrees from "diploma mills", unaccredited schools that offered a degree to anybody who had sufficient financial means. However, things have changed over the years.
As more and more prestigious colleges and universities, such as Stanford, MIT and Duke, begin to offer online education, employers have become less wary of the quality of online degree programs.
According to Insperity, a company that offers recruiting services to over 100,000 businesses, about 75 percent of their clients have embraced online education.
Benefits of hiring online graduates
Being receptive to online degrees can be beneficial to your business in a number of ways.
Firstly, you will have a wider pool of job candidates to choose from. It will be easier for you to find suitable candidates if you are open to hiring online graduates, since they make up a significant percentage of the total number of job seekers.
Also, online degree holders usually have a high level of self-discipline, because they completed their degree programs with minimal supervision. Many of them pursued their degrees while they were working, and they had to be very determined and disciplined in order to complete their studies.
Online graduates are a great option if you need to hire people who can take initiative and work independently.
Top 5 jobs for online graduates
Online education may not be a good option for certain students and employers, depending on which field they are in.
Some fields require a lot of practical training, which online education cannot provide as competently as traditional education. Knowing which types of online degrees are most sought after can give you a rough idea of whether or not you should hire online graduates.
As the following article shows, the top “5 online degrees that could pay off” for both employers and employees are business, information technology, engineering, education and nursing degrees.
As long as you choose job candidates who have graduated from accredited online colleges or universities, hiring online graduates does not pose more risk than hiring traditional graduates.
In fact, it may even be a more advantageous option.
John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.