Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Frequently Asked Questions about Online Degrees


General Online Degree Questions

How will a college degree help me meet my career goals?

If you are planning on entering the job market or pursuing a career, nowadays a college degree is almost always a pre-requisite for any job. On average, holders of bachelors degrees earn 98% more than those with just a high school education while individuals who earn a masters degree make about 170% more. By and large, if you have a college degree, you're far more likely to have a fulfilling and satisfying career.

Is an online degree inferior to a traditional degree?

The short answer is no. Studies conducted have demonstrated that in terms of quality, online classes are the same as on-campus classes. In fact many of the online courses you take are identical to that same college's on-campus offerings with regard to content. The only real difference is in the delivery.

Are online professors as good as on-campus professors?

Online instructors typically must possess at least a masters degree – and often a doctorate- before they can be considered a professor. On top of that, online universities require every professor to go through comprehensive training in online education. Very often, the professors you will encounter online are well-regarded experts in their field and have personally developed or assisted in developing the course curriculum.

How quickly can I earn my online degree?

The time it takes to earn your online degree will vary from college to college. Typically you can expect to earn a bachelors in 3-4 years and an associates or masters in two or less. This is possible because although students only take one course at a time, they are condensed into a much shorter time span. Some online colleges will allow students to take more than one class ensuring they can earn their online degree in less time. Furthermore a student can always transfer credits from previous coursework, professional training, or the College Level Examination Program (CLEP).

What does accreditation mean?

Accreditation is a standard by which the level of education and the diploma are recognized as meeting criteria set out by the US Department of Education and other official accrediting agencies. That is, the learning institution must meet specific academic criteria to be considered accredited. Sadly, many online degrees aren't worth the paper they're printed on. These so-called diploma mills are merely meant to collect money while issuing a degree that has little to no academic merit. These schools are not officially recognized by an official accrediting agency or by an institutional accrediting organization recognized by the US Department of Education. If you receive one of these degrees from a less-than-credible institution, you risk damaging your career or even possible fraud charges if you try to pass off a “diploma mill” degree as legitimate. To find out if an online college is legitimate and accredited, visit the US Department of Education's website and utilize their search engine:

Does an online degree count if I decide to attend a traditional university in the future?

If your online degree came from an accredited institution, of course it will count. That is, if you received and online Bachelors degree and then wish to continue with a traditional (on campus) Masters program, your Bachelors will count. However, if you wish to pursue a second Bachelors and you want to transfer credits from previous classes, your credits may or may not transfer. This has nothing to do (or should have nothing to do) with whether your class was taken online or not; each university- traditional or online- can transfer credits at their own discretion. If you have credits you wish to transfer and your University doesn't accept them, consider appealing to the school's Academic Advisor or taking a CLEP test on the subject.

Will potential employers take an online degree seriously?

The short answer is yes. Actually, your degree will look exactly the same as any other degree that the institution issues; that is, nowhere on the degree will it be stated that you took the courses “online”. Furthermore, should a potential employer learn that your degree was received from a distance learning program, they should view that as a plus- after all, it's not easy to work, take care of a family and get a degree; having done so means that you are a hard worker who is disciplined and who can meet deadlines. As online education and other web-based means of collaboration and communication become more ubiquitous each year, you're less likely to encounter any bias against online degrees. An online degree is often just as credible as a more traditional degree.

Do online colleges accept transfer credits?

If the credits come from a nationally or regionally-accredited university or college, and they apply to your degree area, then most online universities do accept transfer credits.

Financial Questions

How much does an online education cost?

Cost will vary from institution to institution but you should always expect to pay less for an online college degree. It's a given that since a college doesn't have to cover infrastructure and other expenses with an online education, the overall cost will be significantly less. While you will usually pay tens-of-thousands for a regular four-year degree, an online degree won't be nearly as expensive.

Can I get financial aid for an online education?

Most of the financial aid options available to traditional students are also available to online students; this includes scholarships and grants.

Do I need financial aid before I apply for an online education?

You do not need to secure financial aid before you apply for admission and most online universities can refer incoming students to available financial aid programs.

Online Degree Programs

What types of online degrees can I earn?

You will typically be able to earn an associates, bachelors, or masters degree. Additionally, some online colleges offer doctoral degrees in a few specialized areas. Also, most online colleges offer a variety of certificate programs. Areas of study will vary from college to college but in general you can expect to find most of the educational mainstays:

  • Business (accounting, marketing, economics, etc.)
  • Criminal Justice (law enforcement, crime scene investigation, forensics, etc.)
  • Education (teaching, education administration, special or adult education, etc.)
  • Engineering (mechanical, electrical, environmental, etc.)
  • Graphic Design (print art, computer graphics, sign-making, etc.)
  • Healthcare (nursing, healthcare administration, etc.)
  • Human Services (psychology, sociology, etc.)
  • Legal (paralegal, legal assistant, etc.)
  • Liberal Arts (English, creative writing, philosophy, etc.)
  • Technology (computer programming, website development, software design, etc.)

What is an Associates degree?

An associates degree (AA, AAS, AS) is often called a two-year degree because it can be earned in as little as two years. Community colleges and junior colleges, as well as many four-year colleges typically award it once 60 credit hours have been completed. Associates degrees come in two forms: transfer degrees and vocational/professional degrees.

What is a bachelors degree?

A bachelors degree (BA, BS), often called a four-year degree, is a degree earned from an accredited college or university. They are usually earned upon completion of over 120 credit-hours. This includes any credits earned toward the completion of student's major area of study.

What is a masters degree?

A masters degree or graduate degree (MA, MS), depending upon the area of study, may require one to three years to complete. Typically, a bachelors degree is required to pursue a masters degree.

What is an MBA?

A Masters in Business Administration degree, also called an MBA, is a degree designation that first made its appearance at Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in 1881. An MBA degree is typically sought to distinguish oneself in the crowded field of business degree holders. Earners of MBA degrees are often sought by top companies for their managerial prowess and talent.

What is a doctoral degree?

A doctorate or doctoral degree (e.g. PhD, EdD, PsD as well as MD and JD) is the highest level degree one can attain. Upon earning a doctorate degree, the earner's college or university faculty will traditionally recognize him or her as their peer or academic equal.

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