cyber-degree.jpgThe yellow buses have started to appear around town as kids go back to school, and suddenly we’re all thinking about books and learning.

Lately I’ve been getting more questions than usual from readers asking whether going back to school would help their job search, and many of you are considering online degrees because of the flexibility they can provide.

Well, cyber degrees, even from accredited schools, still don’t get respect from hiring managers, especially if you’re established in your career.

According to a survey by Society for Human Resource Management, 49 percent of human resource professional think a traditional degree is better than a cyber one. And 43 percent said online degrees were more acceptable from job seekers looking for entry level posts.

This doesn’t mean they aren’t hiring candidates with online degrees.

* 79 percent of organizations have hired job applicants with online degrees in the last 12 months, the poll found.

And where you get your online degree is also important.

* 64 percent said they use certain schools’ reputations with well known online degree programs to ascertain applicants’ online degrees.

One factor that may help applicants with online degrees is it’s getting harder to tell whether a degree was gotten by going to an actual class in a college, or by sitting at home in your pajamas. About 15 percent of those polled said it was hard to tell by just looking at a resume.

“It’s becoming harder to distinguish the online degree because some online degree programs are adding physical locations, and traditional brick and mortar schools are adding online programs,” said Mark Schmit, director of research at SHRM. “Not only is the industry going through an evolutionary period, but it is making an online degree more acceptable by creating a mix of class and online experience.”

Indeed, the whole cyber-schooling landscape is changing, and slowly becoming much more respectable than in years past.

But you have to decide what’s really worth your time and money when it comes to these degrees.

And please, think twice and even three times before you opt for a school that’s not accredited. There are a lot of cyber-education scams out there right now. (Contact The Council for Higher Education Accreditation.)

And don’t listen to the admissions folks when they tell you a certain degree will guarantee you the job of your dreams. You have to do the homework and figure out if any degree, online or not, is what you need to advance in your career.

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