How an online degree stacks up against an in-person degree

May 09, 2023 · 3 min read · By ASU Online
What would make more than three-quarters of hiring managers and recruiters think more favorably of a job candidate? Getting a four-year degree online.

Once upon a time, an ‘online degree’ was code for subpar education in many circles. Some viewed it as a shortcut to the standard four-year college model. Whether that perception ever matched the reality of online education, it’s certainly not the case now.

Just as workplaces are recognizing that productivity doesn’t have to be tied to in-person presence (and finding that productivity can actually be higher when working remotely), hiring managers and the world at large are seeing that an online degree can be as high-quality as a traditional degree. Maybe even more so: By removing a barrier to education, online learning is more accessible to more people, and in turn, shaping what it means to be an online learner today.


The truth about online learning

Many students have long preferred online learning. Today, the people looking to hire fresh talent are beginning to feel the same way. In The Value of Higher Education Today, a survey of more than 2,000 recruiters, hiring managers and team members conducted by ASU Online in partnership with Walr, that story became clear: 76% of respondents said that seeing a four-year degree earned online improved their perception of a job candidate, and 92% said they would consider hiring a candidate with that education.

This trend holds true for all forms of education beyond high school. Eighty percent of survey respondents said a graduate degree earned online would make a candidate shine in their eyes, and 64% said they would consider hiring someone who earned a two-year associate degree online. Certifications earned online had a similar sparkle: 66% said that an online certification improved their perception of a candidate, and 76% said they’d consider hiring someone with an online certification.

In-person education has its benefits, of course, including more readily available opportunities for connecting with classmates and for taking advantage of kinesthetic, or touch-oriented, learning. But if you’re leaning toward online education for its other advantages — learning at your own pace, on your own schedule, in your preferred environment — you can actively cultivate those opportunities for yourself. There are also quite a few misconceptions about online learning.

Still a little wary of letting future employers know that you earned your degree online? When you earn your degree with ASU Online, your diploma — and your education — are from Arizona State University, not some vague place in the cloud. If you want to be discreet about earning your degree online, your resume doesn’t have to spell it out.


How ASU anticipates the needs of online learners

Just as with in-person higher education, selecting the right institution is critical to your success. ASU Online has long been recognized as a leader in ensuring that its online offerings are as valuable and enriching as an on-campus education. For starters:

  • We understand that people who opt to learn online often do so because they need a flexible schedule, so we have six start dates each year.
  • We understand we need to be proactive about offering curriculum guidance, so your academic success team members will be there to help you at every step along the way.
  • We understand that online education needs to be seamless and accessible, so we work with Canvas, an intuitive learning management system that lets students access coursework from nearly any device, from pretty much anywhere in the world.
  • We understand that people learn from their surroundings, so we developed Dreamscape Learn, a platform that enables you to virtually navigate situations you’re learning about in your classes.

Both online and on-campus programs provide you similar benefits: a valuable education, personal enrichment and improved earning power. Add in the flexibility of online learning, and it might be just what you’re looking for.

Get started on your transfer process to ASU Online today.

What makes for a credible online college?

In our survey, 63% of respondents said that where someone received their education was important or very important to them in their assessment of a candidate. Hiring managers and recruiters will be aware of the perception of your school, which means where you go could really make a difference in their eyes.

Here are four things to look for when choosing the right online school for you.


About ASU Online

Earn your degree completely online from the nation's most innovative university. ASU Online offers more than 300 degree programs and certificates in high-demand areas such as nursing, engineering, business, education and more. Explore all of our areas of study.

Our offerings include:

  • Elite expertise and research.
  • Innovative curriculum design.
  • Superior student support services.

Learn more at our about us page. And follow ASU Online on Facebook, YouTube, X and Instagram, and connect with us on LinkedIn.

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