Online degrees are becoming increasingly common these days. Due to the flexibility and convenience, more and more students are earning bachelors, masters and in some cases PhDs online. In fact, a 2011 survey by Pew Research found that “77 percent of colleges and universities reported offering courses for which the instruction takes place exclusively in an online environment.” Let’s now discuss the pros and cons of hiring a candidate with an online degree to better determine if it’s the right move for your company.

The Pros

Because students earning their degrees online typically have minimal supervision, it requires a certain amount of motivation and self-discipline to stay on track. Without direct guidance from an instructor, students must ensure they complete their work on time and make passing grades.

For this reason, candidates with online degrees are likely to have a go-getter mentality and can probably function well independently without constant supervision. Basically, you shouldn’t have to hold their hands throughout projects, and they’ll have the self-discipline to complete tasks and meet deadlines.

Another advantage is that you’ll have access to a larger talent pool when you consider hiring a candidate with an online degree. Because of the large volume of people who are pursuing a higher education through this route, you may limit yourself if you only consider candidates who attended a brick and mortar institution. Basically, giving candidates with online degrees a chance increases your odds of finding top talent.

The Cons

The primary reason not to entertain the idea of an online degree is because some institutions fail to uphold educational standards. Unfortunately there are online schools that are not much more than ‘diploma mills’ where there is little selectivity. A quick Google search can usually find these cases in which degrees are essentially purchased, and not earned. Under this type of scenario, the candidate may lack the necessary qualifications, and you have no way of determining their actual skill level.

You could also make the case that studying online lacks some of the hands-on qualities of attending a brick and mortar classroom. And in some cases, these graduates may lack some of the social skills that those with traditional degrees have.


When you add everything up, it’s usually in your best interest to at least consider candidates with online degrees. In this day and age, the vast majority of hiring managers feel that an online degree is acceptable or makes no difference when compared to a traditional degree.

However, you should always do some research on a person’s college or university to validate it. This includes checking the school’s credibility and certifications, as well as the candidate’s coursework such as hours and assignments before making your final decision.

If you need help finding talented employees or other staffing solutions, please contact the staffing experts at PrideStaff Mid-Cities today to see how we can help.

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