The notion that education is the key to a successful career is as true today as it was when school libraries were using the Dewey Decimal System. What has changed, however, is how students are attending—or should we say logging into—college classes.  

Watching a recorded lecture while on lunch break, stirring a simmering risotto, or keeping an eye on a toddler is increasingly becoming students’ preferred method for earning an academic credential. Over one-third of college students were enrolled in at least one online college course in 2019, and this was before the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet the convenience and growing popularity of online degree and certificate programs have left many wondering how valuable online credentials actually are, especially employers.   

Career Benefits of Earning an Online Credential 

There’s no question that employers favor college-educated professionals, with many requiring a four-year degree at a minimum. If someone performs their role well, does it matter how they earned their academic credential? 

Employers are more interested in the competencies a credential denotes than where it originated. By enrolling in online courses, professionals can gain access to resources that may otherwise be unavailable based on their schedule, location, or finances (e.g., expert instruction, up-to-date course content, and a supportive learning environment). In addition, traditional and online programs are often led by the same faculty members who teach the same course content, giving employers even more reason to embrace graduates of online programs. This convenient, cost-effective platform produces more qualified candidates in a tight labor market. All in all, it’s a net gain for employers. 

Identical Instruction and Credentials 

Graduates of online programs often receive the exact same credentials awarded to their on-campus counterparts. Since these credentials make no mention of being “online,” employers tend to initially overlook where they originated (39% of HR managers spend less than a minute on their first look at a resume), and there’s no need for applicants to distinguish between an online and traditional credential on their resume. “The education, knowledge and experience you have in a field of study is what you want to showcase on your resume,” confirmed PrincetonOne President and CEO Dave Campeas. “The true test of your expertise and knowledge will come during the interview.” 

If an employer asks during an interview why you pursued an online credential, be honest. When they hear how you deftly balanced online education and personal and professional responsibilities, they’ll likely be supportive and that much more impressed. However, as is becoming the case with all academic credentials, employers will double-check that your online degree or certificate came from a legitimate institution.  

The Importance of Accreditation 

The credential marketplace has been inundated with badges, licenses, apprenticeships, and micro-credentials in recent years, with nearly one million unique credentials offered in the U.S. alone—967,734, to be exact. Don’t get us wrong; employers are bullish on online education, but now they’re faced with determining the legitimacy of all academic credentials, and they’re not alone.  

Aspiring students must be on the lookout for the rising number of bad actors backed by fake college accreditation agencies. Julie Uranis, vice president of online and strategic initiatives for the University Professional and Continuing Education Association, perfectly sums up the problem. “I could have a credential in cybersecurity,” said Uranis, “but if I got it from an entity that previously was focused on food handling, you have to worry about whether they’re qualified to teach that subject matter.”  

The goal of accreditation is to ensure that the quality of education and training offered by institutions of higher education is acceptable in quality, and it remains the most reliable way to ensure a credential didn’t come from the online equivalent of a mall kiosk. A list of reliable institutional accrediting agencies can be found on the U.S. Department of Education website. Among this list, you’ll find the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the educational accreditor that awarded UT Permian Basin its accreditation. This institutional recognition by SACSCOC confirms our commitment to quality and integrity and to providing effective programs, both online and on-campus, that meet the Commission’s rigorous standards. Rest assured, an academic credential from UT Permian Basin is the real deal.  

Impress Employers With an Online Credential From UT Permian Basin 

Will employers notice your online credential? That depends. Did you earn it from UT Permian Basin?  

UT Permian Basin is one of the top-ranked online colleges in Texas, empowering students through accredited online programs, affordable tuition rates, and a collaborative online learning environment. Over five thousand students from all over the world entrust us with helping them prepare for fulfilling careers, and we’re not about to let them down. We offer numerous online undergraduate and graduate programs, all of which offer instruction of the highest quality and many of which are accredited by specialized accrediting organizations.  

Each of our online programs is designed to provide everything you need to accelerate your career. Whether you’re studying microeconomics in our online BBA in management program or democratization in our online MA in history program, you’ll be working toward a prestigious credential. More importantly, you’ll gain invaluable skills that will serve you long after a stellar interview. When an employer looks over your resume and sees that you’ve earned an academic credential from UT Permian Basin, you can relax knowing that your education has prepared you for every question they could ask.  

Browse our catalog to find the bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or graduate certificate that’ll be the highlight of your resume. When you’re ready, we look forward to welcoming you as UT Permian Basin’s latest Falcon.