Sep 2 2014
The answer is that online programs vary in quality, and the respect they receive from employers and other educational institutions also varies from program to program. If this sounds confusing, don’t despair. Traditional degrees are no different. Whether you want to attend school online or on-site, they key to finding the right program is to examine the school that offers it. One way to do this is to do an Internet search for the school and then for the program that interests you. Look for information on accreditation, graduation rates, job-placement rates, formal complaints that have been filed against the school and even action taken against the school by state or federal government agencies. The data you gather can help you narrow your search and avoid scams.
Another way to choose a school is to go about it exactly like you would go about choosing a bricks-and-mortar school. In fact, a bricks-and-mortar school with a long and respectable history may be the best choice, since many of them offer select programs online. For example, the University of Cincinnati, which operates a well-respected medical school and has one of the top classics departments in the entire world, offers a Masters in criminal justice. Students can study from anywhere, and the program is offered on a full- or part-time basis. UC’s program is hardly a poor substitute for a face-to-face degree; it came in third on U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of criminology schools in the United States. Many well-respected schools offer some programs that can be completed online, and a search of their course catalogs can provide options you may not have known you had.