Article - Distance Learning Credentials:

With the ability to keep working, take care of a family, and receive a quality education without relocating, distance learning degrees have continued to increase in popularity. Unfortunately, the Internet also provides a venue for bogus diploma mills sprouting up to make money on the sale of fake degrees. In a report published in 2003, USA Today says 400 such businesses are currently in operation, and the numbers are increasing as these dubious businesses continue to make approximately $500 million annually.

Nevertheless, many colleges and universities are now offering legitimate degrees and diplomas. Unlike the mills, institutions of higher learning are doing everything possible to provide the same quality of education offered to students in the traditional learning environment. With access to video lectures, online courses, innovative online testing methods, and virtual library facilities, those seeking distance learning degrees can rest assured their diplomas have been justly earned. Unfortunately, many employers’ views have been tainted because of the influx of fake degrees.

In an effort to change the negative perception, the U.S. National Education Board has established 6 accreditation agencies to evaluate and provide accreditation to the higher learning institutions meeting the minimum criteria for a quality education, thus differentiating between the bogus degree programs. For example, the Distance education and training council provides accreditation for those institutes solely dedicated to online degree programs. The agency is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

For the students looking for specific programs of specialization, various associations are available to assess the excellence of these distance learning degrees and grant the necessary accreditation to qualifying schools. For example, accounting programs are scrutinized and accredited by the International Association for Management Education, and health programs answer to the evaluations of the American Health Management Association. Only the agencies recognized by CHEA or the Department of Education have the authority to grant institutional accreditation.

So, to verify the educational quality of any institution, students, parents, and potential employers should be concerned about accreditation status. If any college or university has that coveted seal of approval, it means distance learning degrees have met the same basic standards of excellence with the support and facilities necessary to adequately offer online degree programs. Conversely, specialized accreditation concentrates on evaluating the course curriculum based upon the established standards of the university or college.

Accreditation assures employers, parents and students that a respective college awarding degrees has undergone and passed a stringent test of excellence in offering quality education in the respective areas of training. On the other hand, diploma mills and fake colleges don’t meet the same standards of education imposed by the agencies since they don’t possess any legitimate accreditation. Thus courses taken by prospective employees that are accredited by the respective agencies would have met standards imposed on the respective specialized areas.

Nevertheless, in the end, it all comes down to the discretion of the employer. He or she must decide whether potential employees have satisfactorily completed an online degree program. Hopefully, with accreditation through a well recognized agency, the confusion can be eliminated, and a valid resume will make it to the short list of excellent candidates with their distance learning degrees as an impressive symbol of fortitude and dedication to personal achievement.

Find resources on online education degree and other distance learning degrees and legit colleges and universities for credible online education.

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