A person who would like to begin a career in tech or computer support may ask, “Do employers look at degrees in tech support from online schools differently than campus-based schools?” This answer is important because a person would not want to use their time, money and energy unnecessarily. Knowing whether or not an online degree will get a person where they want to be in a career is an important step in choosing an educational institution.
Education Requirements for a Tech Support Job
Each employer has different requirements for education for tech support workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the education requirements range from a high school diploma to a bachelor’s degree. Some advanced tech support roles may require a master’s degree. Some employers hire people who can demonstrate their tech support skills and pay for them to earn a degree in a relevant major.
Employer Opinions of Online Degrees
Employers are more comfortable with online degrees today than they ever have been in the past. According to U.S. News and World Report, most employers accept online degrees. This is especially true for tech degrees and certifications. Employers understand that in the world of tech, almost everything is done online. They know that the online learning process for tech support and related degrees can be just as thorough and professional as a campus-based program. It will depend on the company. Even within a company that is generally accepting of online degrees, there may be an individual hiring manager or human resources specialist who is more wary of online schools.
Accreditation Is Important
When it comes to the quality of an online school, accreditation matters. Employers will look at the credentials of the schools and their accrediting from third-party agencies. If the online program meets stringent quality standards and is accredited by at least one respectable organization in the field of higher learning, an employer is more likely to look at the school with a positive attitude.
The for-profit versus nonprofit status of a school matters. This is true for both online schools and campus-based programs. If there are two great candidates for a job, and one got their degree or certification from a for-profit school, and the other one got theirs from a nonprofit school, the employer is much more likely to choose the candidate who went to the nonprofit institution. Employers are usually aware of which online programs are simply diploma mills versus ones that provide an intensive educational program.
Employers Might Not Realize How a Degree Was Earned
It is not always obvious that an online school is an online school. The subject might not come up until an in-person interview takes place or the human resources department verifies transcripts. During an interview, a candidate could explain their choice to attend the online school, how they researched the program and what they learned. Doing this might erase any concerns that the hiring manager or human resources specialist has about the individual’s education. A candidate should also explain why they chose an online learning environment. A good reason might be that the individual had a full-time job requiring a 30-minute commute in each direction as well as family responsibilities, and the campus-based programs were incompatible with their work schedule.
Highlight the Benefits of Online Education
Candidates can turn online education into an attractive feature for their application. Demonstration of the ability to work a full-time job, take a full course load and complete a degree shows an employer that a person is able to work hard, be productive, use their time wisely, manage multiple activities and complete activities by their deadlines. Most employers would be excited to hire a candidate who is flexible, has a solid work ethic and is able to handle multiple complex projects at the same time. According to WTOP, people with online degrees usually have the same desirable skill set as a person who studied the same topic in a campus-based program.
Online Degrees Are Rarely the Employer’s Biggest Concern
Employers usually have more important things to consider than whether or not a person’s degree was earned in an online learning environment versus a campus-based environment. Employers will likely put a heavier weight on a person’s ability to work well on a team, follow directions, perform appropriate work-related tasks, provide good customer service and communicate with clarity and respect. If a candidate fits the employer’s needs, has the required skills for the job and earned their degree online, the online degree is likely to be a non-issue.
The Level of Degree May Matter
There is some favoritism in earning a master’s degree or certification online compared to earning a bachelor’s degree online. Entry into campus-based bachelor’s degree programs is usually more competitive than an online degree program. A person who earned their bachelor’s degree on campus then earned a certification or master’s degree online has distinct advantages in the application process. In a CNN survey, 83 percent of employers said that the online degree is as valid as a campus-based degree. These employers said that they are more concerned about the quality of the graduates, the reputation of the educational institution and the accreditation of the college or university than whether it is an online program or a campus-based one.
Some online schools are highly rated, while others get consistently poor ratings from students who have attended their programs, but the same is also true for campus-based schools. It pays to do one’s due diligence in researching the institution and asking hiring managers or recruiters what their impressions are of different online and campus-based schools. Knowing if employers look at degrees in tech support from online schools differently than campus-based schools is helpful for a person who wants to make an informed decision about how to invest their limited time and money for their future career.