Is an online degree worth the expense? More importantly, is an online degree worth the time it will require. Obviously these questions are difficult to answer. Getting an online degree can be very beneficial, but there are pitfalls to avoid, just like there are in getting a degree from a more traditional institution.
There are two things that can go wrong with an online degree. First if you get a degree that doesn’t teach you any skills, you will have a hard time finding a job–or a hard time keeping a job. Second, if you get a degree from an organization that isn’t well recognized, you may find it difficult to get a job–even if you have the necessary skills.
One of the best ways to avoid both of these problems is to get an online degree from a school that is established and has a strong presence offline. Generally you want to look at large state universities because they will generally have the most clout and the least chance of having a bad reputation. Having an online degree from Washington State University is significantly better than showing a degree from the University of Phoenix and dealing with its reputation issues.
You need to be careful to choose a school that will give you a valuable degree and a recognizable degree. Online degrees can be well worth it–especially if they let you return to school without quitting your day job or dealing with long inconvenient commutes. However, like any degree, the value you get out of it depends on what you put into it and you need to be careful to choose a school where you can perform well and that has a reputation you want to put on your resume for the rest of your life.