What is the Value of a For Profit Degree? – Things to Consider

Your education is absolutely vital to your future, and today one of the best ways to enrich that education and enhance your future is by completing online classes.  These let even the busiest person build up their skills and knowledge and are one of the most groundbreaking aspects of education ever.  But there are two types of schools offering online education.

  • For Profit Schools – These include many of the online only schools like University of Phoenix or Everest College.  They’re run just like a business and usually have investors backing them.
  • Nonprofit Schools – These are the more traditional four year universities that have been around for decades or even centuries.  Schools like UNC Chapel Hill or the University of Utah.  Today most of these schools offer some online programs as well as traditional ones.

More people than ever are enrolling in For Profit schools and earning degrees.  They’ve helped level the playing field and make education much more affordable and accessible.  But what’s the value of a for profit degree when you get down to it?  That really depends on a few things.

  • The main thing that will influence the value of your degree is whether or not it carries accreditation.  If the school has been accredited, your degree will be worth a lot more than if it hasn’t been.
  • Accreditation is essentially a method of quality control that ensures the school provides a thorough education in a subject.  It’s provided by regional and national governing bodies.
  • If you earn a degree that isn’t accredited, you won’t be able to transfer earned credits and many employers will actually disregard your degree or at least give it less weight than they would otherwise.  With an accredited degree you’ll be able to transfer credits and find employment easier.

In short, the value of your for profit degree largely depends upon the accreditation level of the school.  Some other things that will vary the value include:

  • Employers – Some employers don’t mind hiring employees who have earned a degree through a for-profit school while others will.  It’s a matter of opinion in many cases, but one worth thinking about.
  • Your Job – If you’re already employed and looking for a way to hopefully advance your career, a degree from a for profit school could help give you the qualifications that you need to get the promotion.  At the very least you’ll learn new skills to use on the job and enhance your performance.

So what’s the bottom line?  Mainly that there is a huge amount of variance in the quality of a for profit school.  It’s much like shopping for a car or a home, really.  You need to take the time to really investigate a specific school before you enroll if you want to ensure you’re earning a degree that is actually worth something. Remember these basic steps:

  • Look up the schools accreditation first and foremost.  Regional accreditation is often considered the most important, but national accreditation is respected as well.  If you have doubts, find out more about the specific accrediting body.
  • If you’re planning on transferring to a traditional college, be sure that they will accept credit transfers from the school.  The accreditation info is usually enough to determine whether or not this is the case.
  • Do a quick bit of research to find out just what the school’s reputation is.  Some for profit schools are actually held in high regard, while others are looked at as hardly more than a diploma mill.  A quick Google search will turn up a good bit of information on this.
  • If you’re employed and hoping for an eventual promotion, you can always find out if your employer’s opinions on a school are good or not.

Keep these points in mind and you’ll find a for profit school that is worth enrolling in.