LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - How far can you go with an online degree?
According to the Associated Press, 53 percent of recent college grads (those under 25) are either jobless or underemployed. Many have had to accept "survival jobs", or jobs not within their preferred profession or at a level below their training, to simply get by.
In the competitive job market a degree is considered by many as a necessity. And more and more degree seekers are turning to the web.
Research suggests employers are warming up to the idea of online degrees. The University of Phoenix Little Rock Campus Director, Randy McCormick, says the difference between their online and traditional programs is minimal.
"Our students hold on to specific skills not to simply hold on to a current job, but to really help them prepare for that future career," says McCormick.
A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management asked more than 400 hiring managers about online degrees and 87 percent agreed that online degrees are viewed more favorably than they were in the early 2000's. But Employment agencies say employers still have stipulations.
"As far as the hands on, you just don't get that with the online degrees," says Brett Walker of Human Resources Personnel Agency in Little Rock.
Walker and business partner Lance Click work primarily with manufacturing companies, which prefer candidates with hands-on experience. And if a candidate has an online degree, most employers want to know about accreditation.
"With a technical position such as engineering they usually want a firm accreditation," says Click.
Walker and Click say other fields that require less hands-on experience tend to look at online degree candidates more often. They also say internships play a big role in the job search.
"What companies are you involved with, while you were in school...and it really makes the difference," says Click.
According to the University of Phoenix, their most popular online degree programs are business, information technology and criminal justice.