College graduates, Continuing Education, Required, Unemployment, University & College - Written by on Friday, September 30, 2011 11:05 - 0 Comments

Online Education Just for Weirdos? Human Resources Guru Gives Us the Insider View.


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Online education is not just for yahoos anymore. We talked with Kellie Auld to get the inside scoop about how employers view online degrees.

Why we think Auld provides valuable insight: She is an Employment Relationship Consultant at Simply Communicating and a Expert. She is also a Certified Human Resources Professional, Certificate in Human Resources Management, Certified Adult Continuing Educator, Provincial Instructor’s Diploma, DDI Certified facilitator. She specializes in Employment Relationships – Helping organizations to improve the employer/employee relationship through education (workshops), orientations and on-boarding, development of employee handbooks and policies, and performance management coaching.

Kellie Auld

Kellie Auld

  • WA: Can you tell me what your experience is with evaluating employees with online degrees/education/training?

    KA: I have 
    worked in the field of human resources for over 12 years and during that time have done a great deal of recruiting.  Depending on the level of position a person is applying for, the educational background can be a determination in a hiring decision. If certification or a degree of some sort was required for the position, I would ask for transcripts and would certainly ensure that the educational facility met certain standards.  If the university/college/learning centre was certified; it didn’t matter to me if the employee achieved the learning on line or not.  Only that they did indeed complete.Prior to working in human resources, I worked at an educational facility myself as an instructor and course developer.  My role was to assist folks who had recently become unemployed and who did not have any formal education to find employment.  In some cases, a recommendation of continued education was made.  I also worked as a manager in a policing community and had the opportunity to develop training materials as well as assist in selecting candidates for hire.  The training I did at that time was related to the field of work and what the candidate brought to the table in the way of post-secondary education wasn’t a consideration.
  • WA         Is there a difference in salary/rate for those with online degrees vs. from traditional background?KA: Not really.  As I say; if the degree or certification is from an accredited source, it doesn’t change the value in my mind.  I am just cautious (and I can only speak for my recruitment style) in learning about the credentials of the institution the candidate achieved his or her education from.  The salary difference is really dependent on how the candidate negotiates.It also depends to some degree, what kind of related experience he or she brings.  A degree in and of itself (except in certain circumstances that require a specific degree) may not impact salary in some cases.  I know lots of IT folks, as an example, who do not have the bachelor of science degree typically required but they have enough experience that the degree could be overlooked.
  • WA         Do you have problem placing or convincing clients of online training merits?KA: Not at all.  If the institution is credible, the degree is credible.  It is not uncommon for folks to get degrees on line for a number of reasons.  We have families to take care of, some of us are still working while trying to obtain our degrees, we live very busy lives and going to an external campus to obtain our education is becoming increasingly more challenging.  This is an excellent option for today’s busy lives. 
  • WA        What tips or advice would you provide to unemployed workers looking to get additional training/classes online?KA: Getting your education still takes time and money regardless of where you obtain it.  Be sure you are spending your money wisely – research the educational facility – talk to other people who have gone that route themselves and find out what some of your time management challenges might be.  Be sure not to take on too much of a course load – being overly ambitious can sometimes create such a heavy burden on you that your personal life suffers and you may want to quit.Take one or two courses to get the pace down in terms of what you can do realistically.  Be sure you know what you want the end result to be.  In other words, be sure that there will ultimately be work in the area you have decided to further your education in.  We have interests and taking courses for the sake of learning more is never a waste – but if you are seeing employment as a result of your learning – choose wisely.Most post secondary educational facilities will have counsellors or advisors that you can talk with.  Basically, do your homework before you invest.
  • WA       Does it make a difference if the degree is undergrad or grad?KA: For the most part, I would say no.  If you are going to teach or become a counselor a Master’s or higher may be required; but for the most part, an undergrad (or Bachelor’s degree) is accepted quite readily.  This is a situation in which salary could become a factor but only if required for the job.  In other words, if a Master’s or higher is not required, it won’t get you more money because you have it.
  • WA         How is this perception changing?KA: I think it’s improving because of the costs and time involved to further your education in the typical brick and mortar facilities.  If you mean having a degree or certification, diplomas, etc., is changing, I would say it is because the job market is so much more competitive and having a degree now isn’t what it used to be.  A degree is similar to what just having grade 12 used to be years ago.

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