Perceptions about degrees from Kaplan / DeVry / etc?

I’m an establshed knowledgable professional with over 10 years industry experience. The one thing my résumé lacks is the ‘education’ section - I have no college education to speak of.

I’m thinking of going with one of the online guys like Kaplan or Devry or University of Phoenix, pretty much just to get that bullet. What I want to know is - is my résumé better with a degree from one of these schools, or without?

Anyone here have a degree from one of these schools? What were your experiences, both in getting the degree & in subsequent job hunts?


I’ve done a lot of hiring – and I wouldn’t take such a credential seriously in evaluating a candidate.

But is it better or worse than no degree at all (in your opinion, of course)?

And, as a tangent, what would you think of a “Working on XYZ degree at a real school” line?


It really depends on the position. If I were hiring a network technician, I’d definitely prefer a degree from one of those institutions to nothing at all. If I were hiring a network engineer, it’d be a little tough to justify going after someone without a bachelor’s degree.

I’d suggest that the OP try to find an online program at a more traditional university. If you can be flexible about the type of program you want, it shouldn’t be too hard to find one, especially if you’re already committed to paying private tuition fees anyway.

Accredited, brick and mortar universities offer online programs as well. For instance, Florida State University offers both Bachelors and Masters degree programs online.

I’m currently pursuing a degree online and had no problem finding a good job in a field related to my major. If anything, it takes an extra level of discipline to pursue a degree online, as a good bit of the study is self-directed. Both my last and current employer have understood and appreciated that fact. But, as mentioned already it depends on the area. Technical positions will obviously want to see that in addition to the education, you’ve got hands-on experience. It sounds like that part won’t be a problem for you.

Basically, online learning is what you make of it. In a lot of ways it’s a lot harder than getting a degree on campus, and a lot more challenging academically. However, people have a lot of misconceptions about that, so if you’re worried about that image look around for an established Univeristy offering a program you’re interested in online.


Because I started in academia and I’m a snob.

Also, because the field I work in isn’t technically oriented. I work with writers and editors, and would expect anyone I hire to have a “regular” BA reflecting a liberal arts eduction. For an art/graphics position, I wouldn’t necessarily require a BA, but would expect relevant training – it’s never come up that someone has had an online degree, I’m not sure how I’d react to it.


I’d also expect a candidate to be able to spell “education.”


Online degree programs are not confined to technical programs. You still wind up with a ‘regular’ BA. Is it a problem with accreditation? My school is SACS accredited. Do you feel that the online class structure is not as effective? What is it about a degree completed through distance learning that makes it seem ‘less’ to you? I’m having a hard time following.

So you’re saying you wouldn’t hire me as a technical writer? I have no BA: I came up through the hardware world and have a technologist’s diploma. But I write well and am well-read. Do you have a ‘challenge test’ for those who don’t have a BA? :slight_smile:

Earthworm Jim, all of those degrees are from known for-profit, open-enrollment institutions. If you’re in the tech industry, especially, you will likely gain an edge from an education there. twickster presents a real barrier, though - some people will look down on those schools. But conversely, a manager who believes in people getting no-nonsense education without streaking coeds and keg parties might appreciate your moxie in pursuing a degree later in life. I think you can spin it at the interview stage. “Hey, I was doing well, making money, but I wanted to challenge myself further.”

I would say if you’re trying to gain an edge for a new position, you might be better off looking at an online program at a brick-and-mortar as Spectre and XJETGIRLX have suggested. The real power in the DeVry, et al type of institutions is when you are in an organization where you might get a raise or make yourself eligible for a new position with a degree (UoP found a niche market with MBAs for this purpose).

Check around with professionals in your field. Do you have professional organizations? Maybe you can talk to someone who’s been in the field and get a couple of opinions. I certainly am in the camp that any education is better than none. Just make sure your money is going to good use. And it’s a school that people have heard of - diploma mills are becoming a real problem and even a new school might raise flags.

I’ve done quite a bit of hiring for technical jobs. Some of the hires with DeVry-type degrees worked out well, and others didn’t know their butt from a hole in the ground. The *impression * I get is that if someone pays for your training there, you’re going to get a degree, but I don’t know. On the positive side, as Hippy Hollow mentioned, it may tell me that you thought enough to better your education that you went through the expense and effort of getting that degree.

Note: Not that a bachelors degree is any great predictor either.

Nope, I would start by looking at experience and clips. I’m just saying I don’t consider online only degrees in the same category as “regular” degrees.

Keep in mind, kids, this may be a function of my fogeyhood – I’m 51, and “when I was a girl…” these would be equated with diploma mills.

To me it is not so much the online nature of DeVry, UoP, etc. as it is the for-profit, open enrollment nature of them. If you are interested primarily in the learning, either type of school will probably do for the motivated student. But since you seem primarily interested in adding a valuable credential to your resume, I’d say an online (or online + some classroom) program through an established university would be a better investment of your time and money. To someone who’s hiring, it shows not only that you’ve learned something, but that you’ve gone through more of a selection process.

Probably Twickster wouldn’t be hiring technical writers anyway so it’s a moot point. Regardless, I imagine she’s often in the position of having so many applicants that she needs a quick way to thin the pile of resumes, and, unfortunately, rejecting those without degrees is a quick way of doing that. I can see why it would be a major consideration in a writing job.

I make a point of not going to any school, hiring any lawyer, or searching for an effective home/carpet cleaner that advertises during Maury Povich’s “My Teenage Daughter Molested My Dog and Now My Dog is My Daughter’s Babie’s Daddy” episode.

Hehehe. “Babie”.

My rule is that if a school has to advertise, then you’re probably not dealing with a quality institution.

But that’s not to say anything about specific schools. Devry’s been around a long time and has name recognition, so that has to count for something. There’s a school here in South Florida that trains medical assistants, and their commercials feature student testimonials that basically announce “Hey! This is where losers go!” I wouldn’t put Devry in the same category as a low-budget operation like this.

If you didn’t have experience and you were a trying to build your resume from scratch, I would advise against a place like Devry. But since you do have lots of experience, I would say go for it, with the recommendation to look at continuing education programs at more selective schools. Devry could always be a back-up.

When I was at Sheridan College taking electronics, we had a few people join the class from RCC (Radio College of Canada) and DeVry. The impression I got was that courses at RCC and DeVry weren’t as good quality as the three-year programs at Sheridan and the other community colleges, but that was simply an impression; I don’t know whether that was true or not.

And, of course, that was twenty years ago. :slight_smile:

Doesn’t that hold for a lot of things? Any car dealer with the word “Honest” in its name isn’t. Girls who have to write ‘sexy’ on their butts aren’t. Countries that need to call themselves democratic aren’t. :slight_smile: