Online Master's Programs Help Students Climb Corporate Ladder

Grad students say their online courses began paying dividends before they even completed their degrees.

Nurses pursuing online degrees can quickly implement newly learned care techniques to the workplace.

Nurses pursuing online degrees can quickly implement newly learned care techniques to the workplace.

By + More

So valuable, in fact, that he was promoted in November 2012, a month before collecting his degree.

But you don't need to work for a multinational corporation to benefit from the online degree format. Dalene Erickson, a daycare provider, earned her master's in early childhood education from the University of North Dakota without leaving her home or business in Maryland.

"It was online or nothing," Erickson told U.S. News last year, adding that her coursework started paying off right away. As word spread of her educational pursuits, the daycare operation's wait list lengthened.

[Avoid these 10 mistakes online students make.]

While the parents of Erickson's charges seem indifferent to whether she earned her master's online or on campus, some employers are still leery of the quality of online degree programs.

But that perception is gradually changing as more marquee names venture into the online learning arena, experts say. Macias says his own employer had no issue with his online degree, as long as it was from an accredited program.

"I don't feel like in 15 years it's going to be as big of a deal as it may have been 5 years ago, or even is today," Macias says. "But I think [as] the graduates of these [online programs], we have to prove that theory out."

This story is excerpted from the U.S. News Best Graduate Schools 2014 guidebook, which features in-depth articles, rankings, and data.