The first question to answer is whether qualifications which are achieved through the Internet can be recognised by the workplace. In theory, all learning must be acknowledged. This is normally seen in training manuals, for example, where information about a particular topic is mentioned or described briefly. It’s also mentioned in employment contracts and employee handbooks.
However, it’s not actually implemented in many cases. There are a few cases where it might make sense, such as where there’s a requirement to demonstrate knowledge of a specific language. It’s also used in certain situations, such as for students who are completing English language or grammar lessons online. When studying for examinations, an element of trust is required between student and teacher, and it’s sometimes impossible to get that when it’s delivered via distance learning. But generally speaking, there’s very little regulation concerning the manner in which learners learn or interact with the study material online.
In terms of what employers look for, the simple answer is yes. Any distance education study must be accredited by a governing body. That body can be the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), which were responsible for setting out criteria for accredited courses. As the UK’s most responsible and respected academic body, it’s an excellent place to start your search for suitable courses.
A further benefit of studying via a properly accredited program is that it will provide you with a degree or certificate, which will usually have greater weight than any other attribute. This is because it will be a recognized piece of educational record, which employers view as being more reliable than other documents. By studying via a properly accredited program, you’ll also be guaranteed to gain a qualification that is recognized. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to seek a list of approved providers of distance learning courses in your chosen field.
Another consideration is whether a course needs to be specified in the contract of employment. Some industries, such as the NHS, require that courses are provided and taken under their prescribed conditions. Others, including finance and insurance companies, may be more liberal in their requirements, although generally they are satisfied that the education provided by a properly accredited provider meets the necessary criteria.
Employers who are providing training or education to staff members should also look for accreditations. It can be a difficult task to find all of the certifications that are required by the employers in this situation. However, the HR department should have a list of recommended providers, either through the employer or recommended by outside sources. It is then a case of contacting them and enquiring about their accreditation status. If it is found that the organization in question is not accredited, then it’s usually an indication that they are not providing the type of education that is required.
Whether you’re looking for work experience or a career in education, getting a proper certification will help you stand out from your peers. Therefore, make sure that you are studying under an appropriately accredited online course. You will then have achieved full professional status and be able to start your own company, should you wish to do so. Alternatively, you could continue your studies at home or at another institution.