Online education is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Everyone from Forbes magazine to some of the leading minds at Stanford have said it will only continue to become a mainstay.
As with any boom like this, companies of all sizes are quick to jump on the bandwagon in hopes of making a name for themselves. The trouble is, a lot of these people are simply out to make money, however they can. In the case of online education, that means lying to people, promising them a degree, taking their money, and giving them nothing.
High school diplomas, GEDs, and college degrees aren’t any good if they aren’t approved and recognized by the right organization. These are documents that carry power with them. Not just anyone can give them out.
Luckily, it’s not too hard to filter out a lot of them. There are a few key red flags to watch out for.
If a website is offering a GED online, they are lying to you. You cannot earn a GED online. Only one company makes the GED test and that is Pearson. They work in conjunction with the American Council on Education to create test standards, grade tests, and issue GED certificates to those who pass.
These tests MUST be taken in person at designated testing sites. There are, however, a number of sites that offer GED practice tests online. These are typically free.
Lack of Accreditation
For a diploma or degree to mean anything, it typically has to come from an accredited institution. Accreditation is a very thorough (and sometimes quite long) process where a school’s educational program is inspected to make sure it meets the right standards.
If a school is accredited, it is essentially recognized by other schools, employers, and the government as being a legitimate source of education. Therefore, a degree from an accredited school is worth much more than a piece of paper.
However, many fake schools will issue degrees and sell diplomas that are worth absolutely nothing. When looking at online schools, check to see that they are accredited by a reputable establishment.
Do Some Research
If you’ve never heard of the school you’re looking into, do some research. Many websites keep regularly updated lists of fake schools and scams. Simply typing the school’s name into Google should help quite a bit.
Online education is a great opportunity that technology has given us. Just because there are people out there to try and ruin it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it. You just need to be careful.