Professional looking websites stating that you can earn a diploma or degree online through their distance learning courses scam many students each year. Eager students who are looking for the best way to obtain an education are swayed by the fancy websites spewing statistics and testimonials. Many of these legitimate looking websites are merely covers for diploma or degree mills. A diploma or degree from a mill or other unaccredited institution will not get you far when you try to transfer credits or find a professional job. Avoid distance learning scams by knowing what to look for in a distance learning program before you apply.
Decent distance learning courses should be accredited. There are six regional accreditation agencies recognized by the Department of Education. Schools not accredited by these agencies may claim to have state recognition or accreditation. This is not the same as being accredited by a Department of Education approved agency. These schools are recognized as being educational businesses, and distance learning courses they offer probably are not transferable. When researching distance learning courses, call the school and verify that they are accredited by an agency approved by the Department of Education.
Watch out for websites that claim to offer online degrees through a small number of distance learning courses. A true degree or diploma requires at least a year of work. These organizations offer a handful of courses, charge you a bunch of money, and send you a degree or diploma after a few months. These are useless in the real world because you have purchased a degree or diploma and not earned it. It is also illegal to use a diploma from most of these mills because they are not accredited and you did not complete appropriate course work to earn them. Even if you innocently use these for future employment or advanced education, they can get you into trouble. Just remember that anything that seems too good to be true probably is.
Pay attention to which sites flood you with spam emails. Many websites require you to register before you can access certain information about distance learning courses. Then you start receiving spam email encouraging you to enroll. This a red flag for a diploma or degree mill. Reputable colleges and universities do not need to beg students to enroll; they are turning students away. You also need to double check any university that has a name similar or just like an accredited, reputable university. Scammers know how eager students are to receive degrees from well-known universities and will name play when naming their fake distance learning school. When applying for distance learning courses, do your homework before you send any personal information or money.
Watch out for schools that claim to be international. Many times these schools have no permanent address or phone number making them hard to contact if you have problems. They also don't offer accredited degrees worth anything in the workplace. When searching distance learning courses, it is always best to choose a school located in the country you reside. Most distance learning schools will be legitimate and offer a good education, but do not jump feet-first into the distance learning pool without a little research.