The Career Doctor™

by Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez

Looking for a first job? Thinking of changing careers? Facing a lay-off? The Career Doctor™ is a Larchmont psychologist specializing in career counseling. If you'd like to ask a question of your own, use the anonymous , and she might answer you here. Read more about the Career Doctor here. Contact in ation is here.


Dear Career Doctor:

What do you think of online schools? I have been in the business world for over 23 years, but never went to college. I would like to get a BS and then an MBA because I feel ready for a great change, personally and in business. I am 47. What are your thoughts?


Dear Brad:

I am sure that life and work has taught you a great deal in 47 years, but like most people who never went to college, it sounds like you feel you have missed out by not getting a degree. So, bravo! I think it is great that you want to go back to school.

Online schools are perfect for people who are working full time because of the flexibility. Since there is often no set class time, you can study and do the course work at your own pace, whenever it is convenient. When choosing an online school, however, there are several important caveats:

1. Avoid Diploma Mills

While many accredited institutions offer everything from Associates Degrees to Ph.D.'s online, there are also diploma mills that grant useless degrees for people who just want to hang a diploma on their wall. Any employer who checks credentials or anyone who knows anything about schools will not respect these degrees.

A list of accredited colleges is online at, but I would double check any school by asking who accredited their online division and then checking that accrediting agency on the US Department of Education web site at

2.Consider schools that give credit for life experience. Schools like Empire State, which is part of the New York State University system, offer credit for areas of competency. Since you have been in business for many years, you may be able to turn that knowledge, for example, into college credits. This may help you get your degree more quickly.

3. Be Realistic about the Benefits

If you want to learn for learning's sake, or if you want to gain specific skills and knowledge to help you do your job better, online schools can definitely help! However, an online MBA will probably not open the door to good jobs at most companies, especially for someone over 40.

So, if you have specific career goals in mind, check these out very carefully to see whether an online degree will help you attain them.

There are many ways to make great changes in a life, and I encourage you to pursue your goals and higher education. I just don't want you to invest a great deal of time, money and energy and then be disappointed.

The Career Doctor



The Career Doctor™ is Larchmont psychologist and career counselor, Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez.

Her office is at 90 Beechtree Drive in Larchmont, 914-834-1982.

For more in ation go to