Have you ever wanted to enlist in an online degree program? The problem with these is that they’re so many out there. That makes it very difficult to know which are legit and which are illegitimate.

Picking the wrong one will result in you losing your money on a piece of paper that isn’t accredited.

But that’s why we’re here. We’re going to tell you all about the 7 ways to know if an online degree program is legit. Don’t go anywhere as we’ll start right now.

Source: APKPure.com

1. Research the Program’s Accreditation

This is by far the easiest way to know if you’re dealing with a legit or illegitimate online degree program.

When it comes to the level of accreditation, there are two that you need to know about it – institutional and specialized.

The former refers to colleges and universities while the latter focuses on specific schools that focus on specific disciplines.

But how do you find out about this? It’s very simple, really. All you need to do is simply go to the program’s website and try to find the accreditation section.

This will most likely be on the “About” or similar page of the website. But your work isn’t done yet as you will need to verify these claims.

The easiest way to do that is to visit the website of the Department of Education.

2. Do More Research

The Department of Education isn’t the only official organization that accredits universities, schools, and programs. Another official body is the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, and you will also need to double verify here.

With the council, you can easily find a list of accredited institutions. This list will be shown on their website. If the particular school isn’t accredited by CHEA, then it is most likely not a legitimate program.

Source: Franklin University

3. Don’t Fall For It

By now you already know the best way to know if a school is legit. And many illegitimate programs will try everything in their power to persuade you otherwise.

They will promise you a deal that is too good to refuse. Most programs have a process of elimination that determines who gets into the program.

Programs that don’t have such a process are most likely illegitimate. Not only that, but there is yet another way to know if one such program isn’t what they claim to be.

The biggest thing that gives it away is when they tell you they will send you the degree by mail. Seeing as you will be attending online classes to get the degree, it’s only natural that you would get the degree by mail.

But this isn’t common practice among credited schools and universities.

Fortunately, there are more signs that give you the bigger picture. For example, if you notice that the program is somewhat easy then do know you’re dealing with something shady.

4. They Don’t Have a Physical Location

Regardless of the program is online or offline, the school will still need to show proof of existence. The easiest way to do that is to have their address posted on their website.

If you notice that there is no such thing, then do know you’re dealing with a shady institution. Not only that but sometimes these schools give out a fake address that leads to nowhere. They will put their PO box and address but nothing happens when you search for it.

Legitimate programs clearly state the location of campuses, offices, and other contact information that you’d need. Make sure to visit https://www.gcu.edu/degree-programs/mba-marketing for more details.

Source: APKPure.com

5. Are There Student Services?

Yet another sign of relief in knowing that the school offers student services. Student services can be anything from advisory services to disability services.

You’d be surprised how many actually exist. While that doesn’t mean the program should have every service, having one or two will generally put the program in a good light.

What a program should have as a bare minimum is a library of some sort. While it is harder for an online school to have a library, many do a good job of dedicating a section of their website and turning it into a place where students can download and read books.

The easiest way to know if a school has student services is to take a look at their website. If they are legit then they will show the services on their website.

6. Always Look At the Name

The easiest thing that gives out fake degrees is the name. Not the name of the program or school, but the name of the accreditation commission.

If you’re planning on enlisting with an online program that gives out degrees in dentistry, then make sure to confirm the accreditation commission that’s they state on their website.

The official name is the American Dental Association. If the name doesn’t match with the official name, then you’re probably dealing with an illegitimate institution.

If you don’t know the name of the accreditation commission for a particular field, then you can do a quick Google search to find it.

Source: SUNY Potsdam

7. Reviews and Forums

If you’re dealing with an illegitimate degree but have no idea about it, then do know you’re not the first one that they’ve done this to.

People that have had such experience with illegitimate programs will most likely tell the world about it. Thus, looking at forum posts or reviews about the particular school will give you a pretty good indication of how legit they claim to be.

Word spreads pretty fast on the internet, so if a particular program claims to be legit but isn’t, then you will quickly find out about it on the internet.


There are tons of ways to know if you’re dealing with legit or illegitimate institutions that offer degrees in your field. The best way is to find out if they are accredited. Even so, other ways exist. From forum posts to student services, do your research, and prevent doing a costly mistake.