The respect an online degree receives from a prospective employer is dependent upon the institution's accreditation. In the early 2000s, diploma mills were churning out unaccredited degrees to people who hoped to buy their way into a new job. In recent years, employers have started looking at familiarity and accreditation of the online school to determine if an applicant has a legitimate degree.
Graduates of online degree programs will find that most employers respect their degree and value the initiative it takes to complete an online degree. Some employers still prefer traditional degrees from on-campus colleges and universities, but as more employers become familiar with distance education, an online degree will start to hold the same weight as a traditional degree.