While courses such as safety, food science, hygiene and business are easy to teach online, hands-on cooking is much more difficult, so look for a program that has live web-cam cooking demonstrations. You may also want to look for online cooking courses that pair you with local in-person tutors or that require internships.
As with any other education program, you should look for an online cooking program that is accredited. One legitimate accrediting body is the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation, which accredits online programs such as Keiser University, Le Cordon Bleu and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Schools that hold this accreditation have had their faculty, staff and curriculum thoroughly reviewed. In addition to the school being certified, all faculty should hold certifications and have significant industry experience.
Look at the program's graduation and employment rates, and seek a school where most of the students graduate and hold chef or cooking jobs. These numbers show you whether or not graduates of the school are considered employable, and it reveals the extent of networking opportunities if you enroll in the program. Additionally, ask if there are career services to help place you in an internship or a job after graduation.