I'll give you my two cents as someone who is teaching in the program. But first, to give you an idea of where I'm coming from, I'll load up the necessary caveats up front. I'm also assuming for the purposes of the discussion that you're in Virginia.
1. Any terminal master's program is probably not ideal if you plan to pursue a doctorate down the road. If you can get into a PhD program that will meet your aspirations professionally and personally (eg you have the sufficient GRE, GPA, and recommendations to get into a doctoral program that places students in the sorts of institutions you want to ultimately work at), and you are in a position to immediately pursue a PhD, you should do so without getting a master's degree first. Even under the best of circumstances, the transferability of credit from an MA to a PhD will be limited, and you very well could end up repeating several semesters' worth of work. Besides, if you are unsure about completing the PhD, many, if not most, programs do offer a terminal master's degree option as part of the PhD; if 2-3 years in you decide academia isn't for you, the terminal degree option allows you to leave with something other than a bunch of credits. Definitely ask up-front if this is a possibility though.
2. Terminal master's programs do have a place for aspiring doctoral students who cannot get into the sort of PhD program they want straight out of the BA, due to either grades or GRE scores, or are temporarily unable to relocate to the location of a doctoral program, or wish to have a degree that may have job market value (particularly in the public sector, where education is often tied to step increases in salary) even if they decide not to pursue the PhD in the future. The MA gives students an opportunity to improve both, and demonstrate to admissions committees that they can succeed in graduate-level work. On-campus MAs will also benefit from getting to work more closely with faculty, which should improve their recommendations.
3. All things being equal, you're not going to get the same experience in an online master's program - or an online program of any level - that you would at an in-person program. An online degree can make sense if you are geographically constrained (for example, if you cannot reasonably commute to a school with an in-person degree program), but there is a substantial trade-off.
With all that said, I think if your sole purpose is to get a degree that will improve your career standing outside academia, Tech's online program is a reasonably good choice, particularly in comparison to for-profit alternatives that surely are more expensive for in-state students (I have no idea what the value proposition for out-of-state students is).
But I'm not at all certain that it would be a particularly valuable experience for someone who plans to get a doctorate in the not-too-distant future; an in-person doctoral program is a very different experience than an online MA, and while I doubt that an online MA from Tech (or another respectable, regionally-accredited institution)* would hurt your chances of being admitted at most doctoral programs, unless you developed a strong rapport—the sort of bond that you would probably develop as a TA or RA in-person—with a permanent faculty member who could write a credible recommendation I doubt it would help much either.
My bottom line: if you can spare the time to commute to Blacksburg for the in-person program, or can find a suitable in-person program at another university closer to you (perhaps even in a related field; most of the state universities in Virginia have master's degrees in at least one social science field, if not political science), I think that experience would probably be better preparation for study in a PhD program than an online MA from any institution. Online and distance-education master's degrees do have their place, but I don't think they will help you decide whether to get a PhD or help you much down the road if you were to pursue one.
Anyway, I hope this was helpful and not too long-winded.
* I leave aside for-profits like U of Phoenix, Capella, etc., which would be strong negative markers on your record, at least from my perspective.