But full or part-time employment is not the only hurdle to completing higher education; nearly 34% of respondents say they chose online classes due to flexibility surrounding their family's scheduling demands. In fact, 33% of those surveyed had dependent children living with them when they took courses, offering some insight into what types of external factors students may have to consider when selecting a learning format, such as childcare arrangements.
Stephen F. Austin State University offers three online Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies degrees in education. They are the BSIS in Elementary Education 4-8, the BSIS in Elementary Education EC-6, and the BSIS in Special Education. All three are 45 credit majors and admissions require a 3.0 GPA. Up to 60 credits may be transferred. The EC-6 program is only available to Texas residents and requires a concentration in math, English, social studies or generalist. The 4-8 program focuses on the middle grades. The Special Ed program focuses on teaching diverse students with exceptionalities. It prepares students for EC-12 Special Ed Teacher and EC-6 Generalist Teacher. All three programs require a visit to campus once a semester for program intensives. Tuition is $362 per credit hour.

Think before you search for colleges! The more you know about how to choose a college and the better your college search strategy, the better the results of your college search. Whether you want information about colleges you already think are a good fit, or you want to find new colleges that are right for you, we have the tips to get you started and the college search engine to finish the job.

A nationally-ranked public university, Washington State University fulfills its mission to reach beyond campus boundaries through its online portal—WSU Global Campus. The University has been offering online programs since 2010 and currently serves over 2000 online students with over 20 high-quality, accredited degree possibilities at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Arizona State University offers online programs for undergraduates and graduate students. Those seeking a bachelor's can choose from 80 different pathways, including multiple tracks in business, information technology, psychology, and public service and public policy. Other options include exploratory tracks in health and life sciences, the humanities, STEM, and social and behavioral sciences -- along with 27 online minors. Graduate students may select from more than 60 master's or doctoral degrees in behavioral health or education.

The largest university in the Chicago area, the University of Illinois at Chicago has consistently ranked among the top ten schools to get an online Bachelor’s degree (and currently sits at #4 according to U.S. News and World Report). The University has been offering online programs for a decade, and currently offers over 45 degrees at the undergraduate through postgraduate levels.

Fort Hays State University offers a total of 37 online bachelor's programs, including degrees with multiple concentration options in fields such as business education, elementary education, finance, information networking and telecommunications, and management. Other major options for online undergraduates include agricultural business, geography/GIS, organizational leadership, and an RN-to-BSN program. Online graduate students may choose from 17 master's degrees and a doctorate in nursing.
Concordia University Saint Paul also delivers an exceptionally high return on investment—with students making the highest average salary among Minnesota private schools four years after graduation. CSP also makes transferring credit easy with Transferology—a web-based course transfer system that helps transfer students determine how courses will transfer to CSP.  And through Concordia’s Transfer Advantage program students can transfer credits from a partner institution seamlessly.
Texas-based Southwestern Assemblies of God University offers many different pathways for students seeking a religious degree. These include online undergraduate programs in fields such as Bible and theology, church ministries, and theological studies. Secular options include online bachelor's degrees in counseling, criminal justice, elementary education, and TESOL. Additionally, the university offers multi-concentration online bachelor's degrees in business administration and human services and 19 online master's and doctoral degrees.

Indiana Wesleyan University is a private, religiously affiliated school with a wide selection of online undergraduate and graduate degrees. Those seeking an online bachelor's can choose from eight business pathways, along with degrees in fields such as digital communication, addictions counseling, criminal justice, and licensure or non-licensure early childhood education. Indiana Wesleyan also offers several online graduate programs, including English-language and Spanish-language master's degrees in divinity and ministry; several graduate-level nursing tracks are also available.
Ball State University, located in Muncie, Indiana, has an online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education. This degree is designed for childcare professionals who work full time and is a degree-completion program. Admission requires an associate degree in early childhood education and a minimum GPA of 2.0. The program focuses on building environments for effective learning that are supportive of the family. The program does not lead to teacher licensure. Resident undergrad online tuition is $304 per credit or $510 per credit for nonresidents. Sample courses include Infant and Toddler Curriculum and Development, Culture and Language in Teaching and Learning, and Assessing Young Children with Exceptional Needs.
In some cases, individual programs may also be accredited by an independent board. One example is the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, which evaluates academic programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. These agencies assess the competence of both on-campus and online degree programs giving students the peace of mind that their school's department offers a reputable program.

This special education teaching degree program prepares you to teach students with mild-to-moderate disabilities, with courses in the foundations of teaching, instructional planning and presentation, assessment, and classroom management. Core elementary and special education courses focus on diversity, disciplinary literacy, elementary education methods, and special education topics such as law, assessment, and behavioral management. This program requires in-classroom observation and a term of full-time demonstration teaching.


My experience at WGU was very positive. I received a great deal of support from my program mentor and the course instructors were knowledgeable and experienced. The program is self-paced but there is substantial pressure to progress quickly, so students should be aware they'll need self-discipline to complete the program. There are times when access to instructors is limited, as their calendars fill up & the first available appointment may be 1-2 weeks out. So there were a few instances when it felt like "self learning". Tutoring is offered for free though, so outside help is available if you reach out. Some courses like Intermediate Accounting II and Taxation II, are difficult to complete in 6 weeks. I would have liked to see more time allotted to the second half of Intermediate Accounting in particular, as I didn't think 6 weeks was enough time to digest the amount & complexity of material. Overall, though I'm glad I attended WGU and I'm grateful for the experience because overall, I believe it gave me a very solid foundation in accounting.
Since 2006, the University of Alabama—a public research university—has been offering high-quality online programs through Bama by Distance, their distinctive online portal. Bama by Distance currently offers around 60 accredited online degrees and certificates—primarily in the areas of education, engineering, healthcare, and business—at the undergraduate through the doctoral levels.
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Located in Orlando, Florida, the University of Central Florida  (UCF) is an emerging preeminent research university and home to one of the top online programs in the country. UCF has been offering online programs for over 20 years and now serves over 8000 students online. Over 80 accredited online degree programs are now available at the undergraduate through postgraduate level.

Texas-based Southwestern Assemblies of God University offers many different pathways for students seeking a religious degree. These include online undergraduate programs in fields such as Bible and theology, church ministries, and theological studies. Secular options include online bachelor's degrees in counseling, criminal justice, elementary education, and TESOL. Additionally, the university offers multi-concentration online bachelor's degrees in business administration and human services and 19 online master's and doctoral degrees.
Prescott College, located in Prescott, Arizona, offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Education and Professional Educator Preparation. The program combines a liberal arts core with global ecological and cultural literacy and best practices in teaching. Admission is holistic, but does require a diploma or GED. The degree requires two 30 credit "breadths," which are equivalent to minors. Courses in the program include Educating for the Future: Multicultural and Environmental Issues, and Positive Child Guidance and Inclusive Child Management. Online tuition is $598 per credit hour. Note: This program requires an orientation session on the Prescott Campus.
Most nationally accredited colleges are for-profit and meet lower academic standards than their regional counterparts. Students considering a nationally accredited online college should research the school's reputation and understand how academic standards differ from regionally accredited schools. It's important to note that most nationally accredited schools will accept transfer credits from regionally accredited colleges and universities, but the opposite is not always true.
UF online programs have three start dates per year (in August, January, and May), and the school offers multiple pathways (like degree completion programs) for students depending on their educational background. In addition to the many degree programs offered online, the University of Florida also offers a number of professional development courses online for working professionals.
Western Governors University offers three online Bachelor of Arts and seven online Bachelor of Science programs in education. They are the BA in Elementary Education, two BAs in Special Education (K-12 and Moderate), two BS degrees in Mathematics Education and five BS programs in Science Education. The programs are designed to lead to certification, although not all states and degrees are applicable. Students will need to take certification exams in their state. The programs focus on teaching and content skills. They can also lead into WGU's MA programs in education. Students are able to take as many credits per term as they like. The school is located in Salt Lake City.

Some schools automatically deduct tuition and housing payments from the disbursements, and provide students with the remaining balance. Other colleges disburse all of the financial aid, requiring students to make tuition and housing payments themselves. The aid money that is left over may be used for books, food, transportation, and personal expenses.

The need for nurses is as persistent as the common cold. In terms of demand, most health care professionals, in general, benefit from the aging population, as well as advancing technology helping people live longer, healthier lives. And prospects for registered nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners (NPs)—both among our Best Jobs for the Future—are particularly promising with their numbers expected to grow by 16.3% and 35.2%, respectively, over the next decade. RNs earn a median $69,789 a year; NPs typically make nearly $103,947 a year. And the field is as rewarding as it is lucrative: 82% of employees with this degree report feeling a high sense of meaning in their careers, the highest share of all 102 majors included in our rankings.


Once you know what degree level you want to pursue, think carefully about what majors will have the biggest impact on your current career or future job prospects. Different majors teach different skills and have different points of emphasis. Multiple studies have shown that what you study has a bigger impact on future earning potential than where you go to school.
Digital learning is easily the most dramatic change to sweep higher education in more than a century. Colleges are under pressure to expand their online program offerings to meet the rising demand for distance learning options across the country. Learners can choose to take individual courses online, or to pursue a formal certificate or degree program. In fact, 63% of the students responding to our survey were working towards a degree, with the majority of them working towards a four-year bachelor's degree. The rest were enrolled in online classes for personal learning and growth rather than college credit.
Online courses involve email assignments, streaming video lectures, and proctored exams. In addition to the fully online programs listed above, Bama by Distance offers primarily online and blended degree options. Nontraditional students seeking a degree can also choose the New College LifeTrack option, a hybrid online and on-campus program for nontraditional students that awards degrees in four general subjects.
Thomas Edison State University counts among the many online colleges that offers a broad range of online undergraduate and graduate programs. Those seeking a bachelor's can choose from 32 online degree pathways, including nine business administration tracks and specialized technical fields such as nuclear engineering technology, data science and analytics, homeland security and emergency management, and cybersecurity. The college also offers 10 online master's degrees and an online doctorate in nursing practice.
Central Michigan University is a public research university—the largest university in Michigan—and a highly regarded provider of online education. CMU Global Campus (which houses their online programs) offers 27 degrees and multiple professional certificates from undergraduate through doctoral levels. CMU has been highly ranked for their online Bachelors, Graduate Education, and MBA programs (U.S. News & World Report).
In a recent survey conducted by BestColleges.com of over 1,000 online learners, an overwhelming 65% of respondents cite flexibility as the top reason for pursuing an online education. These respondents were also less concerned about curriculum specifics or access to on-campus activities. While traditional factors such as affordability, academic excellence and delivery format remain major determining factors, our survey results suggest a majority of students choose to take courses online because they are more convenient.
UMC Online offers access to world-class teaching, learning, and research resources, as well as internship and undergraduate research opportunities. Students experience small class sizes and individualized attention—with a faculty that serves as true mentors for online learners. And UMC’s online courses utilize a broad variety of technological tools that make learning online intuitive and engaging. Top degree programs include:
UF online programs have three start dates per year (in August, January, and May), and the school offers multiple pathways (like degree completion programs) for students depending on their educational background. In addition to the many degree programs offered online, the University of Florida also offers a number of professional development courses online for working professionals.
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Education graduates who plan to become a teacher or an administrator (e.g., principal or superintendent) in a public school district will need to follow the proper procedure to become licensed before they can begin working. Each US state has its own set of licensing or certification requirements, so it's best to check with your particular state before embarking on a path to become an educator or administrator. In general though, educators and administrators must earn an accredited degree, have professional experience, and pass at least one competency exam.
Located in New York City, Pace University is a private institution with stellar online programs. With over a decade of experience in online education, Pace University is home to one of the top online Bachelor’s programs in the country (U.S. News & World Report)  as well as other high ranking programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate level.   
A big problem for a lot of new students is a combination of homesickness and a feeling of not quite belonging. A solution? Consider joining a select group (and be careful not to go overboard) -- student organizations, clubs, sororities or fraternities, or sports teams. You'll make new friends, learn new skills, and feel more connected to your school.
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