Kiplinger updates its rankings of college majors annually. Above is our list of the best college majors for a lucrative career from the 2017-2018 academic year. Keep in mind that ranking methodologies can change from year to year based on the data available at the time, changes to how the data was gathered, switches to new data providers and tweaks to the formulas used to narrow the pool of candidates.
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.

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is the primary programmatic accrediting body for education degrees. Accreditation is very important for online education degrees, especially for students looking to earn a teaching license. Prospective students should make sure that the online programs they are considering are recognized by the teaching board in the state where they hope to earn licensure.
Downside: The job market is highly competitive with just 35,275 petroleum engineers working in the U.S. today, even after experiencing an impressive 91.3% jump in their numbers over the past decade. The good news is that growth is expected to continue at a rate of 13.1% over the next 10 years, beating the 9.7% growth for all jobs. But again, your job prospects are limited to certain parts of the country, with Texas housing about half of all the positions in the U.S., according to the BLS. Also, the industry in inextricably tied to notoriously volatile oil prices, so the job market may be just as hot and cold.
Texas Tech University offers a wide selection of fully online and hybrid degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The school offers online bachelor's degrees in specialized fields such as restaurant, hotel, and institutional management; plant and soil science; and wind energy. Master's degree online options include eight education degrees with concentrations such as family and consumer sciences, agricultural education, and curriculum and instruction. Graduate students may also select master's degrees in technical fields such as healthcare engineering, horticulture, and data science, along with six doctoral degrees for aspiring educators.
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.
Online learning at UIS is both flexible and convenient for working students. And while online courses are equally rigorous and taught by the same faculty that teach in the classroom, online curricula are designed for online instruction specifically.  And faculty are trained in online instruction so they are able to help students take advantage of the unique resources available to online learners. Some top degrees offered include:
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.
A lot of problems first-year students face can be traced back to an illness that kept them away from classes for an extended period of time that led to a downward spiraling effect. Get enough sleep, take your vitamins, and eat right. If you haven't heard the jokes about college food, you soon will. And without mom or dad there to serve you a balanced meal, you may be tempted to go for those extra fries or cookies. Stay healthy and avoid the dreaded extra "Freshman 15" pounds by sticking to a balanced diet.

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.
A pioneer in distance learning, Florida’s Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has been offering online programs since the school first launched their online portal in 1993. The school, which is one of the top-ranking STEM-focused universities in the country, uses cutting-edge technology to deliver its undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs to nontraditional students.
If you’re looking for an online degree in aeronautics or engineering, then look no further. Embry-Riddle has developed innovative programs which rank highly and offer exceptionally high return-on-investment. The school is also home to excellent online Business programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. And Embry-Riddle uses their long experience in distance learning to focus on engagement and critical services that help ensure student success. Some top programs include:  

Due to its commitment to superior educational standards and an annual price of $22,128, Oregon State University is an excellent value for your money. This school understands how to work with the specific requirements of international students; 8.6% of its undergraduate population is from other countries. Go on a virtual tour to explore Oregon State.
The upper-division coursework in the bachelor's program is centered around the student's particular focus area in education. Possible specializations include elementary education, special education, middle school, or secondary education. Students specializing in secondary education also take coursework in a particular teaching subject area, such as math, science, or English. Teaching-oriented bachelor’s degrees require that students complete teaching labs or practicums, as well as an internship.
There are many benefits to enrolling in online classes. SNHU believes in affordable, accessible education that caters to learners’ schedules so that you can reach your goals. Our online platform allows you to personalize your college experience to how you work best, and the projects you’ll work on and the technologies you’ll use are applicable to today’s workplace settings.
Think you're a born leader? You'll need stellar people skills—no room for shrinking violets here—and talents in problem solving , number crunching, and decision making. And don't forget great communication skills! While studying business, you'll get a thorough grounding in the theories and principles of accounting, finance, marketing, economics, statistics, and human resources functions. You will be a whiz on how to budget, organize, plan, hire, direct, control, and manage various kinds of organizations –from entrepreneurial–type start–ups to multi–million–dollar corporations. The business major will also get you thinking about issues such as diversity, ethics, politics, and other dynamics that play a role in every work environment. Make sure those competitive juices are flowing; the business world is all, well, business.
Considered the oldest and largest online degree-providing institution in the state, Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers web-based programs at all degree levels. Bachelor's options include degrees in fields such as addiction studies, business administration, and social work; the psychology and unified public safety administration fields offer multiple concentrations.

The course content for my MSML program was extremely relevant coupled with the structured cohorts for some of the courses in my program. The student mentors were consistent with keeping me on task. The course instructors who helped me were knowledgeable and professional. The evaluators effectively communicated their evaluations for every performance assessment. The resources provided by WGU were beyond adequate! The course outlines provided a comprehensive overview of the expectations of every course. My experience with WGU was exceptional!
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With a focus on flexibility and accessibility,  CityU’s online classes are designed for working adults and students who need an education that will fit into their busy lives. CityU offers their online programs through a virtual classroom where students can log-in to check assignments, video, and discussions. Online students collaborate and discuss topics with one another and faculty on a portal within this virtual classroom and through the Blackboard system.
Downside: The job market is highly competitive with just 35,275 petroleum engineers working in the U.S. today, even after experiencing an impressive 91.3% jump in their numbers over the past decade. The good news is that growth is expected to continue at a rate of 13.1% over the next 10 years, beating the 9.7% growth for all jobs. But again, your job prospects are limited to certain parts of the country, with Texas housing about half of all the positions in the U.S., according to the BLS. Also, the industry in inextricably tied to notoriously volatile oil prices, so the job market may be just as hot and cold.
Every student who is interested in Zoology has to take a look at University of Wisconsin - Madison. Zoology graduates from University of Wisconsin - Madison get a earnings boost of around 23.3% above the typical income of zoology graduates. Placed in Madison, Wisconsin, this college is a logical final choice for students who enjoy the exhilaration of a substantial city.

The Savannah College of Art and Design eLearning experience balances flexibility with structure. Students can access lectures and course materials on their own schedules (in an asynchronous format) while completing assignments by designated due dates and participating in online class sessions. And students have access to cutting-edge technology and extensive student services like the Writer’s Studio, Academic Advising, and Counselling Services.


This major can help you hone your entrepreneurial spirit, but allows you to keep your options open, in terms of industry. Workers with this degree wind up in a diverse array of jobs, including accountants, sales supervisors, financial managers and management positions in a variety of fields. With such workplace agility, no wonder 76.3% of former business administration majors are employed full time, according to the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project, which promotes U.S. economic growth and competitiveness.
The career opportunities available after completing an education certificate will depend on the graduate’s previous education and experience. Many use the certificate to take a state licensing exam, either to become a kindergarten-through-12th-grade teacher or a school principal. Education certificates can also be useful for teachers interested in moving into policy or research roles in local, state, and federal governments. Other programs are used by practicing teachers to deepen their curriculum and cement their role in their current school.
Headquartered in Irvine, California, Brandman University is a distinctive, private (nonprofit) university that has the nontraditional student at its center. The school delivers high-quality, accredited, career-focused undergraduate and graduate programs online and on their many campuses. Their student-centric philosophy makes their 50+ degree programs manageable for working students.
Professional development courses are a fantastic way to fill the gaps in your skills. University of Phoenix courses cover a variety of topics and are designed to give professionals a greater base of knowledge so they can improve their career opportunities or maintain professional certification. Our courses are also of interest to companies who want a more skilled workforce.
Most full-time students can earn a online bachelor's degree in four years. If you have a high school diploma or some college credits to your name, an online bachelor's program may be the right choice for you. Some colleges even offer degree completion programs specifically for students who have earned an associate degree and would like to finish a bachelor's program. A bachelor's degree is perhaps the single best way to increase your earning potential. According to PayScale.com, employes with a bachelor's degree can earn over $1,000,000 more over a 20-year career than someone with just a high school diploma. Most entry-level positions at professional organizations require at least a four-year degree. Business, healthcare, tech and other sectors prefer to hire candidates who are well-rounded and have good critical thinking and communication skills. An online bachelor's degree provides students with all of these skills, making them desirable to employers.
Our rankings of the best online colleges and universities are a jumping off point to help you build your own list of prospective programs that meet your needs. Remember, many factors that contribute to the quality of a degree program are intangible. You won't find data points here or elsewhere that fully capture the level of faculty support, peer networking or academic and professional stimulation found in one program versus another. Please contact your schools directly for more information.

What if I want to go to grad school? If you think law school, medical school or grad school is in your future, you should know that some colleges offer pre-professional advising programs (such as Premed or Prelaw). These programs are not the same as majors, and you will still need to choose a major in another subject. As long as you fulfill a grad school's course requirements, it really doesn't matter what you major in.


Excelsior College, a private nonprofit institution, offers online associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees spanning several academic fields. Online undergraduate options include multi-concentration bachelor's degrees in fields such as business, health sciences, criminal justice, and electrical engineering technology. Excelsior's bridge degrees allow students to earn a bachelor's and a master's in an accelerated timeline. Examples include a BS in healthcare management with an MBA or master's in health science and a BS in nuclear engineering management with an MBA. The school makes dual-degree bachelor's pathways available too.
At ASU-online, student support is all-encompassing.  You’ll encounter tutors to help you get through the tough classes, success coaches who help adjust to online student life, and career service personnel who can help you apply your skills and passions in the real world. And you’ll join a diverse, global community of Sun Devils though student clubs, social media, and classroom interaction.

Majoring in economics is another way to benefit from growing opportunities linked to the big data boom. Like statisticians, economists are mostly employed by the federal government, which may be a limiting factor. But you can also find work with employers specializing in consulting services, scientific research and finance—though you’ll likely need an advanced degree to move beyond entry-level positions. Economists can expect a median salary of $102,482 a year. Employers also look for people with economics degrees to fill positions as financial managers (one of our Best Jobs for the Future), purchasing agents and data analysts.
Examine the different majors offered by a variety of top online colleges that relate to the field of study you are interested in. Research what specific courses are required in each major. Also consider what specific hard and soft skills will be most valuable to the work you want to be doing. You can explore our collection of academic program rankings to learn more about other fields of study and potential career paths.
After confirming accreditation, it can still be difficult to weigh the value and quality of one online college over another. Keep in mind that regardless of whether a program is offered online or on campus, all regionally accredited programs in the U.S. are held to the same academic and professional standards. These standards also extend to the full-time faculty and adjunct professors that schools hire.
Central Methodist University features two online Bachelor of Science in Education degrees: one in Elementary Education and one in Early Childhood Education. Freshman admission requires a diploma with a minimum 2.5 GPA or the GED, and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students need a minimum GPA of 2.0. The Early Childhood program covers all aspects of development and education and can lead to teacher certification in birth to age 5. The Elementary Education program focuses on child development, teaching methods and teaching content (such as math). It also can also lead to teacher certification. Courses in the programs include Reading and Writing with Young Children, Emerging Language, and Children's Literature. Online tuition is $250 per credit. CMU is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.
Will my major dictate my profession? If you specialize in something like nursing, accounting or engineering, you're learning a specific vocation and will likely continue with that. Most majors, however, prepare you for a range of job opportunities and professions - giving you the basis for more specialized training once you graduate. For most students, picking a college major is not the same as picking a profession or planning your career. It will be up to you to pursue and apply for opportunities. Job opportunities will come in many forms.  It is up to you to articulate how your degree, skills, know-how, experiences and what you learned can bring value to your potential employer, customer or circumstance. The major helps develop the confidence in a specialized subject area - demonstrating you can apply yourself and succeed.
Due to its commitment to superior educational standards and an annual price of $22,128, Oregon State University is an excellent value for your money. This school understands how to work with the specific requirements of international students; 8.6% of its undergraduate population is from other countries. Go on a virtual tour to explore Oregon State.
Many, though not all, of the private schools offering online programs are religious schools. Some of these schools incorporate scripture into their online program, though others do not, and have no religious requirements for distance learners. Private non-profit schools are often more expensive than other four-year options, so be sure to do your research and find a school that fits with your budget.
Regent Online students participate in each course with an average of 17 other classmates (an impressively small class size). A faculty member—with training in online learning—oversees each course, guiding students through the learning process. Ranked No. 1 for Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Virginia, Regent’s online bachelor degree programs and online master’s degree programs provide students with a quality education from a Christian worldview.
That curriculum can help prepare you to become a food scientist, who studies and analyzes food to help ensure that it is safe, healthy and nutrient-rich. And increasing public scrutiny of the food industry and its processing work feeds the demand for these experts, with the number of food scientists and technologists having grown by 53.2% over the past decade and being expected to rise another 8.3% over the next decade. Median annual income is $64,147. Other jobs these majors gravitate toward: biological scientist, chemist and nutritionist.
To become the superintendent of a school district, some states require that applicants have a current principal or teaching license and a certain number of years of experience in each professional role. Superintendents may also be required to complete a superintendent preparation program as well as an accredited master's degree program with a superintendent focus before they can take a licensing exam. After passing the exam, they may be eligible for an initial superintendent certificate for a certain number of years before they must renew their certification.
Examine the different majors offered by a variety of top online colleges that relate to the field of study you are interested in. Research what specific courses are required in each major. Also consider what specific hard and soft skills will be most valuable to the work you want to be doing. You can explore our collection of academic program rankings to learn more about other fields of study and potential career paths.
To reach RN ranks, nursing students must take many science courses, including anatomy, chemistry, microbiology and nutrition. You also get supervised clinical experience in various specialties, such as pediatrics, psychiatry and surgery. And you'll have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination to get your license (additional requirements vary by state). NPs must head back to school longer to obtain a master's or doctoral degree.
When should I declare a major? At most two-year colleges, you can declare a major depending upon whether you are enrolled for a career oriented major or preparing for transfer. You can enroll in general studies or target specific transfer arrangements. At most four-year colleges, you aren't required to declare a major until the end of your sophomore year. If you're in a two-year degree program, you'll probably select a major earlier because your course of studies is much shorter.
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Many online undergraduates at Northeastern collaborate with sponsoring organizations to complete an immersive six-week project. Working students, on the other hand, may partner with their employer to tackle a capstone project that addresses a key need or issue in their professional field. The university also offers a co-op program that allows students to work in a paid position related to their major field for up to six months.
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