Consider the rapid growth in the number of online degree programs available between 2012 and 2014. Over the last three academic years, we've seen a 45% increase in the number of online programs offered across the United States, for a total of 13,092 in 2014-2015. You can choose from over 550 individual degree programs alone that are offered by the 4-year colleges featured within our list of the best online universities.
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.
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.
But not all college degrees are created equal. To determine which majors typically come with the best hiring prospects and pay, we studied the data for 102 popular college majors. We looked for courses of study that tend to lead to fat paychecks—both right out of school and further along your career path. We also sought out majors that are in high demand based on recent online job postings as well as long-term growth expectations for related occupations. Plus, we factored in the percentage of workers with given degrees who feel their jobs have a positive impact on the world because having a sense of purpose can be just as important as having a good payday.
Liberty University features four online Bachelor of Science programs in education. They include the B.S. in Biblical and Educational Studies, the B.S. degrees in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, and the B.S. in Special Education: Interdisciplinary Studies. Admission requires a diploma and a minimum 2.0 GPA. Transfer students also need a minimum 2.0 GPA and can transfer in up to 90 credits. These programs combine foundational skills and teaching methods within a Christian ethical context. The Biblical Studies program focuses on training for denominational schools and Christian institutions. The elementary education program can be combined with the Liberty M.A.T. for certification. The early childhood program focuses on pre-school. Online tuition is $390 per credit hour.
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.
City University students finish at twice the national rate”. Based out of Seattle, Washington, the private, non profit university is well-known as a top university for both on campus and online students. Graduates from the Undergraduate, Graduate and Doctoral programs career paths include Teacher, Project Manager, Counselor, and much more. CityU has locations worldwide, including international locations in China, Slovakia, and Vietnam. Several need and merit-based scholarships are available for students seeking financial assistance.
You can, of course, expect to take a variety of economics classes in college, including micro- and macroeconomics as well as business economics and economic theory. If you pursue a bachelor of science, your focus will be on math, statistics and other quantitative studies. A bachelor of arts likely requires liberal arts and foreign language classes, too.

Second, recognize we live in a world of specialization. Industries - like transportation, communications, internet and health care can be divided and broken down into thousands of areas of specialization. An academic discipline, or field of study, is a branch of knowledge that is taught and researched at the college or university level. Disciplines cross industries –such as history, linguistics, literature, performing arts, philosophy, religion, social sciences, economics, geography, political science, natural sciences, mathematics and applied sciences. In no way was that list meant to itemize them all. 
Northeastern divides its schedule into two standard semester terms and two condensed summer terms. Incoming freshmen may begin taking courses in the fall, spring, or summer. The school prices tuition according to course instead of according to a per-credit rate. Northeastern University receives regional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
SAGU online courses are relatively small, allowing students to receive individualized attention from faculty members. As part of the school's Experiential Learning Credit program, students may qualify for up to 45 undergraduate credits -- and save as much as $25,000 on their degree -- by completing a three-credit course. Admission requires each student to provide a statement of Christian faith.
In many universities, an academic concentration is a focus within a specific academic major, that is a field of study within a specific academic major. For example, interdisciplinary programs in humanities or social sciences will require a student to pick a specific academic concentration as a focus within their academic major, such as an academic major in Interdisciplinary Humanities with an academic concentration in Film or an academic major in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences with an academic concentration in Geography. At several art schools and liberal arts colleges, an academic concentration serves a similar function to an academic minor at other universities, that is an academic discipline outside of the student's academic major in which he or she takes a small number of classes. At Brown University and Harvard University, concentrations serve the same function as majors at other institutions.
Attending an accredited school is one of the best decisions that a student can make. Accreditation is a designation awarded to a school for complying with a set of academic and personal support standards. Students who need financial aid, hope to earn certification or licensure as a teacher, and who may want to attend graduate school or transfer credits must attend an online school that is accredited. All individuals seeking a teaching credential must attend an education program that is recognized by their state’s board of education.
UMass Amherst also offers these majors in degree completion pathways for transfer students. Additionally, those with previously earned credits may choose the University Without Walls track, enabling them to complete degrees in fields such as advocacy and social justice, children's learning and development, human services, and writing. The school's transfer policy allows incoming students to apply up to 105 credits toward their bachelor's degrees.
Arkansas State University offers a handful of online degrees for students at the undergraduate and graduate level. Bachelor's options for online students include degrees in business fields such as organizational supervision, strategic communications and social media management, and business administration. Other major fields include creative media, criminology, and digital innovation, and an accelerated RN-to-BSN track that students can complete in 12 months or less. Arkansas State also offers 10 online master's degrees concentrating in education and teaching fields.
City University of Seattle (also known as CityU) is a private, nonprofit university that offers accredited degrees from the undergraduate through doctoral level. With a commitment to serving working adults and transfer students, CityU is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top schools for online bachelor’s degree programs, and among the top online programs for veterans in the U.S.
Online bachelor's programs at Arkansas State are mostly asynchronous and do not carry any face-to-face requirements. These pathways span 120 credits or more, but many students complete their degree requirements in less than four years due to the self-paced format. The school offers multiple start dates throughout the calendar year. Additionally, distance learners may request online tutoring in a handful of business, STEM, and social sciences subjects.
A big reason for the growth in online education is demand. Online college programs make college more accessible to a much larger population than traditional on-campus learning. Thanks to technology, you can earn an online associate degree, online bachelor's degree or online master's degree without having to sacrifice your job or time caring for your family.
The 25 colleges on this list offer affordable online master's in education programs. The average tuition for this list is $13,536, and there are 19 schools whose tuitions are under $15,000. University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign offers an impressive return on investment on their program costing $7,456 per year, with mid-career alumni from the program reporting a salary of $91,600. Western Governors University is also an affordable choice for prospective students, with an annual tuition of $6,380 and a salary of $76,900.
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.
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.

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:  


At Kiplinger, we totally get that money matters can be complex, and many of us—especially the growing number of people rapidly approaching retirement age—need help understanding and managing them. No wonder workers with financial knowledge are in such high demand. New regulations, more products and increasingly complex investment portfolios don’t hurt either. And that need translates into plenty of opportunities and generous pay for workers in this field. Financial analysts, who evaluate investment opportunities for businesses, earn a median salary of $83,824 a year and are expecting 11.0% job growth over the next decade. Personal financial advisers, who are expected to add 12.0% more positions by 2027, typically earn about $86,715 a year.
Most online programs at the university follow a fast-track schedule consisting of eight-week terms in the fall and spring and four-week or eight-week sessions during the summer semester. This timetable enables students to focus on 1-2 courses at a time and potentially graduate at a faster pace. Most online bachelor's pathways are asynchronous and do not require any campus visits, but some may include mandatory on-campus exams or presentations.
Another liberal arts degree proves its worth. Just like with classics majors, American studies majors are attractive to employers in a host of industries because of their proven ability to do in-depth research and perform critical analysis. Developing these skills helps prepare them for work in law, journalism, academics, government, museum curation, business, finance and other fields, as well as further education including law school.
Missouri State University offers a handful of online bachelor's degrees suitable for first-time undergraduates or transfer students. A total of 10 major options include criminology and criminal justice, finance, health services, hospitality leadership, and an RN-to-BSN. The school also offers two undergraduate certificates and 12 bachelor's degree minors fully online. Graduate students can choose from 14 online master's programs, including seven pathways for teachers, and two doctorate in nursing tracks.
UMass Amherst also offers these majors in degree completion pathways for transfer students. Additionally, those with previously earned credits may choose the University Without Walls track, enabling them to complete degrees in fields such as advocacy and social justice, children's learning and development, human services, and writing. The school's transfer policy allows incoming students to apply up to 105 credits toward their bachelor's degrees.
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.

The University of Southern Mississippi offers an online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. This program is designed for current teacher assistants so they can earn a B.S.and become a certified teacher. Freshman admission is determined by a combination of GPA and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA. Graduates are eligible to become certified teachers in K-6. Several endorsements are also available, which will strengthen the degree and career options. They are Math K-8, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language and English. Classes include Science for Elementary Teachers, Tests and Measurements, and Mathematics for Primary and Middle Grades. Online tuition is $355 per credit.
The University of Southern Mississippi offers an online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. This program is designed for current teacher assistants so they can earn a B.S.and become a certified teacher. Freshman admission is determined by a combination of GPA and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA. Graduates are eligible to become certified teachers in K-6. Several endorsements are also available, which will strengthen the degree and career options. They are Math K-8, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language and English. Classes include Science for Elementary Teachers, Tests and Measurements, and Mathematics for Primary and Middle Grades. Online tuition is $355 per credit.

The opportunities in this field may be limited, but the financial rewards are great. There are only about 20,000 nuclear engineers in the country, and while those numbers have risen 12.2% over the past decade, the growth is expected to slow to 5.3% over the next decade, compared with 9.7% growth for all jobs. Plus, you can only find those opportunities in certain pockets of the country. Virginia holds the greatest number of positions, according to the BLS, while New Mexico has the highest concentration of nuclear engineers.
WGU was the right choice for me to earn my MSN-Edu. It was challenging to do, but WGU has the right resources to support the students during their journey. I could not have done it without my great program mentor Hillary Poor. She was always there for me when I needed her. She did support and encouraged me whenever I felt overwhelmed. The tuition is another plus, it is very affordable and its flexibility fits anyone's schedule. Thank you WGU for your support to the students.
In addition to the standard bachelor's pathways listed above, transfer students with an associate degree can follow an accelerated cohort track with the same group of students and complete their undergraduate studies in two years or less. Other available options include course clusters that combine three interrelated courses into a single 12-week term. The school offers open enrollment, so students may begin their coursework at various points throughout the calendar year.
All bachelor's options are fully online, and instructors deliver most graduate-level degrees primarily online with some minimal face-to-face requirements. Distance learners can participate in online workshops for library training and MS Office software. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act approves several of the university's online bachelor's and graduate programs; this initiative provides financial aid for unemployed or underemployed students who cannot afford course tuition and fees.
For those that want to travel as they study, UMC online students can take advantage of extensive study-abroad opportunities.  And online learners at UMC  have the opportunity to participate in hands-on internships that give you the chance to practice what you’ve learned and make contacts with potential employers. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program also opens doors to conducting research as an online student.
Stanford University was ranked fifth among national universities by U.S. News and World Report for 2017. The bachelor's degree in biology at Stanford has three degree routes: general biology with or without honors, or the biology major with a field of study and honors. The general biology curriculum consists of courses in biology and core science principles, while the field of study option lets students focus on one of six areas of concentration. Students can enroll in biology courses as early as sophomore year, once they've completed the 1st-year core requirements and prerequisites.

The competency-based online pathway focuses on individualized learning. Students complete their courses asynchronously, allowing them to complete their degree ahead of schedule. The school offers a competency-based online format for students working through bachelor's degrees in computer information technology, liberal arts, management, nursing, and small business administration -- along with five undergraduate minors and two master's degrees.
WSU’s Global Campus strives to provide online students with a true campus experience—including online events, career fairs, webinars from university experts, and a digital pavilion where students can showcase their research. And at WSU Global Campus busy students—including undergraduates—can take accelerated online courses which propel them through coursework at a faster than usual pace. Top degree programs include:
The Teachers College at Western Governors University is granted accreditation at the initial-licensure level from CAEP, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, 1140 19th St NW, Suite 400 Washington, DC 20036 (202) 223-0077. CAEP is the only recognized national accreditor for educator preparation. WGU is the first competency-based online university to receive CAEP accreditation for its degree programs that lead to teacher licensure.
Distance learning students at Bama by Distance have many resources available to help them succeed—from online library resources to tutoring assistance and technical support. And your degree will be highly respected. Bama by Distance offers one of the top-ranked, AACSB-accredited online graduate business programs in the country (according to U.S. News & World Report) as well as one of the top 50 online graduate engineering programs.

Liberty University is one of many online colleges that offers flat-rate tuition for all online undergraduates regardless of their state residency status, and some RN-to-BSN students qualify for lower tuition rates. Additionally, police officers, EMS personnel, and other first responders receive a 25% tuition discount. Liberty University receives regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
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