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.
Maybe you’re balancing a full time job and family, but still want to earn a degree. Good news is that anyone can earn a degree online. The right online program can help you advance your career, or even help you enter a new industry. For those interested in furthering their education, there are thousands of online colleges to choose from. While there are several excellent online colleges to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find the right school for your needs. To help you in your search, we have put together a list of our top online colleges to help narrow it down.
Associate degrees and bachelor's degrees that feature an instructional technology option are more likely to be degrees in education or teaching with an instructional technology specialization option. Students will study teaching techniques, curriculum development, evaluation techniques, and classroom management, all while learning about how they can use technology to enhance their teaching skills. Some schools require that students who are applying for master's in instructional technology already have official teaching experience. Doctoral programs may even require curriculum development or teacher leadership experience.
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.
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.

Not too shocking: Our gadget-driven world has a high demand for people who can design, build and improve electronic and electrical devices. Indeed, following a decade of job growth at a robust rate of 22.7%, the number of positions for electrical engineers is expected to keep growing by 10.7% over the next decade. And the paycheck reflects the high demand: Median income is $94,515 a year with average pay topping $110,00 a year in the highest-paying states of Massachusetts and Alaska, as well as the District of Columbia.
The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is the oldest and largest institution in the Minnesota university system. The school offers a total of 18 online bachelor's degree pathways, including six tracks related to general business studies and programs in specialized fields such as tribal administration and governance, manufacturing management, agricultural business, and sport and recreation management. Other online offerings include six undergraduate certificates and a learning technologies minor. Graduate students at UMN-Twin Cities can choose from 14 online master's degrees and nine online doctoral degrees, most of which focus on healthcare fields.
Today’s students should expect convenient access, affordability and academic value from online colleges. That’s why we only consider accredited online colleges for our rankings. The accreditation process guarantees that a school’s facilities, instructors, and curriculum meet a rigorous set of standards established by industry leaders. To ensure they invest in a universally respected degree, students should only consider accredited online colleges, like those on our list.
Founded in 2007, Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global)is the online campus of the Colorado State University system. CSU-Global was the first independent, 100% online state university in the U.S. and now has an online student body of over 15,000 students. CSU-Global currently offers 24 accredited degree programs at the Bachelor’s and Master’s level.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranked as the seventh best national university on U.S. News and World Report's 2017 list. MIT's Department of Biology offers a Bachelor of Science in Biology, as well as a minor in biology for students who may be interested in other disciplines. Students within the department have access to 14 research programs, including those dealing with cancer, cloning, stem cells, and cellular biology. Biology majors at MIT can choose between two programs: one which prepares students for careers in research, known as Course VII, or on for students not pursuing lab research roles, known as Course VII-A. Ph.D. programs are also available through specializations in areas like developmental biology, cell biology, biochemistry, immunology, and neurobiology.


WGU offers a total of 66 fully online bachelor's and master's degrees. Nearly half of these programs focus on teaching and include nine specialized bachelor's degrees, five graduate-level tracks for educators seeking licensure, and more than a dozen master's concentrations for licensed teachers. Additional offerings include nine bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing and an MBA in healthcare management. WGU's remaining degrees focus on business and/or information technology.
Mississippi State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BSEE) with concentrations in either early childhood or middle school. Freshman admission requires a minimum 2.0 GPA, diploma and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA. The Early Childhood program focuses on Pre-K to grade 6 and includes early childhood. Add-on endorsements are available. The Middle School program requires two 21 credit endorsements chosen from English, General Science, Math, Music, Art, Phys Ed, Language and Social Science. Upon graduation, students are licensed to teach in Mississippi. These programs are currently not available in Georgia. Online tuition is $356 per credit.

Most online bachelor's programs at the university offer degree completion pathways designed for transfer students, and these programs may cover anywhere from 31-51 credits of core coursework. Students with associate degrees can typically complete the programs within two years or less. The school offers tuition at a flat per-credit rate regardless of the student's state residency status. Active-duty military personnel can earn associate or bachelor's degrees at a discounted tuition rate.
At Central Michigan University, undergraduate students can choose from 12 online bachelor's programs. These include degrees in specialized fields such as fashion merchandising and design, international relations, public and nonprofit administration, and a BS in community development track with three specialization options. The university also offers 13 online master's degrees and three online doctorates, most of which focus on business administration or education. Online students represent roughly 25% of CMU's total student population.
Online graduate certificates and master’s degrees in education are often used to earn a teaching credential and state teaching license. Current teachers can use these programs to advance their understanding of teaching skills. Master’s programs and certificates are available in specializations such as education technology, elementary teacher education, special education, literacy, teacher leadership, administration, and adult education.
At Central Michigan University, undergraduate students can choose from 12 online bachelor's programs. These include degrees in specialized fields such as fashion merchandising and design, international relations, public and nonprofit administration, and a BS in community development track with three specialization options. The university also offers 13 online master's degrees and three online doctorates, most of which focus on business administration or education. Online students represent roughly 25% of CMU's total student population.

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.


Northern Arizona University offers two pathways for distance learners: traditional online or competency-based online programs. Traditional online degrees mirror brick-and-mortar bachelor's programs in terms of course and credit requirements. Traditional online bachelor's options include specialized fields such as hotel and restaurant management, parks and recreation management, and 10 fields related to health professions. The school also makes 21 master's degrees and a doctorate in nursing practice available in the traditional online format.

CSU-Global Campus has worked hard to earn a reputation as one of the best online schools for working professionals. The school is constantly pushing innovation in teaching methods, making online learning both rigorous and engaging. And CSU-Global emphasizes individualized support for students from registration to graduation, with a wide range of student resources—from tutoring to tech support. Top online degrees include:
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.
Rutgers University, the largest degree-granting institution in New Jersey, offers several degree programs fully online, including three bachelor's tracks. These include a bachelor's in business administration and an RN-to-BSN program with no onsite requirements. Students may also pursue a bachelor's in labor and employment relations, which qualifies them to earn a master's in the same field in less than one year. Additionally, the university offers an online teaching certificate that consists of four individual courses.
Because Appalachian State exclusively offers degree completion programs at the bachelor's level, incoming students need at least 30 credits from another accredited institution. The school also reserves several institutional scholarships for transfer students. Appalachian State University receives regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
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.

Pace University has a long history of providing access to excellent education and career preparation.  The school utilizes Blackboard—a learning management system which provides easy access to online class resources as well as keeping students in touch with instructors and other students. And online courses at Pace offer an affordability that their campus-based counterparts can’t compete with. Top degree programs include:


Regionally accredited colleges are typically nonprofit and state-operated. In the U.S., there are seven regional accrediting agencies that evaluate two-year and four-year colleges. Some states also have their own accrediting bodies independent of the regional agencies. You can learn more about each individual agency, and its jurisdiction, through the Office of Postsecondary Education.

Instructional technology degrees are usually earned as graduate degrees. Most people who become interested in this field are already educators or educational leaders, such as vice principals or curriculum developers. Students who are choosing instructional technology paths are interested in becoming better at their jobs, learning to take their techniques and skills in new directions. This makes the masters degree or the masters of education degree very popular. Students study computer programming, the teaching of computer programming, introducing students to technology, using technology paired with written literature and traditional teaching methods, and training other teachers to use technology in their classrooms. 
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 University of Laverne offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Education Studies. The program trains students in K-6 methods and content and includes pre-K. Admission requires at least 28 college credits with a minimum GPA of 2.50. Up to 88 credits may be transferred. One of the main focuses is on preparing graduates for the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET). Among the courses offered are Learning Technology for Educators, Science for Elementary Teachers, and Teaching K-8 Social Studies. Regular online tuition is $645 per semester hour, with a reduced rate of $250 per semester hour for active military. The school is located in Laverne, California, near Los Angeles.
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.
This is the person who will help you with course conflicts, adding or dropping courses, scheduling of classes for future semesters, deciding on majors and minors. This person is a key resource for you -- and should be the person you turn to with any academic issues or conflicts. And don't be afraid of requesting another adviser if you don't click with the one first assigned to you.
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