Choosing your field of study is the first step in your online education, a process that takes time, commitment, and energy. The online degree program you decide to pursue will affect your career path, income potential, and level of employment. Online colleges offer a number of diverse options, and your area of interest may cross over several different degree programs. To help you find the online degree program that matches your interests and gives you best chance of financial success, explore our online degree comparison tool for information about earning potential, degree costs, and time commitments.
About 81% of online students are also employed, so the convenience of distance education works in their favor, allowing them to complete classes around their employment schedule. While almost 63% of students say that the courses they took were to further their career, only 17% claim that taking courses was due to a desire to change careers. These responses may suggest that many online students are looking to expand their current professional skills, including the skills needed for a job promotion, rather than shift career paths entirely.
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.

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.
Oregon State University, the state's largest degree-granting institution, offers a wide selection of online programs for undergraduates and graduate students. Many bachelor's degree online options focus on fields related to environmental science and land management, such as environmental economics and policy, fisheries and wildlife sciences, horticulture, and range science; the school also offers a dual degree in sustainability. Online master's programs at Oregon State include four MBA tracks, four teaching pathways, and a master's in public health.
You may be able to fulfill some elective, interdisciplinary and/or general education courses by going through the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) process. To be eligible for PLA credits, you must be an undergraduate student who has already been accepted into University of Phoenix. In addition, you must have submitted any transcripts to the University, and you must have remaining general education or elective credits required to earn your degree.
A member of the ten-school Concordia University System, Concordia University-Saint Paul is a private, nationally ranked, Christian (Lutheran) university.  Concordia Saint Paul (CSP) offers numerous degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate level to over 1000 enrolled online students. And U.S. News & World Report ranks many of their online program among the best of their kind.
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.
I earned my second master's degree from WGU in Math Education and was hired immediately after I completed my coursework. I spent 8 years working as an adjunct off of my first master's degree and each of those years I applied to every job offering within 100 miles. While my first degree, and some additional graduate coursework, included the needed requirements for a teaching job, I didn't have a "Master's in Mathematics" or a "Master's in Mathematics Education". WGU provided an online degree program that got me a job teaching math at the community college level. The job I applied for was for 1 fulltime tenured track position and they hired 2 people. Of course they hired the person with the PhD, but they also hired me! I am now in my 6th year and look forward to my tenure offer next semester. I thank WGU for having what I needed at the time that I needed it and at a time that I could do it.

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.
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The University of Massachusetts-Lowell, the second-largest degree-granting institution in its state, offers a handful of online undergraduate degrees. These include fully online bachelor's pathways in business administration, management, English, liberal arts, and psychology -- along with a degree in information technology with a business minor. Other bachelor's degrees at UMass Lowell, such as the RN-to-BSN track and engineering fields, are available in a blended format. The school also offers 12 master's degrees and a doctorate in educational leadership fully online.
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.

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.

Through Bachelor of Arts completion programs and self-paced graduate programs, students will experience a customizable education experience with career-focused content. DU’s philosophy is to embrace technology to improve and accelerate learning for busy adults. Online classes present the same content and are driven by the same academic outcomes as campus-based classes but in a flexible, accessible, and affordable format.
In addition to online-only pathways, the school offers many of the university's bachelor's programs in a blended format. Some of these tracks follow CityU's Regional Cohort Model, enabling degree seekers to take the same online and onsite courses with the same group of students based on their geographical area. Bachelor's programs span at least 180 credits, and students typically complete their requirements within four years.
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.
The University of Alabama is committed to delivering higher education in innovative and flexible formats—Bama by Distance is fulfilling that mission through diverse and accessible programs. As a distance learning student, you will interact with the same college professors and meet the same learning standards as an on-campus student and have access to the same UA resources. Top online degrees include:
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. 
The fourth-largest degree-granting institution in North Carolina, East Carolina University offers a total of 22 online bachelor's degree completion programs aimed at transfer students. These include concentrations in several specialized areas of industrial technology, such as bioprocess manufacturing, distribution and logistics, and health information technology. Other options for undergraduates include five business pathways, five teaching tracks, and an RN-to-BSN. Online grad students at ECU can choose from 51 master's degrees and concentrations -- most of which concentrate in education and/or healthcare -- and seven doctorates.
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.
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.
Kennesaw State University offers several online undergraduate programs for business majors. These include bachelor's degrees in information security and assurance, marketing, manufacturing operations, and supply chain logistics. Other options include online degrees in cybersecurity, information technology, and five social sciences fields. Online graduate students at Kennesaw State can choose from 19 master's pathways and two doctoral degrees, most of which concentrate in business and/or technology. The school offers many of its online programs as on-campus degrees and/or in hybrid formats.
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.
Oregon State University, the state's largest degree-granting institution, offers a wide selection of online programs for undergraduates and graduate students. Many bachelor's degree online options focus on fields related to environmental science and land management, such as environmental economics and policy, fisheries and wildlife sciences, horticulture, and range science; the school also offers a dual degree in sustainability. Online master's programs at Oregon State include four MBA tracks, four teaching pathways, and a master's in public health.
Appalachian State offers a hybrid Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education, with some courses offered online and some requiring an on-campus presence. This is a degree completion program, requiring at least 30 college credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA. The degree covers grades 6-8. The major has three concentrations: language arts and science, language arts and social studies, and science and social studies. The curriculum combines liberal arts and teaching content and skills. The program can lead to licensure in North Carolina. Segments of the program require practicums on campus, and student teaching must be done in-state. Courses include Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age and Language Arts in the Middle Grades. In-state tuition is $143 per credit and $643.50 per credit for nonresidents.
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.
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.

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.
An academic major typically requires completion of a combination of prescribed and elective courses in the chosen discipline. In addition, most colleges and universities require that all students take a general core curriculum in the liberal arts. The latitude a student has in choosing courses varies from program to program.[1] An academic major is administered by select faculty in an academic department. A major administered by more than one academic department is called an interdisciplinary major. In some settings, students may be permitted to design their own major, subject to faculty approval.
Finance isn’t strictly considered a STEM field, but you can still expect to work with numbers a great deal. High school students interested in finance can prepare for this major by studying statistics and calculus. In college, you'll add to your schedule accounting, financial markets and investing, as well as microeconomics, macroeconomics and economic theory. If you pursue a bachelor of arts degree in this field, you likely have to take liberal arts and foreign language classes, too.
There is no doubt that a college education pays off - on average, a college graduate earns $1,000,000 more than a high-school only graduate over the course of their lifetime, according to the College Scorecard. Individual earnings vary greatly from person to person based on what level of degree you earn, what you study, and what kind of career you choose to pursue.
And though you can take your business acumen down whatever career path your passion leads you, you should be comfortable with numbers if you want to earn a degree in this field. Possible courses include accounting, statistics and economics, along with slightly less numerically focused classes such as business ethics and law, marketing and business policy and strategy.
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).
Appalachian State University, the sixth-largest institution in the University of North Carolina system, offers online college degrees through blended degree completion bachelor's programs for transfer students with an associate degree. These include several options for aspiring educators, including online degrees in career and technical education, workforce education and development, child development, and a hybrid middle grades education track. Online bachelor's degrees in communications, management, and RN-to-BSN are also available.
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.

Students in an online education bachelor's program study a broad array of curriculum and instructional techniques. Education bachelor's students specialize in a particular grade level or subject area. These programs require about four years of full-time study and include 120 credit hours of coursework. Applicants need a high school diploma or the equivalent.


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.
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. 
As a student at Penn State World Campus, you’ll be able to complete your program at your own pace. Courses at Penn State World Campus are delivered in asynchronous format, so you can attend classes on your own schedule. You’ll experience both self-study and peer-to-peer interaction using chat, video conferencing, phone calls, email, social media, bulletin boards, and more. Some top degree programs offered include:
Principals must also complete a principal preparation program or internship to develop their leadership skills and their knowledge of how to improve students' educational experiences. Other requirements often include passing an exam to demonstrate basic reading, writing, and math skills; passing a state-based educator standards exam; and submitting to a criminal background check. Some states have different levels of principal certification, starting with an initial "residency certificate" and advancing to a "professional certificate" after two years of experience as an employed administrator. Some states break down their certifications even further for elementary vs. secondary school principals, while other states have the same requirements for both academic levels.
The University of Illinois at Chicago takes online student engagement seriously. As a student, you’ll take advantage of learning management system tech tools such as videos, audio, blogs, and discussion boards to keep connected to faculty and peers. Courses are taught by the same full-time, expert faculty that teach on campus. And UIC ensures that programs are accredited by top-notch accrediting agencies. Top degrees offered include:
Concordia University Saint Paul offers the benefits of a liberal arts education immersed in an online program. Online programs at CSP are designed to give students highly marketable job skills and knowledge.  And CSP’s commitment to experiential learning means that online students apply academic concepts to real-world settings, developing practical knowledge and abilities. Top online degree programs at CSP include:
You'll find little risk in pursuing an actuarial career. These professionals—who work in the insurance and finance industries, analyzing the costs of risk and uncertainty—are in high demand. New and ever-changing health care laws and financial regulations help drive companies' needs for their services, and their usefulness is well compensated: Actuaries enjoy a median salary of $101,566 a year. For even better pay, an actuarial degree can also lead you to becoming a financial manager, who typically earns nearly $122,733 a year (and is one of our Best Jobs for the Future).
Photography majors can enjoy a variety of careers from portrait photographers to wedding photographers. Jobs are available in fashion, advertising, journalism and more. Overall, employment growth is projected to be average, but jobs will still be competitive. The most jobs and the highest salaries are found in large metropolitan areas, though photographers work all around the country.
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.
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.
Online education degrees are available at 498 accredited colleges and universities. Our comprehensive list of online education degrees includes options at the associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels. In addition to this list, we highlight the best online bachelor's in education and best master's programs, ranked based on tuition costs and alumni salaries, as reported by PayScale.
This article was written by AcademyOne's CEO and Founder David K. Moldoff who has worked in higher education for over thirty five years. Mr. Moldoff has been developing student centered enrollment systems since the 70's spanning multiple institutions, policies and practices. Mr. Moldoff graduated from Drexel University through the cooperative education program and majored in economics with a minor in marketing.
The University of Denver is a nationally-ranked, private (nonprofit), four-year university with a robust online presence. Through DU’s University College (College of Professional and Continuing Studies), the University provides a fully accredited educational experience. Students at the undergraduate and graduate levels can take challenging and career-relevant online classes designed for busy adults.
Finance isn’t strictly considered a STEM field, but you can still expect to work with numbers a great deal. High school students interested in finance can prepare for this major by studying statistics and calculus. In college, you'll add to your schedule accounting, financial markets and investing, as well as microeconomics, macroeconomics and economic theory. If you pursue a bachelor of arts degree in this field, you likely have to take liberal arts and foreign language classes, too.
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.

Of all the many engineering fields that appear on this list, this major unfortunately turns out the lowest entry-level pay. But you can expect that salary to reach six figures by mid-career. (And hey, Mexican business mogul Carlos Slim—one of the richest people in the world—studied civil engineering and gets by just fine.) And the opportunities are far more plentiful than they are in many other engineering fields. Civil engineers, who design and supervise the construction of airports, sewer systems and other large projects, are expected to add more than 38,000 positions to their already robust ranks of 323,245 by 2027. Median pay for this job is $83,283 a year.


Regis University is a private nonprofit institution affiliated with the Jesuit order of Roman Catholics. The school offers a total of 25 bachelor's degrees online, including nine pathways in business-related fields, three nursing programs, and an elementary education licensure track. Standard online bachelor's programs consist of 16-week courses or accelerated formats of eight-week courses. The 33-credit online master's degrees offer tracks in education, nursing, and business administration, and doctoral degree options include concentrations in nursing and occupational therapy.
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