One obvious career goal when studying this field: Become a chemical engineer, a lucrative profession that boasts a median income of $102,170 a year. But it’s a small market with just 35,350 or so of these professionals now working in the U.S. Still, those positions have been growing and should continue to grow, up 17.5% over the past decade and expected to rise another 8.0% over the next decade. Other jobs this major can help prepare you for include: chemist, materials scientist, petroleum engineer and pharmacist.
The academic major is considered a defining and dominant characteristic of the undergraduate degree. "The ascendancy of the disciplines in the late nineteenth century and their continuing dominance throughout the twentieth century have left an indelible imprint on the shape and direction of the academic major" and research affirms that the academic major is the strongest and clearest curricular link to gains in student learning.[2] While general education is considered to be the breadth component of an undergraduate education, the major is commonly deemed as the depth aspect.[2]
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.
Communications majors tend to be great storytellers with quick wits and fiery personalities. You'll spend a significant amount of time scrutinizing different kinds of presentations—such as speeches and scripts—and the strategies behind the messages that speakers and writers use to make their points. You'll learn about verbal and nonverbal messages, audience reaction, and the varied effects of different communication environments. It will prepare you for a wealth of career options in business, advertising, human resources, public relations, government, education, media, and social services.
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.

eCampus, our innovative learning platform, allows you to ask questions, discuss topics and collaborate with your classmates from around the world. This gives you the ability to work in teams, talk to your instructor and access course materials any time of the day or night. Your schedule will be provided to you by your Academic Advisor and can be accessed in eCampus under the Quick Links section.
Yes! WGU combines rigorous online curriculum with local placement for an in-person field experience in order to complete your teaching degree. Our program allows you to complete most of the program online, and only requires an in-person commitment at the very end of your program. To complete the degree you will be required to do several weeks of observations and a 4-6 month demonstration teaching experience at a local school. WGU’s Field Placement department will help you find a suitable school for this commitment.
Because it often deals with current events and sophisticated statistical analysis, political science is timely, fascinating, and perpetually changing. In a nutshell, it's the study of politics of government, and some of the common concentrations are American government, public policy, foreign affairs, political philosophy, and comparative government. Political science majors develop excellent critical thinking and communication skills, and more broadly, an understanding of history and culture. There will be lots of reading, writing, and math. Possible career paths are diverse—from lawyer to politician to journalist.
Still, the generous pay might make relocating and competing for the few spots worthwhile, if you’re interested in this subject. The median income for nuclear engineers is $103,043 a year. And in the top-paying states, the average annual wage ranges from $122,950 in Idaho and $138,970 in New Mexico, according to the BLS. To get started in this lucrative field, you definitely need a bachelor’s, but some employers may require a master’s degree or even a PhD. Whatever education level you attain, expect your course load to include many math and science classes, as well as more specific classes such as nuclear engineering design, nuclear-risk assessment and management and thermal hydraulics for nuclear plants.
According to a report from the Society of Human Resource Management, more than half of private organizations offer tuition reimbursement plans to employees who wish to earn a postsecondary degree or certificate. These plans are mutually beneficial. Employees who receive assistance can offset some of the out-of-pocket costs for their education, and employers strengthen their workforce with workers who have advanced training in their field. However, tuition reimbursement will not cover all of the student's expenses. The average organization reimburses roughly $4,600 in tuition expenses per year. Additionally, the employee may be required to work for the organization for a certain length of time after they have received their degree or certificate.

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.
Admission requirements include a minimum 2.3 GPA and SAT/ACT scores. Online courses at CSU Global begin every four weeks and do not meet at set times, allowing students to follow a completely asynchronous schedule. The bachelor's degree tracks consist of 120 credits, and undergraduates can transfer up to 90 credits from other accredited institutions. Most online bachelor's programs at CSU Global require a capstone project, and some, such as degrees in human services and criminal justice, offer specializations.
Available online master's degrees include 12 programs in specialized fields such as biomedical engineering, government accountancy, music education, and supply chain management. In addition to full degrees, Rutgers students can also draw from three Rutgers campuses for individual online courses. The university hosts an annual online learning conference that includes panel discussions and demonstrations on emerging technology, learning management software, and related topics.
Located in Virginia Beach, VA, Regent University is a private, Christian research university that is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to online programs. The school has invested heavily in its online offerings and currently offers 128 online degrees at the undergraduate through doctoral levels—many of which have found their way onto national rankings like U.S. News and World Report.
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.
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.
Students in associate degree programs in education can chose from many different areas of specialization. The most common concentrations are early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education, and special education. Some students may also choose to specialize in a particular subject, such as math or biology. Regardless of the area of interest, students will learn about classroom management, curriculum development, and best practices for working with school staff and parents. Coursework typically includes topics such as education fundamentals, education technology, education psychology, and child development and growth. In addition to classroom learning, students in these programs may be required to complete internships or externships in order to graduate.
This major takes the study of chemistry and materials science one step further into the process of producing commercial goods by adding engineering. As a student of this field, you’ll learn how to use raw materials to create products such as clothes, food, fuel, drugs and much more. Typical courses for this path include biochemistry, chemical kinetics and thermodynamics, as well as many other types of math and science.
If you’re interested in Photography, you may enjoy related majors including Animation & Video Graphics; Audiovisual Technician; Commercial & Advertising Art; Communications Technologies/Technicians and Support Services; Communications Technology/Technician; Computer Graphics; Computer Media Applications; Computer Typography and Composition Equipment Operator; Design & Visual Communications; Design and Applied Arts; Film/Video & Cinematography; General Graphic Communications; Graphic and Printing Equipment Operator, General Production; Graphic Design; Illustration; Intermedia/Multimedia; Other Graphic Communications; Photographic and Film/ Video Technology/Technician and Assistant; Platemaker/Imager; Printing Management; Printing Press Operator; Publishing & Digital Imaging; Radio & Television Technician; Recording Arts Technology; and Web Design.

Harvard tied for a first-place ranking on U.S. News and World Report's most recent list of schools with the best biology programs from 2014. Harvard's life sciences major offers concentrations that include chemical and physical biology, human developmental and regenerative biology, human evolutionary biology, integrated biology/organismic and evolutionary biology, molecular and cellular biology, and neurobiology. Students may participate in life sciences research at one of Harvard's labs. A master's degree is also available.
College is often considered the surest path to a lucrative career. After all, while you can find some promising jobs without a college degree, the majority of the best jobs for the future require you to have at least a bachelor's degree just to get your foot in the door. And this is especially true for those jobs with the biggest paychecks. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a worker with a bachelor's degree typically earns 80% more than someone with just a high school diploma.
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.
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.
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.

This elementary education degree program includes courses in the foundations of teacher education, instructional planning and presentation, assessment, and classroom management. Core teacher education courses focus on diversity, disciplinary literacy, elementary education methods, and pedagogy. It requires in-classroom observation and a term of full-time demonstration teaching.
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.

One of three campuses in the world-class University of Illinois, the University of Illinois Springfield is widely acclaimed for their leadership in online learning. UIS offers over 45 degree, certification, and graduate certificate programs for nontraditional students, many of which rank among the best in the country. Students encounter an intellectually rich environment with top-notch faculty and online resources.
If you’re willing to take those risks, expect to study plenty of math and science. At the University of Texas, a top school for this field, some courses for the petroleum engineering degree include: engineering, energy and the environment in the first year; mechanics of solids in the second year; petrophysics in the third year; and reservoir geomechanics in the final 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.
If you can handle those kinds of ebbs and flows, plan on studying architectural design basics, architectural history, architectural technology and other similar subjects. Learning about eco-friendly designs, too, can help give your career a boost as demand for energy-efficient buildings and structures increases. Also note that many bachelor of architecture programs can take five years to complete on schedule. And after graduation, you need to work a paid internship for up to three years and then pass the Architect Registration Examination in order to earn your license as an architect. Find out more through the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.
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.
Third, majors help demonstrate how you learn to focus and apply yourself - much like a baseball player is assigned a position to play on defense or a lineup position in the batting order.  Yet, the major does not actually prepare you for a specific job or position in the real world.  In a hypothetical setting, colleges and universities utilize majors as a means to segment instruction across a range of academic departments.  And, the major and departments, through concentrations, can then assess comprehension and learning outcomes.
City University of Seattle, or CityU, is a private nonprofit institution offering online and hybrid degrees at all collegiate levels. Undergraduate options include online associate degrees in business or general studies along with 11 online bachelor's programs in fields such as applied psychology, cybersecurity, and information systems. Online graduate-level options at CityU include 10 master's degrees and two doctorates, most of which concentrate in business administration or education.

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.
For students interested in online school, a few Photography online degree programs are offered at technical schools, colleges and universities. You can experiment with the camera and take pictures on your own schedule and then submit them to your online school professors. Many online degree programs also incorporate business basics that can help you market yourself later. See All Online Photography Degree Programs.
All active-duty personnel and spouses qualify for in-state tuition. Many online bachelor's degrees at ECU are cohort-based, allowing students to take courses with the same group for the duration of their program. The university also offers a handful of video tutorials to help online students get started. East Carolina University receives regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Dallas Baptist University is a private Christian liberal arts school that offers online degrees for undergraduate and graduate students. In addition to degrees in biblical studies and Christian ministries, those seeking an online bachelor's can choose from subjects including psychology, sociology, healthcare management, and eight business disciplines. The school's 15 online master's degrees include six tracks for aspiring teachers, six ministry pathways, and an MBA with concentration options.
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.
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.
One of three campuses in the world-class University of Illinois, the University of Illinois Springfield is widely acclaimed for their leadership in online learning. UIS offers over 45 degree, certification, and graduate certificate programs for nontraditional students, many of which rank among the best in the country. Students encounter an intellectually rich environment with top-notch faculty and online resources.
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.
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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