Brittany Pierce wanted to be pushed beyond what she knew from years of teaching. She came to WGU prepared to work hard, using the ability to accelerate through her program to her advantage, and graduated in 11 months. Brittany talks about using lessons from her coursework in the M.A. Science Education program in her own classroom the very next day, and she says completing her program quickly took focus and self-motivation.
At CMU Global Campus, online students experience a comprehensive education with the flexibility of customizable degree programs. Many programs offer students the ability to choose a specialization within the major—making the degree a personalized fit for your career goals. And students benefit from wrap-around services like academic advising, an Online Learning Resource Center, and peer assistance through the Online Ally program. Top degree programs 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.
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.
If you find yourself generally immersed in some book—anything from Shakespeare to Cheryl Strayed—you will likely find others just like you in the English department studying the trochaic octameter of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven," the stunning word choices of narrative nonfiction author Annie Dillard, or the experimental elements of the writings of Walter Abish. English programs focus on literature, language, and writing, and an English major will encounter a wide array of absorbing works of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction from around the world and throughout history. Analyzing the works of the greatest minds and imaginations that human civilization has produced will surely sharpen your critical, emotional, creative, and moral faculties. The study of literature also helps to shed some light on the answers to the enduring questions of the human condition. This degree is tremendous preparation for a future in law, journalism, publishing, graduate studies, and just about anything else.
A name brand school, Penn State World Campus (part of the Pennsylvania State University system), has been offering students an alternative to traditional on-campus education since 1998. Penn State World Campus offers over 150 degree and certificate programs all delivered online. These courses are developed and taught by Penn State professors, ensuring the highest quality course content. The university is focused on offering an education to suit current market-based needs. Online courses are offered from the Bachelors to the Doctoral level, and include programs such as Nursing, Nutritional Science, and Geographic Information Systems.
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.
St. Paul's Concordia University offers a total of 16 online bachelor's programs. These include degrees in specialized fields such as child development, exercise science, sport management, and pulmonary science -- along with tracks in accounting, information technology, an RN-to-BSN, and other general fields. Additionally, graduate students can pursue online master's degrees in 23 different fields and doctoral degrees in physical therapy or education.
Your MIS degree can lead you to many different computer-related career paths. Among the most common and highest paid positions is as an information systems manager. On top of the above-average growth in demand, this job earns a median $130,400 a year. But it will take at least a few years of work experience to climb to this management role. And many employers prefer candidates with MBAs. With a bachelor's, you can break into the field as a computer systems analyst, who can expect to earn median pay of more than $85,000 a year and enjoy a projected long-term growth rate of 22.0%, and then try working your way up to the boss’s seat.
Demand for expertise in this field is building. Expectations for population and business growth in the U.S. for the next several years fuels the need for new homes, office buildings, hospitals, schools and structures of all kinds, as well as the improvement and maintenance of existing buildings and infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and sewer pipe systems. That means growing opportunities for construction managers, an obvious professional goal for this academic path. Plus, their median income is a solid $71,781 a year.
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).
Fort Hays State boasts numerous accolades for its online degrees and virtual college. Several of the school's online bachelor's pathways serve as degree completion programs geared toward transfer students with an associate degree; most students complete these tracks in two years or less. Additionally, some programs carry a foreign language coursework requirement.
A college degree is the best way to increase your earning potential - but different careers require different degrees. Think specifically about the types of job titles you hope to be eligible for after you graduate and the types of employers you want to work for. Research the kinds of skills and degrees people at those jobs have, and use that research to narrow down the degree programs you are considering.
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.
One of my biggest regrets in life was intentionally falling out of touch with high school friends. I had joined a group of people who convinced me that the only important thing was their group and if friends or family did not understand, they should be cut off (read: I got into a pyramid-like scheme). I missed out on so much, and now the stream of Facebook updates from my high school friends makes me sad.