The cost of a formal education is very high, and many people spend years paying off student loans. After entering the workforce in their degree field, some individuals find themselves dissatisfied with their job, and they want to change careers. The one problem is that career changes can sometimes require additional courses or another degree all together, which also means additional cost. Giving careful consideration to the choice of a major may eliminate the need for drastic career changes early on in post-college life.
Due to the rapid evolution of online coursework, online programs are quickly becoming some of the most high-quality degree options available. To date, well over 2,000 colleges offer accredited online programs. While our list of the best online colleges and universities is a good starting point for researching programs, we've outlined additional steps you can take to narrow your list of potential schools.
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.
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 ASU Online you’ll be able to avoid the one-size-fits-all approach to education. Students are able to tailor their degree programs to fit their personal career goals and often have the chance to practice skills and gain real-world experience in their own communities. And students benefit from direct connection to the knowledge and expertise of the same award-winning faculty who teach on-campus. Top degree programs include:
WGU is a flexible program perfect for the working individual. I obtained my MSN in leadership and management and the program afforded me with the skills necessary to continue on the leadership pathway. I felt supported by my mentor and course instructors and was able to obtain a healthy work/life balance. I highly recommended this institution to anyone interested in furthering their education.
Indiana University offers a wide selection of online undergraduate and graduate degrees, including 23 bachelor's degree programs in fields such as business administration, labor studies, medical imaging technology, and an RN-to-BSN. Several of these pathways serve as degree completion programs that exclusively admit students with a two-year degree; others serve as standalone, four-year tracks. Graduate students at Indiana University can select from 31 online master's programs and six online doctoral degrees, most of which focus on management and/or healthcare.
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.
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.
I would 100% recommended WGU based on my experience! I completed the M.Ed. in Learning and Technology at my own pace for only $3,000 per 6 months. I had been in a government training position for about 2.5 years before starting this program. Between then and now (finished the program about 2 years ago), I received two promotions internally and now have competing job offers externally. This degree has opened me up to so many new corporate instructional design positions and made me a top candidate!

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.
WGU’s teaching degrees require students to complete a thorough degree plan of rigorous online coursework, before completing observation hours, and demonstration teaching in a live classroom setting. Once we review your previous transcripts for transfer credits we will set your degree plan, based on what remains to be completed on our standard path degree plan. As you approach the end of your coursework we will help you find a local school in which to do 75-115 classroom observation hours as you prepare for your demonstration teaching. The last component of your degree plan will be a 4-6-month demonstration teaching position in your area. WGU will assist with placement for this position. Upon completion of demonstration teaching you will be prepared to graduate and apply for your teaching license!
Students may seek loans from the federal government or private lending institutions, such as banks or credit unions. Federal loans carry a fixed interest rate and the interest may be tax-deductible. These loans do not need to be repaid until the student graduates or leaves school, and those who struggle to repay their loans may be able to postpone or reduce their monthly payments.
With more than 90,000 online students, Southern New Hampshire University is one of the fastest-growing postsecondary institutions in the U.S. The school offers online bachelor's degrees in a total of 40 fields. These options include business administration, criminal justice, geosciences, and information technology. Graduate students can choose from 29 MBA tracks and five pathways in curriculum and instruction.
A public research university, the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) is a member of the four-campus University of Missouri System and home to an eLearning campus of excellence. UMKC offers well over 50 online degree programs—in diverse areas but with a special emphasis on healthcare degrees—at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.
It is hard to find a better school than Colorado State University - Fort Collins if you wish to study Zoology. Colorado State University - Fort Collins offers graduate degrees in zoology for those interested in an advanced degree. The location in a significant city is great for students seeking out considerable prospects for social networking, experience, and exploration.
Make sure your computer is protected against malware. If you have Windows 8 or 10, you should already have Windows Defender (but make sure it’s on and up-to-date). For further protection, you can pair that with the free version of Malwarebytes. It also doesn’t hurt to install an ad blocker like Ublock Origin (which is what I use in order to block malicious ads before they even get the chance to load – you can always whitelist the sites you trust if you want to support them.
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