Last updated on November 28th, 2023.
Going to college can be an invaluable experience, rich with opportunities to learn, reflect, and expand your horizons to a new life. As more people obtain degrees, the pressure grows for others to also get them. Unfortunately, doing so can be more than a little trouble for some. In such cases, online degree programs can be an attractive alternative to traditional schooling.
Thankfully, colleges all over the country offer online programs for degrees in a wide range of subjects. The 10 Best Online Degree Programs we’ve found are:
- Southern New Hampshire University – Computer Information Systems
- Texas A&M University – Petroleum Engineering
- Boston University – Financial Management
- Florida International University – Human Resource Management
- Arizona State University – Technical Communications
- Oregon State University- Environmental Sciences
- Full Sail University – Graphic Design
- Purdue University – Nutrition
- University of Phoenix – Accounting
- Arizona School of Health Sciences – Athletic Training
Choosing to go through college online can be a life-changing decision, opening you up to a world of opportunity previously left untapped. While it’s not perfect for everyone, anyone that has given it a moment’s thought can probably get a lot of use from it. Read on to learn about online degree programs and a few real examples you can check out.
What Is An Online Degree Program?
An online degree program is a college education that takes place online rather than on a physical campus. Given the massive use of virtual learning during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of studying from a computer shouldn’t be too unfamiliar. Regardless, online degrees have been pursued for years and have been taken more seriously over time.
Online degrees can be pursued by any type of prospective student, regardless of career interest or life experience. While usually seen as an opportunity for fully-grown adults without any post-secondary education, online college is also for graduates looking to further their education once more.
A key part of online degree programs is whether or not it is an officially accredited program. Accreditation essentially means recognition as a legitimate program, which is crucial for degrees to be seriously considered by employers.
Unfortunately, various schools have profited off of their unaccredited programs, leaving their students with debt and a degree that is essentially worthless.
Many online degrees, however, are becoming more respected and normalized in both availability and demand. Employers and prospective students alike see online college as a valid route for post-secondary education. Currently, 33% of residential colleges offer students one or more degree programs that can be completely finished online.
What Degrees Can You Get Completely Online?
While some online degrees are hybrid (meaning a combination of online and physical classes), most can be done completely online. This is including 57% of bachelor’s programs and 75% of master’s programs. Thanks to the span of the internet, degrees at any level can be obtained throughout the country. It’s fair to assume that these numbers will increase over time.
However, there are some degrees that cannot be done completely online due to their content. This is a result of required activities that must be supervised by a professional, which is common in degrees involving medical or social work. Thankfully, it is typically possible for students to complete this requirement at an approved facility near each individual’s home.
Aside from those exceptions, you can likely find an online version of a degree you’re interested in at any level. Whether you’re a transfer, graduate, or new to college, you’ll have the chance to jump into it. While it may seem strange and daunting, online college can fulfill many needs and passions, making it worthwhile to at least browse a few programs.
The 10 Best Online Degree Programs
Online schooling may seem like a dream to those eager to get a degree and move on up in the world. In addition to accreditation, other issues are at play and deserve careful attention, which is how programs will be included on the list. These include:
- School/Program opportunities
- Salary of your major-related career
The following 10 online degree programs each offer special insights and knowledge, spanning a variety of fields and areas. This list was designed keeping in mind that readers have different interests, leading to an inclusive set of offerings. It should also be noted that this list contains both bachelor’s and master’s-degree programs.
Having said that, we encourage you to do your own research regarding different schools and the types of programs they offer. If you see a program you like but don’t like the school, you should, of course, look for other offers. At the very least, this should help open your eyes to the possibilities of an online college option and get you thinking about your plans.
1. Southern New Hampshire University - Computer Information Systems (Bachelors)
A degree in computer information systems puts you right in the heart of the computer industry. By combining the technical knowledge of computer sciences and the business-savvy mindset of executives, you’ll be prepared to lead the field of technology. Thankfully, SNHU has you covered to learn all of this online.
- Opportunities: Student can feel the benefits, whether it’s competitions testing your skills at disarming cyber attacks or a celebration of women technologists. SNHU offers its students the chance to join the community and immerse themselves in technological issues.
- Salary: At a median salary of $146,360, the potential of a degree in this field is rife with opportunities. Also, with an expectation of 10% growth, prospective students should jump at the opportunity to join.
- Tuition: the cost per credit is $320. 120 credits must be completed at SNHU, but up to 90 can be transferred.
2. Texas A&M University - Petroleum Engineering (Master’s)
While perhaps removed from the glamour of philosophical studies, petroleum engineering bridges the gap between education and practical usage for the world. Equipped with the proper training, petroleum engineers are charged with the responsibilities of overseeing refining, as well as developing methods for extracting precious resources. This typically requires a master’s degree to engage in this discipline successfully.
- Opportunities: While this degree is offered at a master’s level rather than a bachelor’s, your time as a student is still open to many positive experiences catered to your needs. The university does not require a thesis or lab work, making it a perfect and purely online experience.
- Salary: While the predicted increase is only 3%, placing it as average, the median salary is still a whopping $137,720. This is certainly worth the trouble of even a master’s degree due to the ever-growing need to sort out issues of available resources.
- Tuition: the cost per credit is $282 in-state, while the out-of-state cost is $794.
3. Boston University - Financial Management (Master’s)
Designed for upholding any money-making machine, financial management covers the ins and outs of business. Ensuring your company follows standards and remains vigilant makes you an invaluable part of the team. Whether it’s risk and ethics or markets and securities, a degree in financial management highlights a deep understanding of how to properly run a company.
- Opportunities: Another master’s program, Boston University, can keep students up to date on the latest trends and theories in business education and practice.
- Salary: Increasing at a forecasted 15% with a median salary of $129,890, financial management is a valuable degree in any industry.
- Tuition: Falling under the Metropolitan College of BU, tuition rates are as follows:
- Part-Time: $940 per credit for courses level 600 and higher (graduate level)
- Full-Time: $58,560 (12-18 credits for graduates)
4. Florida International University - Human Resource Management (Bachelor’s)
Another part of business management a human resources bachelor, ensures that businesses make certain that the needs of their employees are met. Truth be told, sometimes the decisions of a company are removed from the people they impact, leading to pain and dissatisfaction. From insurance plans to entertainment, your work as a human resource professional will maintain the humanity within business processes.
- Opportunities: FIU sponsors various events and activities for those interested in business. These include webinars, which are ideal for students aiming for a completely online experience.
- Salary: HR managers can expect median salaries of $116,720 with a forecasted growth of 6%, making your degree a safe bet.
- Tuition: For undergraduate students, the cost per credit is $205.57 for Florida residents and $618.87 for out-of-state students.
5. Arizona State University - Technical Communications (Bachelor’s)
This bachelor of science degree program teaches students how to convey information in a concise and accessible manner. Those that possess such skills can be a bridge between professionals and the public, using clear presentation to communicate. Whether it be for a product or instruction manual, technical communication is crucial to public understanding.
- Opportunities: In addition to its wonderful courses and high-ranking online education, ASU provides its online students a place in its community. The Sun Devil community welcomes online students as members, allowing them the chance to access the connections and credentials that traditional, on-site students have.
- Salary: A Technical Communications degree is best meant for a technical writing career, which has a salary average of $72,850 and a projected growth rate of 7%.
- Tuition: An undergraduate student at ASU will have a cost of $561-$661 per credit, depending on your course load.
6. Oregon State University - Environmental Sciences (Bachelor’s)
As the world becomes more eager to better understand and protect its environment, the expertise of scientists is needed. In the face of severe climate change and concern, this is a more pressing issue than ever before. An Environmental Sciences program will teach its students how to recognize environmental conditions and how to prevent destruction to the climate.
- Opportunities: Ranked among the best online bachelor colleges, OSU provides students with courses designed from its own science facilities. Those who do graduate will receive a degree that has no difference from that of a traditional student, curbing any negative connotations held by employers.
- Salary: A good option for someone with a bachelor’s in environmental sciences is to work as a conservation scientist, which offers a median salary of $62,410 and a targeted growth of 5%.
- Tuition: The cost per credit is $331, but since OSU works on a quarter-term system, the total number of credits needed is 180 rather than the usual 120.
7. Full Sail University - Graphic Design (Bachelor’s)
Graphic design is a rich field comprised of various forms and disciplines of artistic expression. While there’s nothing wrong with the typical paintbrush and easel, this program opens up an artist’s horizons and access to technological innovations. Whether it comes in the form of interactive presentations or motion graphics, complex ideas and messages can be crafted to completion.
- Opportunities: In addition to its online status, Full Sail programs start every month rather than every term, allowing prospective students to jump in soon. Also, Full Sail’s Project LaunchboxTM grants each student a MacBook and software relevant to the student’s program.
- Salary: Multimedia artists/animators enjoy a median salary of $75,270 and a solid growth of 4%.
- Tuition: A graphic design degree at Full Sail has a credit rate of $783 each.
8. Purdue University - Nutrition (Bachelor’s)
Being educated about nutrition and diets is beneficial not only to you but to others as well. Such information can cut through the troubles that the public faces regarding their health. Many suffer from being unable to maintain a healthy diet, making them desperate for the knowledge and guidance of an expert.
- Opportunities: Along with its competitive curriculum approved by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, Purdue offers an internship working in the field of nutrition. For those interested in a master’s, there is also an accelerated program that transitions from the nutrition bachelor’s program, leading to less time and money spent.
- Salary: The median salary for dieticians and nutritionists is $61,270, with a forecasted increase of 8%.
- Tuition: The cost per credit is $371, but the total number of credits required is 180.
9. University of Phoenix - Accounting (Bachelor’s)
By teaching you the basics of accounting principles and practices, this program will allow you to be the backbone of any legitimate business. A degree in accounting will prove your ability to truly understand how a business is properly run.
- Opportunities: University of Phoenix has a steady and easy-to-follow program that’s accessible to any online student. Each course is taken one at a time and takes five weeks to complete. This flexible schedule ensures students have the time to truly learn each subject before going on to the next without being left behind.
- Salary: Accountants enjoy a median salary of $71,550 and have a projected growth rate of 4%.
- Tuition: The cost per credit is $398.
10. Arizona School of Health Sciences - Athletic Training (Master’s)
Sports is not only a huge and profitable industry but also an indispensable part of culture and recreation. From little league to the Olympics, athletics take place in many different subcultures and places. As an athletic trainer, you would be diagnosing and treating athletes’ injuries, whether you’re in a clinic or employed by a team.
- Opportunities: Being able to complete this online is a plus, but this program can be finished within a year, allowing for speedy completion and a quick start to the job search.
- Salary: Being an athletic trainer gives you a median salary of $48,440 and a forecasted growth of 16%. This is the lowest salary, as well as the largest projected growth, offering a stable spot meant for those with a true passion.
- Tuition: The program requires the completion of 30 credits at a rate of $600 each.
Is An Online Degree Worth It?
Mulling over your options may make you second guess yourself and decide to quit any chances of online college. After all, it’ll still be just as expensive and frustrating, especially if you’re starting off from scratch with no transfer credits or scholarship. These are all valid concerns, and it takes a serious person to address them.
However, these questions shouldn’t be the end of the conversation for everyone.
While some may find little use in college and these obstacles are good enough reason to not go, others may find that the benefits outweigh the negatives. However, pursuing an online degree can ease the tension by allowing you to join a campus you wouldn’t otherwise be physically able to attend.
Truthfully, an online degree expands your options and deserves solid consideration. Learning online instead of in-person won’t make all of the problems associated with college go away. What it will do is give you the chance to engage with your education wherever you’d like, with plenty of choices and career paths to enjoy.
A major exception is for those who would have a better experience by attending college the traditional way. Students looking for the social experience of living in dorms and developing close relationships might be disappointed with an online experience. In the end, this is all about what you want out of the college experience and picking out your own path.
Much like a traditional college, an online college can be both a blessing and a curse. The high amount of debts and work may be discouraging at times, but typically they will pay for themselves with a fruitful life. Degrees are a great way to jump start your careers or even certifications like a certification in secondary education. All things are possible!
While college can be transforming, it certainly isn’t magic. While a school far away from you offers a program you like, you may have previously been prevented from pursuing your dreams by something as trivial as distance.
With any luck, such a situation can be fixed if an online version of the program is offered. As long as you have an internet connection and a desire to learn, education can be available at the touch of your fingertips. Online college can give you a chance to grow past your expected potential and should be given sincere consideration.