Is An Online Degree Program Right for You?
It is easy to see why online degrees are gaining trust and value. Online education can give anyone, parents and working professionals, an opportunity to earn a degree at their own pace, on their own schedule by enrolling in a career-aligned degree program of their choice, from anywhere in the country.
According to a 2019 Online College Survey, 84 percent of online students interviewed found their online programs were worth the cost. More than 80 percent felt they found the knowledge and skills needed to compete confidently in the job market.
An online degree program can be right for any one wants to pursue an online degree in business, nursing, computer science, healthcare administration, or just about any academic field.
Top Reasons to Choose an Online Degree Program
Students who enroll in online degree programs can balance study, work, family and social life on their own terms. Here are five other benefits:
The Value of a Degree
Postsecondary Students Enrolled in Distance Education
Enrollment in online courses and degree programs continues to grow. Recent data on postsecondary students shows that over 3 million students took courses exclusively online and more than 6 million students took at least one class, according to the 2018 Babson Survey. Public institutions served the most online students, followed by private, nonprofit schools.
The right education can boost your earning power. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the amount of formal education a person has had – and the type of degree earned – have a huge impact on wages.
Median weekly earnings, 2018
Yes, going to college typically costs significant dollars. But consider the wage difference between bachelor's degree holders and those with a high school diploma – nearly $26,000 a year in 2018 – and multiply that over a multi-year career. College can be a very wise investment.
Featured Online Degree Programs
Recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that 15,673 online degree programs are available from 1,911 accredited schools. Hover over each subject category below to see the number of online degree programs available (no. of programs), current employment numbers, projected job openings by 2026 and the average salary for 2016.
How to Select the Best Online Degree Program and School
Whether you're investing in a car or college degree, you probably want the maximum value for your money. While affordability is a critical factor, it's not the only one. Consider these points before choosing your online degree program and school.
Degree & Career Match-Up Tool
Before You Enroll
The cost of higher education continues to increase, so it's wise to learn about financial aid, grants and scholarship options before you enroll. Make sure you understand:
And depending on the degree and college you choose, you may be required to take entry-level tests. These are the most common ones:
SAT: This exam tests your skills in reading, writing, language and mathematics (with a calculator) and math (without a calculator).
ACT: This multiple-choice exam tests your knowledge of English, mathematics, reading and science.
AP: Held in May each year, a good score in this exam could entail college credit and advanced placement in college.
CLEP: Get a qualifying score on any of the 33 examinations and earn credit for subject matter you already know.
GED: This test is for those who have not completed high school. It measures proficiency in science, mathematics, social studies, reading and writing. While a high school diploma is the usual entry-level requirement for 4-year degree programs, most colleges consider passing the GED equivalent to having a high school diploma.
Having trouble choosing a major? Here are seven degrees that offer a variety of career paths for undeclared students.Read more »
- 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
- Earnings and unemployment rates by educational attainment, 2015, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed July 15, 2016, http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm
- Online Learning Consortium, accessed July 15, 2016: Grade Level: Tracking Online Education in the United States, February 2015, http://info2.onlinelearningconsortium.org/rs/897-CSM-305/images/gradelevel.pdf#page=51; Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States, January 2013, http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/changingcourse.pdf#page=40;
- Bachelor's degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions, by field of study, Digest of Education Statistics, National Center for Education Statistics, July 2013, accessed July 15, 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_322.10.asp
- How Employers View Your Online Bachelor's Degree, U.S. News and World Report, March 4, 2014, accessed July 15, 2016, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2014/02/28/what-employers-really-think-about-your-online-bachelors-degree
- FAQs about Accreditation, U.S. Department of Education, accessed July 15, 2016, http://ope.ed.gov/ACCREDITATION/FAQAccr.aspx