What Can I Do With A Degree In Marketing?

Marketing careers span the range of industries and employers, from public or private corporations, government entities, and nonprofit organizations. Specializations can be equally wide ranging, from fashion and food to pharmaceuticals and sports. Marketers may focus on topics like brand management, product development, social media, technology or global markets. Marketing campaigns typically depend on product, price, place and promotion; similarly, marketing careers and opportunities can vary by industry and location.

Most management positions in marketing require a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Advertising positions may require a bachelor’s degree in advertising or journalism. Marketing professionals usually work for corporates, manufacturing companies, wholesale traders as well as advertising and public relations services. Having skills in creativity and communication as well as the ability to think analytically can be a good fit for those seeking a career in this field.

Here are a few career options you have as a marketing professional:

Advertising managers create advertising campaigns within a stipulated budget in order to generate interest among consumers. In larger companies advertising managers may handle several in-house accounts and have oversight on the creatives and media department.

Promotions managers design advertising campaigns that offer consumers an incentive to purchase. These incentives may include discounts, coupons, samples, in order to promote sales.

Marketing managers help to maximize profits for the company and ensure customers are satisfied. They often work with other departments, including sales, public relations and product development, to identify competitors and potential markets for growth.

Career Outlook for Marketing Professionals

The job outlook in marketing is strong, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job outlook for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers from 2016 to 2026 is 10 percent (faster than the average for all other occupations), while the job outlook for marketing research analysts is 23 percent (much faster than average).

Wages for Marketing Professionals

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May, 2017), the following are the mean annual wages for marketing professionals:

  • Advertising and Promotions Manager: $123,880
  • Marketing Managers: $145,620

Online Degrees in Marketing

Prospective students interested in earning a degree in this field — but who don’t have the time to become a full-time on-campus student — can consider earning an online degree in marketing. Online degree programs in marketing are just as rigorous and comparable to on-campus programs.

An online degree in marketing can teach students the fundamental lessons needed to begin a marketing career in any industry. Depending on the program you choose, coursework may include:

  • Consumer behavior
  • Communication methods and technology
  • Business law
  • Finance
  • Computer science
  • Visual arts and statistics

The professors that teach marketing generally have industry-specific experience that students can benefit from. Potential employers tend to value candidates who have a degree in marketing as it shows them that you are serious about this profession and come with the credentials needed to learn and grow in your profession.

Learn more about the field of marketing, as well as related career paths, in our infographic below. We examine popular careers and major employers as well as some thriving industries and hot locations for marketing pursuits.

Sources:

  • Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm
  • Advertising and Promotions Managers, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, Occupational Employment Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes112011.htm#st
  • Marketing Managers, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, Occupational Employment Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes112021.htm#st
  • For a complete list of sources, please view the infographic.

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10 Fast Growing Jobs Robots Can’t Do

Technology has helped us to improve our lives in ways we never thought imaginable fifty years ago. It has driven communication forward by leaps and bounds, making the world a smaller place, allowing us to have conversations from one end of the world to the other and to learn about different cultures without having to leave home. It has also opened up higher education opportunities such as paving the way for busy people to earn a degree of their choice through online degree programs.

Technology also has its downside. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), automation is expected to replace 800 million “human” jobs worldwide by 2030, affecting one-fifth of the global workforce. A 2017 McKinsey study states that 375 million people may need to switch occupations and learn new skills due to automation.

But here’s the good news.

The McKinsey study also shows that technology can actually create new jobs. Consider these examples:

  • The introduction of ATMs actually led to a 43 percent increase in the opening of new bank branches in urban areas; and the hiring of more tellers in each new branch.
  • The advent of personal computers created 15.8 million new jobs in non-technology-related sectors like call centers and finance.

While some of the more mundane or repetitive tasks can be replaced by technology, humanness is unique. It’s found in everyday things like telling a joke to lighten the mood or a sympathetic pat on the back. These (not-so) simple things we take for granted all require that special undefinable factor that makes us human.

While technology can create new jobs, plenty of occupations already exist that technology is not likely to replace. Here’s a range of 10 interesting occupations that require the human factor. And what’s more … these jobs have a higher than average demand in the job market.

#1 Physical Therapists 

In 2016, researchers at Georgia Tech tested Darwin, a robot designed to help physical therapy patients meet their fitness goals. While some may see this as a cause for worry in terms of job replacement, Darwin’s function as an aide doesn’t replace the customized recommendations by a physical therapist for the types of exercises a patient needs to perform. Physical therapists need to take into account each individual’s different pain threshold and response to treatment. It is doubtful that a robot would be able to make a diagnosis with a nonspecific description from a patient like, “It isn’t exactly hurting now but my knees twinge when it rains.”

The need for physical therapists is increasing partly due to the aging baby boomers who are more active than previous generations, but may need help recovering from strains or injuries or in maintaining an acceptable level of flexibility, strength, and mobility.

See how an online degree program in physical therapy can help you join this growing healthcare profession.

Featured data points:

  • Number of jobs in 2016: 239,800
  • Mean annual wage in 2017: $88,080 per year
  • Typical Entry-Level Education: Doctoral or professional degree
  • Projected job growth, 2016-26: 28 percent

#2 Civil Engineers 

While artificial intelligence can, and does, aid civil engineers in their jobs by making calculations and organizing data, innovation itself is a human trait. Civil engineers also need to be able to manage a large number of variables from governmental bodies, funding agencies, contractors to labor. Projects may also come across hiccups that need to be dealt with in an innovative manner in order to meet deadlines. Managing a civil engineering project involves managing people, something robots, in all probability, are unlikely to be able to do in the near future.

The field of civil engineering is expected to grow as old infrastructure needs replacement or repair and to meet the infrastructural needs of a growing population. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that renewable-energy projects will likely require the services of civil engineers.

Find out how you can become a civil engineer through an online degree program.

Featured data points:

  • Number of jobs in 2016: 239,800
  • Mean annual wage in 2017: $91,790 per year
  • Typical Entry-Level Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Projected job growth, 2016-26: 11 percent

#3 Meeting, Convention and Event Planners 

Event planners need a large amount of creativity and interpersonal skills — skills robots do not yet possess. They also need to coordinate with a vast number of vendors and contractors in order to put together various aspects of an event. The organizational skills needed for coordinating the large number of variables that go with event planning makes it highly unlikely that robots will be taking over the event planning industry anytime soon.

The event planning industry is huge. According to a 2018 study by the Events Industry Council, it supported more direct jobs in 2016 than many large manufacturing industries. This trend is expected to continue. For example, industry-focused conventions can still provide valuable opportunities for geographically separate people to get together in person. And nonprofit organizations are likely to continue to host fundraising galas to help them meet their financial goals.

Get behind the scenes and learn how you can become a part of this exciting industry with an online degree in event planning.

Featured data points:

  • Number of jobs in 2016: 116,700
  • Mean annual wage in 2017: $52,630 per year
  • Typical Entry-Level Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Projected job growth, 2016-26: 11 percent

#4 Chefs and Head Cooks 

While there are several robots in the culinary world, two of the most famous examples being Flippy — the burger flipping robot and the robotic kitchen making waves in Spyce, Boston, they still need human chefs to feed them recipes and give them the flavor combinations that a human palate can enjoy. Chefs are the creative minds behind some of our most memorable culinary experiences — whether it’s the diner down the road or the latest fine dining establishment. Not only do they add their own spin on existing recipes, but chefs often come up with exciting new ones of their own.

The demand for chefs is expected to rise for several different reasons: there’s greater consumer interest in eating healthier but still flavorful meals, and the trend to dine out continues to grow as work and family schedules can mean that people have less time to prepare their own meals.

Learn how you can take some of your culinary coursework online.

Featured data points:

  • Number of jobs in 2016: 146,500
  • Mean annual wage in 2017: $49,650 per year
  • Typical Entry-Level Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Projected job growth, 2016-26: 10 percent

#5 Mental Health Counselors 

A large part of the therapeutic process is the attention counselors are able to give each individual patient, whether the patient is dealing with substance abuse, a behavioral disorder, or other mental health issue. While one may argue that computers are nonjudgmental, John Nuttall, Professor of Integrative Psychotherapy at Regent’s University, London and Chair of the third sector service West London Centre for Counselling (WLCC) is firm on the fact that therapy requires human involvement, stating “Research shows that psychotherapy effectiveness is about the relationship that builds between two people.” People may also relate to counselors who have overcome situations similar to their own, drawing inspiration from their experiences – something that make the human connection extremely important in their recovery.

The BLS predicts that the demand for counselors is expected to be good especially in rural areas where communities are underserved by mental health practitioners.

Find out about how you can become a counselor through an online degree program.

Featured data points:

  • Number of jobs in 2016: 260,200
  • Mean annual wage in 2017: $46,560 per year
  • Typical Entry-Level Education: Educational requirements vary from a high school diploma and certification to a master’s degree
  • Projected job growth, 2016-26: 23 percent

#6 Computer and Information Systems Managers 

This technology-based occupation is one that cannot be replaced by robots. Also known as IT (Information Technology) managers, computer and information systems managers need complex skills like coding, designing websites and writing flows for new applications that require creative approaches to provide solutions. IT managers need to discuss organizational needs with their clients and design systems to suit them – all of this within a set budget. Programming a robot to write code or to account for all the variables involved in designing information systems is extremely difficult, not mention akin to programing yourself out of a job.

Firms across most industries are expanding their digital operations, and cloud computing and cybersecurity are amongst the hottest trends in business, so IT managers can rest assured that they will likely be needed for a long time to come.

If you are considering a career in IT, have a look at how online degrees in IT and technology can help you get there.

Featured data points:

  • Number of jobs in 2016: 367,600
  • Mean annual wage in 2017: $ 149,730 per year
  • Typical Entry-Level Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Projected job growth, 2016-26: 12 percent

#7 Preschool Teachers 

While robots have been proven to be wonderful teachers’ aides in helping children learn, especially in the case of autistic children, we are a far cry off from Rosie, the robot nanny from the Jetsons. While robots may make wonderful educational aides, they cannot help young children develop socio-emotional skills that children learn by imitating adults around them. Robots also do not have the manual dexterity needed to pick up a child that has fallen, nor do they have the empathy needed to soothe a crying child. Taking all this into consideration, it is fairly safe to say that preschool teachers are here to stay.

A rise in the population of young children and an increasing importance given to early childhood education are among the reasons why this profession is expected to grow.

Learn how you can play a vital role in the development of young children through online degrees in early childhood education.

Featured data points:

  • Number of jobs in 2016: 478,500
  • Mean annual wage in 2017: $ 33,590 per year
  • Typical Entry-Level Education: Associate degree
  • Projected job growth, 2016-26: 10 percent

#8 Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers 

Robots are a good tool to analyze trends in the market or to send out mass emails. However, robots lack the creativity and human instinct needed to design a campaign that will likely resonate well with target audiences. A computer may be programmed to analyze data trends and patterns to come up with ideas for a campaign; however it cannot be programmed to design campaigns to elicit the appropriate emotions from consumers. Advertisers can use technology and data to aid how they craft and deliver messages, but it is unlikely that they will be replaced by it.

As organizations continue to market their products and services, in order to maintain their foothold and expand their business, especially in the digital world, the need for marketing professionals is expected to grow.

Find out how you can become a part of this growing field with online degrees in marketing or communications and media.

Featured data points:

  • Number of jobs in 2016: 249,600
  • Mean annual wage in 2017: $ 123,880 per year
  • Typical Entry-Level Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Projected job growth, 2016-26: 10 percent

#9 Actors 

Actors have the artistry to play characters we fall in love with, who repel us, make us want to be them, or who just simply fascinate us. What do they all have in common? They are distinctly human. Granted there have been on-screen robots that make us invest in them emotionally — think R2-D2 and C-3PO – but it is because they show distinctly human feelings. People want to be able to relate to on-screen or on-stage characters and draw parallels to their own lives and experiences. Unless you can imagine associating your life, emotions and feelings with those of a robot, it’s fairly safe to say that actors will most likely be needed to entertain us.

The employment for actors is expected to grow due a continued demand for new movies and television shows along with the growth of internet streaming platforms.

Find out how an online degree in theater arts can help you become a part of the magical world of film and television.

Featured data points:

  • Number of jobs in 2016: 63,800
  • Mean hourly wage in 2017: $32.89 per hour (The BLS calculates wages for this profession as hourly wages since actors generally work on contract)
  • Typical Entry-Level Education: Some college, no degree
  • Projected job growth, 2016-26: 12 percent

#10 Fitness Trainers and Instructors 

Fitness trainers and instructors not only help people achieve their fitness goals through exercise and nutrition, they also can provide the motivation they need to do so. Whether they work with individuals as personal trainers or with groups, fitness instructors need to keep an eye out and adjust planned routines to cater to different levels of fitness and skills within the group. They need to project high levels of enthusiasm and energy to keep their clients engaged – emotions that a robot would not be able to show. Trainers of professional athletes can also act as life coaches helping athletes cope with the highs and lows of competitive sports and the fame that can come along with it.

The growth in the fitness industry is expected to come from an increasing awareness of the benefits of exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Learn how online degrees in sports and fitness can help you aid people to live an active lifestyle.

Featured data points:

  • Number of jobs in 2016: 299,200
  • Mean annual wage in 2017: $ 43,720 per year per year
  • Typical Entry-Level Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Projected job growth, 2016-26: 10 percent

SOURCES

  • Actors, Cooks, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, https://www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes272011.htm, accessed December 2018
  • Actors, Cooks, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook,https://www.bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/actors.htm, accessed October 2018
  • Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm, accessed September 2018
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  • Can software ever replace the therapist?, Therapy Today,: Volume 27, Issue 5, 2016,https://www.bacp.co.uk/bacp-journals/therapy-today/2016/june-2016/can-software-ever-replace-the-therapist/
  • Chefs and Head Cooks, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/food-preparation-and-serving/chefs-and-head-cooks.htm, accessed September 2018
  • Chefs and Head Cooks, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, https://www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes351011.htm, accessed December 2018
  • Civil Engineers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook,https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineers.htm, accessed September 2018
  • Civil Engineers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017,https://www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes172051.htm, accessed December 2018
  • Computer and Information Systems Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook,https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm, accessed September 2018
  • Computer and Information Systems Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017,https://www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes113021.htm, accessed December 2018
  • Economic Significance of Meetings to the US Economy Report, Events Industry Council, February 2018,https://www.eventscouncil.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/oe-eic-meetings-significance — -2018-february.pdf?sfvrsn=0
  • Fitness Trainers and Instructors, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017,https://www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes399031.htm, accessed December 2018
  • Fitness Trainers and Instructors, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook,https://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/fitness-trainers-and-instructors.htm, accessed October
  • Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained: Workforce Transitions in a Time of Automation, McKinsey Global Institute, 2017,https://www.mckinsey.com/mgi/overview/2017-in-review/automation-and-the-future-of-work/jobs-lost-jobs-gained-workforce-transitions-in-a-time-of-automation
  • Mapping the extended frontiers of escapism: binge-watching and hyperdiegetic exploration, Journal of Marketing Management, 34(5-6), 497-508, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0267257X.2018.1477818
  • Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook,https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm, accessed September 2018
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  • Physical Therapists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook,https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapists.htm, accessed September 2018
  • Preschool Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017,https://www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes252011.htm, accessed December 2018
  • Preschool Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook,https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm, accessed September 2018
  • Robot automation will ‘take 800 million jobs by 2030’ – report, BBC News, November 2017,https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42170100
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  • The Risk of Automation for Jobs in OECD Countries: A Comparative Analysis, OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 189, OECD Publishing, Paris, 2016, https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/the-risk-of-automation-for-jobs-in-oecd-countries_5jlz9h56dvq7-en
  • Use of technology in interventions for children with autism. Journal of Early and Intensive Behavior Intervention, 1(2), 166-178, 2004,http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0100287
  • Will AI Replace Creative Jobs?, Forbes, 2017,https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2017/10/11/will-ai-replace-creative-jobs/#33edf94d96a2
  • Will Robots Take My Job?,https://www.replacedbyrobot.info/, accessed September 2018
  • Will Technology Replace The Traditional Chef?, Market News, Chef Pass,http://www.chefspass.co.uk/news/will-technology-replace-the-traditional-chef, accessed September 2018

15 Best Online Business Degrees 2020

best business degrees

Did you know that individuals with a bachelor’s degree earned $468 more per week on average than those with only a high school diploma in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)? And if you’re considering earning a business degree online, in 2019 the National Association of Colleges and Employers reported that three of its top 10 most in-demand majors fall under the category of business — mainly finance, accounting and business administration.

But how do you know which online business degree programs can offer the best return on your investment? That’s where we come in. Using data from the BLS and the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (NCES IPEDS), we’ve ranked 30 online bachelor’s degrees in business to determine the 15 best online business degrees. Our methodology considers such factors as salary, number of schools offering the major online, job growth and more. Note that not all programs or specializations may be available in your area or offered 100 percent online.

The following 15 online business degree programs topped our list. Keep reading to discover what you can expect from these majors.

1. Business Administration and Management

With a potent combination of high salaries, the highest number of schools offering this major and the highest projected employment numbers, this major tops our list.

Online business administration programs typically cover traditional business subjects such as sales, marketing, management, project management, human resource management, finance and accounting as well as modern topics such as organizational behavior and the social environment of business. Many schools offer optional concentrations, such as supply chain management, operations management or marketing. Graduates can expect to be equipped with a broad understanding of business operations that can be applied in most industries.

Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018:
$100,568
No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level:
511
Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28:
8.75%
Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28:
6,739,800

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access
  • Offering over 200 online degree programs

2. Business/Commerce, General

The second major on our list ties with No. 1 in every factor except its number of programs. Typically offered as a bachelor of science, this major focuses on the nuts and bolts of operating a business, as opposed to its more theoretical or philosophical concepts. Courses taken in this program are similar to those taken in an online business administration degree program. However, the curricula typically has a stronger focus on commerce related topics like accounting, economics, finance and marketing.

Some programs may offer students a glimpse into specific industries, such as agribusiness, healthcare administration or running a small business.

Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018:
$100,568
No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level:
126
Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28:
8.75%
Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28:
6,739,800

3. International Business/Trade/Commerce

Today’s global economy has created a demand for professionals who are well-versed in international trade and finance, global markets, and the influence of culture on business practices. A degree in international business can prepare graduates to meet that need. With one of the highest salaries on our list and roughly two-thirds of industries employing professionals with this major, a bachelor’s degree in international business rightfully maintains its place on our list of top online business degrees for the second year in a row.

Although grounded in traditional business coursework, this degree program focuses on international trade, import/export, foreign business practices, international banking and finance, and the link between international relations and business. The College Board advises prospective students of online international business degree programs to be prepared to travel and learn new languages to better their job prospects.

Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018:
$124,830
No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level:
54
Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28:
7.9%
Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28:
2,890,200

4. Marketing/Marketing Management, General

Online marketing and marketing management degrees have climbed up one step to number four on our list this year with an increase in associated wages, schools offering the degree online and the percentage of industries employing grads.

Students who pursue a marketing degree online typically learn about new product development, design and pricing, market research, consumer behavior, marketing strategy, data collection and analysis, sales, advertising, promotion, brand management, public relations, and marketing communications (including digital and social media). All of this is typically grounded with a foundation in general business principles. After all, great marketing teams can be crucial to the success of a business.

Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018:
$104,544
No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level:
123
Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28:
12.82%
Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28:
1,541,500

5. Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneurial Studies

There are entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. Entrepreneurs are the business gurus behind start-ups and small businesses while intrapreneurs are the wizards behind innovative new products or services within larger companies. Both roles require good communication skills and the ability to lead people, according to the College Board. Online entrepreneurship degree programs can help you gain the business know-how and leadership skills to run your own (or someone else’s) business.

The BLS states that self-employment is on the rise in our country with the number of self-employed people expected to reach 10.3 million by 2026 and one in every four millennial reports wanting to own a business or work as an entrepreneur. This degree program can lay the groundwork for achieving those dreams. Entrepreneur-focused coursework may include new venture finance, strategic entrepreneurship, innovation, idea generation, opportunity analysis, new product development, and business plan development. Some schools offer this degree program as a specialization within in a business administration degree.

Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018:
$120,493
No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level:
18
Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28:
7.83%
Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28:
3,958,200

6. Management Science

How many times has a manager made the difference for you between loving a job and hating it? The importance of good management to a business cannot be overstated. Good managers are vital to most industries, and good managers command high salaries, which is why this major has moved up our list from number seven last year.

Management science encompasses the knowledge, insights, and tools successful managers use to organize, lead, and control organizations. This degree may be appropriate for anyone who wants to both understand and practice organizational management skills. Students pursuing this degree can expect to learn about management decision-making at all levels of an organization, from high-level strategy to human resources matters to daily operations.

Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018:
$114,470
No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level:
16
Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28:
12.78%
Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28:
3,035,500

7. Finance, General

This major makes our list for its high salaries, high rate of employment growth and high projected number of jobs for the 2018-28 decade. Finance majors learn about various concepts like the time value of money, including budgets, stocks and bonds, and interest rates that allow them to advise individuals and businesses on how to make sound financial decisions.

Students pursuing this online degree typically study corporate finance, investment risk analysis, banking, insurance, business development, financial markets, portfolio management, financial planning and management, international finance and the basics of accounting and economics. Students of online finance degrees may be able to choose a concentration in topics like investment analysis, corporate finance, or real estate.

Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018:
$95,809
No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level:
72
Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28:
10.27%
Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28:
4,863,400

8. Accounting and Business/Management

This degree has stayed resolutely at the eighth position for the second year in a row with the highest job growth in our rankings and the second highest number of industries employing graduates of this major. Students pursuing online accounting and business degree programs usually study financial and managerial accounting, auditing, taxation, and accounting law. To give additional context to the accounting role, these programs also teach business concepts like business law, marketing, and supply chain management. They also give students a chance to develop essential practical skills like working with ledgers, financial statements, budgets, accruals, and reporting.

Some programs may prepare you to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and/or the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exams and become a licensed accounting professionals.

Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018:
$94,717
No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level:
39
Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28:
13.17%
Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28:
2,555,000

9. Accounting and Finance

Online accounting and finance degrees are another type of accounting degree that have maintained their position in this year’s rankings. Unlike an accounting and business degree which can focus on business and management topics, this online degree program focuses on the relationship between accounting and financial markets.

This degree combines the strategic investment and budgeting of finance with the recordkeeping and compliance involved in the details of accounting. Students would learn how to apply the principles of budgeting and forecasting to the work of accounting. Graduates may work in auditing, tax preparation or planning, cost analysis or financial advisory services.

Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018:
$90,093
No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level:
5
Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28:
11.5%
Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28:
2,617,200

10. Management Information Systems (MIS), General

Online hospitality administration and management degrees make a new entrance at number 10. It’s no surprise as this degree has the highest number of industries employing graduates of this major and the fifth highest annual median wages on our list. Students enrolled in this degree programs can learn about the hospitality industry as a whole and then choose specializations in areas like event management, tourism or lodging administration. Coursework usually covers topics like staffing, finance, food and beverage management, and hotel management among others.

As people travel all over the world for business and leisure, adventurous individuals in this field may be able to find work abroad and get a chance to explore new cultures.

Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018:
$107,480
No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level:
5
Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28:
7.6%
Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28:
1,068,000

11. Management Information Systems (MIS), General

While online hospitality degrees may have knocked this one down a rank, this degree remains on our list with its winning combination of high salaries and high number of industries employing degree holders. A relatively small number of professionals are projected to hold these positions, which accounts for its small rate of job growth, but the skills these graduates possess are invaluable to many industries. MIS majors learn how to implement information systems into businesses’ operations, which involves the use of computerized databases, computer security and computer networks.

Students enrolled in this crossover degree program between business and technology typically study topics like database design, ecommerce, emerging technologies, and project management.

Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018:
$113,405
No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level:
65
Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28:
2.15
Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28:
6,83,700

12. Operations Management and Supervision

Operations management is the study of the development, production and distribution of goods and services. People with this degree understand how to make operational decisions to save money, improve efficiency and manage people in order to achieve the best results for a company and its products. Whereas managers primarily oversee people, operations managers oversee the quality and sustainability of materials, equipment and labor.

Students can expect to study some combination of the following subjects: production control, product development, inventory management, process management, marketing and logistics, systems analysis, total quality management, transportation and managerial accounting. Operations management may also be offered as a specialization within online business administration degree programs.

Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018:
$89,200
No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level:
39
Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28:
7.87%
Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28:
2,429,500

13. Accounting

Accounting degrees also make it to our rankings of top business degrees in 2020 along with accounting and business, and accounting and finance degrees. The BLS credits the faster-than-average job growth for accountants to increasing globalization among companies and an increasingly complex tax and regulatory environment. The BLS also reports that the demand for accountants is likely to remain the same amid arising fears of technology stealing jobs. In fact, tech is expected to take many of the mundane tasks off their shoulders allowing them to become more efficient.

Students of online accounting degree programs generally take courses in accounting (from beginning to advanced), tax and cost accounting, auditing, accounting information systems, taxation and accounting for nonprofit organizations.

Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018:
$72,803
No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level:
184
Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28:
8.7%
Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28:
1,922,400

14. Project Management

Project management is a broad concept that is critical to smooth business operations. It can involve the management of people, data, processes, budgets, and systems during the supervision of temporary projects in business from start to finish, which may include conception, planning, budgeting, procuring materials and talent, managing personnel, communicating internally and externally, ensuring quality and completing the project on time and within budget. According to the Project Management Institute, the lack of skilled project managers across the world is creating a huge skills gap. In fact, it has the second highest predicted job growth on our list.

Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018:
$95,720
No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level:
14
Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28:
12.85%
Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28:
1,191,000

15. Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration

Every business is comprised of people. Human resource managers play a key role in many aspects of the workforce management. They are the managers in charge of overseeing the hiring, training, evaluating and firing of employees, as well administering benefits and pay and ensuring their health, safety and overall well-being.

To prepare students for that all-important role, a human resources management degree program typically blends traditional business subjects with HR-specific courses in labor relations, employment law, recruitment, training and administration, compensation, benefits, policy development, diversity management, resource planning, and human behavior. In some programs, students also take specialized management and psychology courses.

Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018:
$85,269
No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level:
89
Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28:
7.7%
Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28:
1,393,800

As you can see, the number of different occupations associated with online business degrees can mean high ROIs on your education while still allowing you to pursue your passion – whether it lies in managing people or working with some of the latest tech. Do check out our individual degree pages for more information on each of the degrees listed above.

 

Methodology

For this analysis, we ranked 30 online bachelor’s degrees in business. To be included in the ranking, each major had to:

  • Match to a corresponding code in the Classification of Instructional Programs
  • Be offered online at the bachelor’s level at five or more institutions

We scored each major on the following data points, using a 10-point scale and the weights specified:

  1. Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018
  2. Annual 75th percentile wage of each occupation matched to the major, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018
  3. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2018-19
  4. Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018-28
  5. Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018-28
  6. Percentage of industries employing the occupations matched to the major, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018-28

Methodology Sources

  • 2018 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2018-28 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Methodology Sources:

2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2016-26 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Article Sources

  • Accountants and Auditors, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm, accessed February 2020
  • Are Millennials the New Entrepreneurs? Inc.com, November 2018, https://www.inc.com/jason-albanese/are-millennials-new-entrepreneurs/
  • B.S. Entrepreneurship, Franklin University, https://www.franklin.edu/degrees/bachelors/entrepreneurship, accessed February 2020
  • Bachelor of Arts in Operations Management and Analysis, Ashford University, https://www.ashford.edu/online-degrees/business/bachelor-of-arts-operations-management-analysis, accessed February 2020
  • Bachelor’s Grads Expected to Account For 83 Percent of Hires, National Association of Colleges and Employers, November 2019, https://www.naceweb.org/job-market/trends-and-predictions/bachelors-grads-expected-to-account-for-83-percent-of-hires/
  • Bachelor’s Degree Specialization in Hospitality Management, DeVry University, https://www.devry.edu/online-programs/bachelors-degrees/business/hospitality-management-specialization/, accessed February 2020
  • Elka Torpey and Brian Roberts, Small-business options: Occupational outlook for self-employed workers, Career Outlook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018, https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2018/article/self-employment.htm
  • Elka Torpey, Education pays, Career Outlook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, February 2019, https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2019/data-on-display/education_pays.htm
  • Elka Torpey, High-wage occupations by typical entry-level education, 2017, Career Outlook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2019, https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2019/article/high-wage-occupations.htm#bachelor-s-degree
  • Finance and Accounting Management, Northeastern University, https://cps.northeastern.edu/academics/program/bachelor-science-finance-and-accounting-management-online, accessed February 2020
  • Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017 – 2027, The Project Management Institute, 2017, https://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/learning/job-growth-report.pdf
  • Major: Entrepreneurial Studies, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/business-entrepreneurial-studies, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Finance, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/business-accounting-finance-finance, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Hospitality Administration and Management, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/business-hospitality-administration-management-hospitality-administration-management, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Human Resources Management, BigFuture, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/business-human-resources-human-resources-management, accessed February 2020
  • Major: International Business, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/business-international-business, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Management Information Systems, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/business-management-information-systems, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Management Science, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/business-management-science, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Operations Management, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/business-business-management-administration-operations-management, accessed February 2020
  • Online Project Management Bachelor’s Degree, Colorado Technical University, https://www.coloradotech.edu/degrees/bachelors/project-management, accessed February 2020
  • The Industries Most Interested in Top Majors, National Association of Colleges and Employers, March 2019, https://www.naceweb.org/job-market/trends-and-predictions/the-industries-most-interested-in-top-majors/

How To Succeed At Community College

community-college

Former president Obama has hailed community colleges as providing a “gateway to millions of Americans to good jobs and a better life.” But somewhere along the way, community college students have lost sight of the dream. A report by NSC Research Center 2018 shows that around 39 percent of the students who began at a two-year community college completed a degree within 6 years, whereas 46.2 percent of the students were no longer enrolled by the end of their study period.

If succeeding at community college seems more and more like a long shot, you can take control of your experience. Find out how to avoid the main traps that keep community college students from graduating.

Identifying opportunities at community colleges

Community colleges provide a crucial link to career opportunity for many students. Unlike many four-year universities, the tuition remains affordable. Course scheduling is flexible, with online, partially online and accelerated programs that let students learn on demand and at their own pace. Broad support services help students connect the dots between high school and a skilled job or a bachelor’s degree.

Accessibility does not come without challenges, however. According to a report by the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), in fall 2017, 34 percent of undergraduate students attended community colleges (17 percent of full-time undergraduates and 58 percent of part-time undergraduates). As you can see, few fit the traditional mold of the full-time, 18-year-old campus resident who relies on Mom and Dad to foot the bill. More than half attend part-time and commute to campus. Many are adults returning to school; the average age in a community college classroom is 29.

“Community colleges attract students because of the flexible nature of the curriculum. For part-time students, schoolwork is a competing priority among many,” said Dr. Elizabeth Bugaighis, dean of education and academic success at Northampton Community College.

With many students balancing work alongside family and work obligations, it’s no wonder so many lose their focus along the way.

Key obstacles to college completion

Community college administrators, counselors and state public policy analysts identify these major obstacles to degree completion:

  • Remedial education. Research by the Center for American Progress says that anywhere between 40 to 60 percent of first-year community college students arrive in the classroom only to find themselves sidetracked down an extended road of remedial classes that don’t count toward the degree. Bachelor’s degree-seeking students who take a remedial course in the first year after high school graduation are 74 percent more likely to drop out of college than those who do not take remedial education, according to Education Reform Now. Remedial classes in mathematics, writing and reading cost students time, money and self-confidence. Even among those that do graduate, bachelor’s program students take 11 months longer and associate program students take 6 months longer to complete the entire program along with remedial education, than those who do not take remedial studies.
  • Part-time attendance. Students who attend college part-time risk tipping the balance between school and other life priorities. Northampton Community College Professor of Counseling Dr. Virginia Gonzalez works with students individually to determine whether a part-time schedule is right for them. “To succeed with a part-time schedule, students need a great deal of determination and discipline,” she said.

However, community colleges nationwide are taking steps to remove the obstacles students face on the road to a degree.

How to beat the odds at community college

Here are four common traps community college students fall into, as well as escape routes you can use to stay on the path to success at community college.

Problem #1: Remedial classes slow down my progress toward a degree or certificate.

Solution: Community colleges are transforming remedial education to help prevent students exiting or falling out of the programs by:

  • using multiple measures to assess postsecondary readiness and accordingly place students in developmental courses
  • compressing or mainstreaming developmental education with course redesign, such as offering co-requisite college-level courses
  • implementing comprehensive, integrated, and long-lasting support programs

California community colleges, for instance, are ensuring that the students complete college-level English and mathematics within a one-year time frame.

Problem #2: Academic requirements don’t seem relevant to my life or career ambitions.

Solution: Colleges are taking steps to align course curricula more closely with employer demand and real-world practice. Carnegie Foundation focused on engaging students in the statistical and quantitative reasoning concepts as they are more relevant to many students’ educational and career goals than those in the traditional algebraic sequence. The two programs, Statway and Quantway, focus on math education you can use, with applied instruction in statistics, data analysis and quantitative reasoning. According to Carnegie 2016-17 Impact Report, Statway and Quantway have achieved steady enrollment growth at 64%, since their launch in 2011. In 2016-2017, total enrollment was 7,522 — nearly five times that of the first year of enrollment — with 415 sections taught by 224 faculty members across 48 institutions.

Problem #3: Studying is #3 on my list of priorities, after kids and my day job.

Solution: Seek out people who can help you prioritize. Helping you achieve a work-life-school balance is the job of the community college academic advisor.

“Part of making it through college requires a careful balance of life and school,” says former counselor Celinda Smith of Bellevue College, current academic advisor of University of Washington, Bothell.

Dr. Gonzalez of Northampton stresses the importance of having an upfront conversation with a counselor about how to balance your priorities before embarking on a degree program.

Problem #4: I don’t know what it takes to succeed in my classes.

Solution: Community colleges are going the extra mile to help students develop effective learning strategies. SUNY Ulster offers time management and study skills workshops. At Northampton Community College, Dr. Gonzalez developed a 3-credit college success course targeting three skill areas: study skills, informational literacy and critical thinking. The course has raised retention rates, and students report increased confidence and success in other classes. Other schools may offer a trial period where you can test your comfort with online degrees or get a flavor for a class.

Problem #5: I have difficulty in learning material on my own and in keeping up with schedules in online programs

Solution: Community colleges have been focusing on improving course design and extending meaningful support services to improve online education. In fact, a 2017 report by California Community Colleges show the number of students choosing online programs have been steadily increasing over the last 10 years. The gap in success rates between traditional face-to-face (71 percent) and online education program (66 percent) has closed from 17 percent in 2006 to 4 percent in 2016-17. The California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative provides online instructional support to help alleviate the concerns students have about taking classes online.

With these tips in mind, dedication and resourcefulness can take you from enrollment to graduation.

“Successful students achieve a balance and take advantage of the resources and services available to them,” says Wendy McCorry, Assistant Dean for Student Success at SUNY Ulster.

Sources

  • Education Reform Now Embargoed, April 2016, https://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/files/EdReformNow%20O-O-P%20Embargoed%20Final.pdf
  • Obama hails community colleges, skirts their lack of funds, McClatchy Newspapers, October 2010, https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article24595966/
  • Developmental Education Challenges and Strategies for Reform, January 2017, https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/opepd/education-strategies.pdf
  • Remedial Education Reforms at California Community Colleges, August 2018, https://www.ppic.org/wp-content/uploads/remedial-education-reforms-at-californias-community-colleges-august-2018.pdf
  • Carnegie Foundation 2016-2017 Impact Report, January 2018, https://storage.googleapis.com/cmp-wordpress-public-uploads/1/pathways_descriptive_report_january_2018.pdf
  • Distance Education Report 2017, accessed May 2019, https://californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu/Portals/0/Reports/2017-DE-Report-Final-ADA.pdf
  • Online and Homegrown, Inside Higher Ed, October 2016, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/10/13/californias-online-education-initiative-connects-community-college-classes-across
  • Enrollment and Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2017; and Financial Statistics and Academic Libraries, Fiscal Year 2017: First Look, January 2019, https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2019021rev
  • Completing College National 2018 – Figure 15, December 2018, https://nscresearchcenter.org/signaturereport16/
  • Remedial Education, Center for American Progress, September 2016, https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education-k-12/reports/2016/09/28/144000/remedial-education/
  • Distance Education Report 2017, California Community Colleges, accessed May 2019, http://californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu/Portals/0/Reports/2017-DE-Report-Final-ADA.pdf

To Get A Degree, Or Not To Get A Degree

A media buzz has caused some people to question one longstanding pillar of American culture: the value of a higher education. Prospective students hear accounts of self-made billionaires such as Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs who eschewed the familiar trajectory of success and dropped out of school. The New York Times reported that since 1985, consumer prices have roughly doubled, but college tuition has skyrocketed 559 percent during that same time. In light of these developments, do people believe that a degree is worth the investment of time, effort and money?  The answer is a resounding YES. Not only are occupations that require increasingly advanced degrees on the rise according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), but also Americans still subscribe strongly to the value of a college education.

A new study by Northeastern University found that more than two-thirds of adults in the U.S. deem a college degree very important for finding a job, getting promotions, developing personally, gaining a global perspective, having success throughout life, and ultimately achieving the American dream. They also found that Millennials (aged 18-30) are more likely than other Americans to be in support of an emergent trend in higher learning: online education. A new study of 2,820 active, degree-granting schools found that the proportion of students taking at least one online course is at an all-time high of 32%. And this upward trend shows no signs of waning.

This infographic examines the continuing importance of a college education to all Americans and the blossoming reputation of online degrees, especially among young adults.

Sources:

“Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States,” Babson Survey Research Group, 2013, http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports/changingcourse.pdf

Northeastern University: Innovation in Higher Education Survey Toplines, Northeastern University, http://www.northeastern.edu/innovationsurvey/pdfs/survey-results.pdf

Why Tuition Has Skyrocketed at State Schools, The New York Times, March 2012, http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/02/why-tuition-has-skyrocketed-at-state-schools/?_r=0

For a complete list of sources, please view the infographic.

Embed in your site:

Busy technology director turns to online option to earn PhD

Before earning her online PhD in technology and leadership in 2004, Dr. Dani Babb worked as an associate professor at Loma Linda University School of Allied Health in Southern California. During her tenure, she taught health information systems in a hybrid format, rotating weekly between traditional and online instruction.

When she decided to advance her career by pursuing a doctoral degree, she found that an online education not only worked best for her learning style, it also best suited her busy work life. Dr. Babb is founder and chief executive officer of The Babb Group, which has offices in California and New York. Babb also teaches a variety of subjects online, including economics, technology, statistics and health care information technology.

Q: Why did you decide to earn your PhD online? Did you have other options?

A: I was accepted into two schools that were local in California. At the time I was working as senior technology director for a national home builder, and I was on the road about 10 months of the year as my company acquired new businesses. The admissions staff at the local colleges suggested my life “simmer down” before I pursued my doctorate. They were adamant about me being free from a job because they didn’t want my job to conflict with my schoolwork. But that wasn’t an option, and that was when I decided to look online.

q: What were the challenges of earning an online technology degree? How did you overcome them?

A: Technology is a very practitioner-based degree and requires some concepts that are sometimes easier understood in front of a teacher in a classroom. It’s really up to the learner to take the material from the instructor and then to do labs, programming assignments, networking assignments and so on without having someone show you in person.

Technical courses aren’t easy to take online — technology and statistics are the hardest subjects to grasp in an online environment. Visual learners may struggle more. My best method of learning is reading, then re-reading, then writing down what I read to help me grasp the concepts.

When I was at home I set up a small lab environment to simulate what I’d have in a university lab. I set aside time that was best for me to study — on airplanes and late at night. I did lot of work in Miami, and that’s a 6.5-hour flight. I’d print and read scholarly journals on long flights, draft homework offline on planes and upload my responses when I landed.

Q: How did you interact with professors and other students through online study? What method worked best?

A: Online discussion boards/threads were the predominant method. Course-based messaging was crucial to send private notes to the instructor, and email of course was a vital part of communication. Interactions also took place through virtual presentations. I defended my dissertation on a conference line — traditional students do it in a classroom. It’s the same process just using different technology.

Q: Any advice for students considering an online doctoral degree?

A: Know your learning style. If you are a visual learner and need to stop in for office hours to see your professor, this may not be the right way to learn. If you need to be motivated externally by professors or peers, this may not be the right method. But if you are internally motivated, driven, can write well, enjoy an online environment and gain satisfaction from creating friendships and collegial working relationships online, it’s fantastic.

Also, find a regionally accredited school to make sure the quality of education is there and that your units will be transferable should you want to change universities.

Q: What’s the best thing you can recommend about an online PhD program?

A: Determine if you have the ability to go to residencies — my program required three on-ground intense research residencies that were done on my vacation time. If you can’t possibly attend one, find a program without a residency requirement. And start reading books on proper APA formatting!

Q: With your PhD in hand, how have your career prospects opened up?

A: My consulting rates for being a subject matter expert, course design, teaching and speaking went up dramatically. It’s difficult to begin and build credibility and having a doctorate helps do that out of the gate with new potential business partners.

Online PhD earner proves professionals can benefit from education

Kevin Gazzara, PhD, worked at two Fortune 100 companies (Transamerica and Intel) for 28 years. Four years ago, at the age of 51, he took voluntary early retirement from a stable and prestigious position at Intel as a program manager for its worldwide management and leadership residential programs. He left with two of his Intel colleagues to create an exceptionally successful management and leadership consulting firm, Magna Leadership Solutions. Since Gazzara left corporate America, he’s consulted for many Fortune 500 companies, landed on the faculty at four universities–both online and on campus, and published a book on leadership, “The Leader of OZ.” Gazzara believes earning his doctoral degree online in October 2001 was a big key to his recent success.

Q: Why did you choose to earn your doctorate online?

A: I earned my doctorate of management in organizational leadership. I was working full-time at Intel when I enrolled. My job required a lot of traveling and a lot of it was international. I could have gone to the state university that was close to my house, or another that was a two-hour drive from where I live in Arizona, but most of the programs were not geared to working adults. I didn’t have enough flexibility in my work schedule to complete an on-campus program, and I knew from my learning style that I would be able to study online and would be able to finish my dissertation once I completed my coursework.

When I looked at more traditional programs, there were many courses that, while interesting, were not what I wanted to take. My online program focused on management and leadership–there wasn’t a single course I didn’t want to take … Earning a doctorate degree online was a great solution for me.

Q: What were the challenges and benefits of earning a doctoral degree online?

A: The best part was that everything was under my control, from a time management perspective. It allowed me to do that work online and fit it around my work schedule and travel. I didn’t have to be online the same time everyday. My school posts the entire syllabus for each eight-week session at the beginning so you know exactly what you have to do for those eight weeks. My then teen-age daughters played competitive softball and so in addition to traveling for work, my wife and I were taking them to playoff games, and I needed even more flexibility, which studying online allowed.

Another advantage to earning an online doctorate is that you have tremendous resources available to you. Online resources are not an afterthought. The online resources from the libraries and what they make available to you are just astronomical. It’s way beyond what you can get elsewhere.

With online learning, you don’t get the face-to-face interactions you do in a classroom, but the doctoral program had a residency requirement for that. For two weeks every year, we got together and developed a face-to-face relationship with other students and faculty. When I went through the program, I did it from start to finish in two-and-a-half years. They have since redesigned it so it’s now three-and-a-half to four years. It was a little insane to do the 60 credits of coursework and my dissertation in that short of a time, but my boss at Intel allowed me to work four 10-hour days. I had Fridays off so I could use that time to do writing and research and everything else that goes along with earning a doctoral degree online.

Q: What advice would you give those considering an online doctorate degree?

A: Don’t believe for a second that an online doctoral degree is easier or less work than an on-campus program. I can tell you from a student’s and from a professor’s perspective that online programs are significantly more work, which I wouldn’t have expected when I started taking courses or teaching in the program. It’s not just a little bit more work, it’s a lot. But you learn a lot quickly. It hones your critical thinking skills in a way that is much different from in-person classroom exchanges.

Also, you have to want to earn a degree not just so you can put initials after your name or get a promotion. Your degree may get you in the door, but it’s your ability to demonstrate knowledge and apply that knowledge that will keep you there and allow you to be successful.

Online PhD in education helps student become teacher

Kaye Shelton considers herself a true Nebraska Cornhusker — she even flies the University of Nebraska flag from her front porch, much to the chagrin of her neighbors in Beaumont, Texas, which is University of Texas Longhorns country.

However, outside of attending a few football games, Shelton hasn’t spent much time on the campus of the venerable university in Lincoln, Neb. Instead, Shelton earned an online PhD in education and leadership from Nebraska, a career move that helped her land her current job as associate professor of education leadership, doctoral studies, at Lamar University in Beaumont. Prior to that she worked as a dean of online education at Dallas Baptist University, where she developed a quality scorecard for online educational program.

Shelton says she started her PhD program at the University of North Texas in Denton, but after driving an hour and fighting traffic, she was completely stressed out and frustrated by time she eventually arrived at class. She switched mid-stream and enrolled in the online PhD in education and leadership program offered by the University of Nebraska.

Q: In addition to avoiding the commute, what made you decide to pursue an online PhD in education? Did you have other options?

A: I did my master’s in online teaching and learning at California State University-Hayward. I am a mother of three boys, and I was working 50 hours a week — there was no way I could have gone to brick-and-mortar campus.

Q: What were the challenges of studying your field online? How did you overcome them?

A: When doing a project for the classes, you do not get to sit face-to-face with your instructors, but you can overcome that with Skype or WebEx or other programs. Also, I worked with professors that were keenly interested in me and in my success. I never felt like a distance learning student, and I was never treated any differently.

Q: What were the main benefits of earning a PhD online? Are there benefits inherent in your online program not found in other avenues of study?

A: It helped me to experience being an online student; I could identify and help improve my programs and also feel the frustration of the students. Another benefit was working under some of the most respected faculty in the country in education research.

Q: How did your interactions with professors and other students work through online study? What method worked best?

A: We used a coursework management system, Blackboard. You need to have a good Internet connection; dial up wouldn’t have been a good option. It is also important for a student to be comfortable with a computer and the technical skills needed. You don’t have to be an expert, but you need to be comfortable and to expect technology to fail sometimes and be comfortable with that.

Q: Were there professional or job placement resources available to you in your program? How did they help you advance your career?

A: I already had a job [as dean of online education at Dallas Baptist], but my husband relocated and now I am an associate professor of education leadership, doctoral studies, at Lamar University in Beaumont. I teach doctoral-level classes and chair students working on their dissertations. I teach on campus and online, and I literally am starting to do the same thing that I had to do at Nebraska.

Q: Any advice for students considering an online PhD in education?

A: Make sure the institution is regionally accredited, and try to talk to other students to find out about their experience. Google the university’s name. You definitely need to not just click on first web link that you find and go to school there. You need to do your research. There were a lot of online programs for me to look at, but the one I chose was the most prestigious and the best for value.

Also, make sure there is a process in place for faculty to work with you to complete the dissertation process. Make sure you are guaranteed interaction with faculty members.

Q: With your PhD in education and leadership in hand, how have your career prospects increased?

A: Consulting opportunities have really opened up — I literally am having to turn opportunities down. It certainly made it easier to find my current faculty position. I was well established as a dean, but having a PhD certainly helped my position as a doctoral professor at Lamar. I wouldn’t even have been considered if I didn’t have it.

Online master’s degree helps nurse start her own business

Alicia Sable-Hunt was a registered nurse who dreamed of creating a delicious nutrition bar that met the specific dietary needs of cancer patients. She had only one problem: her bachelor’s degree in nursing hadn’t included any business classes. She decided to earn an MBA in marketing online before moving into the business world. Today, she’s the president and founder of Sable’s Foods and Edwards-Hunt Group, a medical consulting group.

What inspired you to head back to school?

I work in health care, where a graduate degree is necessary for career advancement, especially in the clinical research sub-specialty. Second, I had an idea — Sable’s Foods — but didn’t know how to bring it to fruition. I needed a business background to move forward with my idea. My inner drive to learn and experience more combined with an entrepreneurial spirit drove me to continue my education.

Why did you choose an online program specifically?

My work schedule and personality was best suited for a non-traditional program. I was working long hours and traveling extensively for work. I could not attend a traditional program and complete my degree in a timely manner. In addition, my personality is driven towards alternative solutions to every challenge. I like to try new and different ways of achieving an end result. I am a risk taker. I had a positive experience with online education, so the choice was easy for me.

What were you surprised by while earning an MBA in marketing online?

I find students are more interactive in an online environment. The fear of speaking up in a public forum is minimized, and therefore I received a great deal of feedback on my ideas. The fact that I had a sounding board, one without judgment, was very useful. I found this to be an important component for a degree that requires a level of creativity.

How did your interactions with professors and other students happen online?

All of my interactions with the professors and students were online. In fact, I don’t remember speaking directly with anyone other than my enrollment counselor. While this may sound impersonal to some, the quality and frequency of the communication was high. I never felt alone or without support/resources.

What did a typical day look like while you were earning your MBA?

If I was home, I would work all day and complete my studies in the evening. When I was traveling, which was most of the time; I would complete my homework on the airplane, check into class from a wi-fi spot on the road, and complete the bulk of my studies late at night or before sunrise.

Give an example of a challenge you overcame while completing your thesis project.

My thesis was a marketing plan for Sable’s Foods. I was actively trying to create the product while I was writing my thesis project. It was difficult to think strategic (thesis) while also being tactical (baking the bars). The transition between the two thought processes was difficult — consider the expression “seeing the forest through the trees.” On a daily basis, I had to spend time in the kitchen creating the product then spend my evenings building a strategic marketing plan. I suspect, it is a challenge — I should say a skill set — every small-businessperson must learn.

What was your experience of starting two businesses after earning your online degree?

To sum it up: exhilarating, exhausting, lonely, and the best and worst time of my life. To finally have the knowledge to turn my ideas into businesses was, and continues to be, exhilarating! The time and commitment required to do both at the same time was exhausting and lonely. I spent 18-20 hours per day, in an office (Edwards-Hunt Group) or kitchen (Sable’s Foods), building my businesses. There was no time for a vacation or holiday, very little time for friends and family, all of which leads to a very lonely existence. But the end result is two businesses that I am proud of. The sacrifice was worth it.

What advice would you give those considering an online degree?

It is critically important to perform a realistic self-assessment. An individual needs to know what motivates them in a scholastic environment (e.g. do they need the structure of attending a moderator-led class in a physical location three times per week), how they absorb information (e.g. visual vs. reading vs. lecture) and their commitment level (e.g. include the time and cost of commuting to a class into the decision).

Nurse launches public speaking career with help of online degree

Jeff Solheim is a lymphatic cancer survivor who started his career in nursing and eventually became the founder and director of the nonprofit Project Helping Hands, which benefits Third World medical organizations. He talks to OnlineDegrees.com about how his online master’s degree in nursing helped him continue his work.

What inspired you to go back to school?

As my career progressed, I had started doing speaking engagements including motivational speaking and commencement speeches. Many times, the theme of these talks was professionalism. I started feeling like a bit of a hypocrite because one of the components of professionalism is having an advanced degree. I had embodied professionalism in many ways without a degree, but I also felt if I was going to continue to speak, I would need to practice what I preached.

What made you decide to attend nursing school online?

My life was very full at the time. I was speaking professionally and running three companies, so I knew taking time to go back to school was going to be a challenge I would have to figure out how to balance. I had a choice to either cut back on my career or find a program that would allow me to balance my career, personal life and school.

Western Governors University was the perfect balance — the competency-based program allowed me to draw on everything I had already learned from my full career. I found the online program to be the perfect fit so I could balance work life and school life. I was able to demonstrate what I had already learned from my career so I wouldn’t waste time being taught things I already knew.

Were there any surprising benefits of earning a nursing degree online?

In addition to schedule flexibility, I really enjoyed having the ability to carve my own path. Because I attended a competency-based program, I had more control in what direction I would take. I could see what might be coming up in my career and plan the timing of a course that would fit in with my travel schedule.

Occasionally, some of the courses would actually match my life to my schoolwork. For example, I did a genogram of South Sudan because I was able to time that course to be right after I was in Sudan. I really got a chance to study the community there. It was an incredible assignment, and I was able to contribute in a unique way. I couldn’t have timed that course in a traditional program and I really appreciated the opportunity to guide my studies to fit my life.

How did you work with professors and peers online?

When I would start on a project, I read on online forums what other students had experienced and that helped prepare me. I had lots of tools from other students that allowed me to build on their past experiences and additional resources were available. The course mentors who were in charge of the course were also available for help.

What did a typical day look like while you were earning your online master’s degree in nursing?

Because of my hectic work schedule, if I saw that I would be home for a week, I would spend a lot of time doing research and putting things together during the time I was home. Believe it or not, most of my assignments were written on a plane once I had completed all the research first, and then I would submit the assignment when I arrived.

Tell us about Project Helping Hands

Project Helping Hands is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that sends medical teams to developing countries. We have sent volunteers to almost every continent to provide medical, dental and optometry care to those who would normally not get it. This year alone, we treated 30,000 patients.

How has the nursing master’s degree been a benefit to your career as a nonprofit founder and writer?

Although I had already established my career without my master’s degree, having my master’s has increased my comfort so I can better practice what I preach. It also has boosted my own self-confidence. When I submit my credentials for a textbook, I know that I have the proper credentials for what I’m doing.

What advice would you give those considering an online nursing degree?

Online education is an excellent option for certain people but I’m not convinced it would be a good option for everyone. It takes self-discipline to be successful when deadlines are not necessarily as fixed as in traditional education. My advice is to make sure you have the self-discipline to stay on track.

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