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Best Online Degrees for 2018

Methodologies and Sources

METHODOLOGY

For this analysis, we ranked 118 bachelor's degree programs. To be included in the ranking, each major had to:
  • Be part of PayScale's 2016-17 College Salary Report
  • Match to a corresponding code in the Classification of Instructional Programs
  • Be offered online at the bachelor's level at five or more institutions in the U.S.
We scored each major on a 10-point scale, using the the following seven data points:
  1. Early Career Median Pay (5 or fewer years of experience), PayScale, 2016
  2. Mid-Career Median Pay (10 or more years of experience), PayScale, 2016
  3. Percent of degree-holders who say their work makes the world better, PayScale, 2016
  4. Number of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor's level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  5. Number of jobs matched to each major, National Center for Education Statistics and the Occupational Information Network, 2015-16
  6. Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016-26
  7. Total number of openings due to growth and replacement for all jobs matched to each major, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016-26

SOURCES

  • 3 Bachelor of Sciences Degrees: Computer Science, Computer I.S., Computer I.T., Austin Peay State University, http://www.apsu.edu/csci/b_s_degrees/, accessed December 2017
  • 2016-17 PayScale College Salary Report, PayScale.com, http://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report/majors-that-pay-you-back/bachelors
  • Accounting, College of Business, Athens State University, http://www.athens.edu/business/programs/accounting/, accessed December 2017
  • Accounting, Western International University, http://west.edu/online-degree-programs/accounting-bs.html, accessed December 2017
  • Bachelor of Arts in Operations Management and Analysis, Ashford University, https://www.ashford.edu/online-degrees/business/bachelor-of-arts-operations-management-analysis, accessed December 2017
  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, Fort Hays State University, http://www.fhsu.edu/appliedbusiness/BBA-Marketing/, accessed December 2017
  • Bachelor of Science, Information Technology -- Security, Western Governors University, https://www.wgu.edu/online_it_degrees/information_technology_degree_security, accessed December 2017
  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Information Systems, Charter College, https://www.chartercollege.edu/programs/information-technology/computer-information-systems-bs, accessed December 2017
  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting, CBU Online, https://www.cbuonline.edu/degrees/bachelor-of-science-in-accounting, accessed December 2017
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science -- Programming, Limestone College, https://www.limestone.edu/academics/science/computer/programming, accessed December 2017
  • Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene, ODU Online, Old Dominion University, https://online.odu.edu/uploads/content/csheet_BSDH_2017.pdf, accessed December 2017
  • Bachelor of Science in Financial Management, National University, https://www.nu.edu/OurPrograms/SchoolOfBusinessAndManagement/FinanceandEconomics/Programs/BSFinancialManagement.html, accessed December 2017
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, University of Phoenix, http://www.phoenix.edu/programs/degree-programs/technology/bachelors/bsit.html, accessed December 2017
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology Management, National University, https://www.nu.edu/OurPrograms/SchoolOfEngineeringAndTechnology/ComputerScienceAndInformationSystems/Programs/BSInformationTechnology.html, accessed December 2017
  • Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership, Southeastern University Online Learning, http://online.seu.edu/online-degrees/business/bachelor-science-organizational-leadership/, accessed December 2017
  • Bachelor of Science in Marketing, Regis University, http://www.regis.edu/CBE/Academics/Degrees-Programs/Undergraduate-Programs/BS-Marketing.aspx, accessed December 2017
  • B.S. in Computer Networking, Regis University, http://www.regis.edu/CCIS/Academics/Degrees-Programs/Undergraduate-Programs/BS-Computer-Networking.aspx, accessed December 2017
  • B.S. in Information Technology Online, DePaul University, http://www.cdm.depaul.edu/Current%20Students/Pages/SplashCallout/BS%20IT%20Online.aspx, accessed December 2017
  • B.S. in Leadership Studies, Oral Roberts University, http://www.oru.edu/online/#degrees, accessed December 2017
  • BSBA in Operations Management, Thomas Edison State University, https://www.tesu.edu/business/bsba/Operations-Management.cfm, accessed December 2017
  • Business Administration, emphasis in Entrepreneurship, National American University, http://www.national.edu/program-page-auto/?Campus_ID=20&Program_ID=39&Tuition_ID=1&school=4&degree=3, accessed December 2017
  • Business Administration Program, Western International University, http://west.edu/online-degree-programs/business-administration-bs.html, accessed December 2017
  • Business and Administration, Academic Catalog, Northern Arizona University, http://catalog.nau.edu/Catalog/details?plan=YUBABBAX&catalogYear=1718, accessed December 2017
  • Computer Information Systems, Broyhill School of Management, Gardner-Webb University, http://gardner-webb.edu/academic-programs-and-resources/colleges-and-schools/business/degree-completion-programs/computer-information-systems/index, accessed December 2017
  • Computer Science, Concordia University, http://www.concordia.edu/sitefiles/w3/program-sheets/ADM_ComputerScience_PS_17.pdf, accessed December 2017
  • Computer Science, Degrees Online, Oregon State University, http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/online-degrees/undergraduate/computer-science/, accessed December 2017
  • Computer Science Online, Old Dominion University, https://online.odu.edu/programs/bachelor-in-computer-science, accessed December 2017
  • Critical Psychology, Prescott College, http://www.prescott.edu/academics/concentrations/critical-psychology, accessed December 2017
  • Cyber Security Bachelor's Degree Program, Charter Oak State College, https://www.charteroak.edu/cybersecurity/, accessed December 2017
  • Dental Hygiene, Oregon Tech Online, http://www.oit.edu/online/degrees/dental-hygiene, accessed December 2017
  • Dental Hygiene, Completion (online), Penn College, https://www.pct.edu/academics/hs/dental/bdo, accessed December 2017
  • Economics: BS, BA, Utah State University, https://www.usu.edu/degrees/index.cfm?id=91, accessed December 2017
  • Employment Projections: Occupational Employment, Job Openings and Worker Characteristics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed November 2017, https://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_data_occupational_data.htm
  • Entrepreneurship, Northwood University, http://www.northwood.edu/academics/undergraduate/entrepreneurship, accessed December 2017
  • Financial Management Major, Upper Iowa University, http://www.uiu.edu/academics/undergraduate/financial-management.html, accessed December 2017
  • Game Programming, University of Advancing Technology, http://www.uat.edu/game-programming-degree, accessed December 2017
  • Health Services Administration, BS, Davenport University, https://www.davenport.edu/programs/health-professions/bachelors-degree/health-services-administration-bs?source_id=HLXSSP, accessed December 2017
  • Healthcare Management, BS, Nebraska Methodist College, http://www.methodistcollege.edu/health-professions/bachelor-degree/healthcare-management, accessed December 2017
  • Human Resource Management, Huntington University, https://www.huntington.edu/adult-degree-programs/programs/human-resource-management, accessed December 2017
  • Human Resource Management Concentration, Golden Gate University, http://www.ggu.edu/programs/business-and-management/bachelor-of-arts-in-management/concentrations/#human-resource-management, accessed December 2017
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed November 2017, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • International Business, Hawai'i Pacific University, https://www.hpu.edu/cob/bsba/int-business.html, accessed December 2017
  • International Business, BBA, Davenport University, https://www.davenport.edu/programs/business/bachelors-degree/international-business-bba, accessed December 2017
  • Leadership Studies, California Baptist University, https://calbaptist.edu/programs/leadership-studies/, accessed December 2017
  • Marketing, Isenberg School of Management, UMassAmherst, https://www.isenberg.umass.edu/programs/undergraduate/on-campus/majors/marketing, accessed December 2017
  • Mathematics Department, Presbyterian College, https://www.presby.edu/academics/undergraduate/academic-departments-programs/mathematics-department/, accessed December 2017
  • New Study: Over Six Million Students Now Enrolled In Distance Education, http://www.babson.edu/news-events/babson-news/pages/2017-babson-survey-research-group-distance-education-enrollment-report.aspxDegree program sources:
  • Nursing -- RN to BS, Boise State University, https://online.boisestate.edu/bachelors-degrees/nursing-rn-bs/, accessed December 2017
  • Online Computer Science Degree, University of Advancing Technology, http://www.uat.edu/online-advancing-computer-science-degree, accessed December 2017
  • Online RN to BSN, Aurora University, http://online.aurora.edu/online-degrees/rn-to-bsn/, accessed December 2017
  • Operations Management (B.S.), Granite State College, https://www.granite.edu/degree-programs/bachelors-degrees/operations-management/, accessed December 2017
  • Political Science at UNA, University of North Alabama, https://www.una.edu/political-science/, accessed December 2017
  • Political Science Bachelors, University of Illinois, Springfield, http://www.uis.edu/politicalscience/curriculum/undergraduate/bachelors/, accessed December 2017
  • Political Science Program, School of Public Policy, Oregon State University, http://liberalarts.oregonstate.edu/spp/polisci, accessed December 2017
  • Psychology, Judson College, http://www.judson.edu/academics/academic-programs/social-sciences/psychology/, accessed December 2017
  • Public Administration and Justice Studies, Online & Education Innovation, Northern Arizona University, http://catalog.nau.edu/Catalog/details?plan=OLPADMB&catalogYear=1718, accessed December 2017
  • Software Engineering Major, Upper Iowa University, https://uiu.edu/academics/undergraduate/software-engineering.html, accessed December 2017
  • Software Engineering, PennState Behrend, http://behrend.psu.edu/school-of-engineering/academic-programs/software-engineering, accessed December 2017
  • Summary Report for Software Developers, Systems O*NET OnLine, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1133.00, accessed December 2017
  • Systems Software Engineer, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.bls.gov/soc/2010/soc151133.htm
  • Undergraduate Degrees in Psychology, Palo Alto University, https://www.paloaltou.edu/undergraduate-programs, accessed December 2017
  • Undergraduate Finance, Webber International University, https://webber.edu/academics/undergraduate-programs/undergraduate-finance/, accessed December 2017
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OD Best Online Degrees 2018

If you're thinking about earning a bachelor's degree through an online program, you're in good company. According to the Distance Education Enrollment Report 2017, more than 6 million students were enrolled in online education in fall 2015, with nearly 15 percent taking all their courses online — a number that continues to increase year over year. Whether you want to advance in your current career or you plan to enter an entirely different field, a smart first step is to narrow down your options to schools and programs that will best help you achieve your goals.

To determine the best online degrees for 2018, we analyzed 118 online degree programs to find those that offer an optimal combination of accessible education, strong job prospects and earning potential. Our analysis is based on the latest employment, salary and education data from PayScale, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). (Read more about our methodology at the bottom of page.)

Here are the best 25 online bachelor's degrees for 2018, including data on the number of schools offering each program, early career median salary, the number of jobs matched to each major, and their projected job growth rate. It's important to know that not every online degree program is available at all schools. And, as we've noted in our list, certain programs may require some clinical work in a professional facility or time in an on-campus lab. Whatever online degree program you consider, be sure to check each school's specific program requirements and what, if any, specialized options they offer.

1
Online degree in Information Technology

As the world grows increasingly dependent on technology, career opportunities for IT professionals are flourishing. For those already working in IT, an online degree program can be helpful for continuing an education, advancing a career or pursuing different IT employment options. Online IT programs typically cover IT basics, programming, systems administration, network architecture, databases and ethics. Students can learn specific skills such as IT project management, Local Area Network management, information security management and technology, and LINUX or MS Windows. Some hands-on lab work is usually required. Graduates can qualify for jobs such as software developer, database administrator, information security analyst and computer programmer.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 103
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $53,000
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 220,100
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 17.51%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 9
2
Online Degree in Business Administration

The business world continues to expand in complexity and scope, with global competition, technology, environmental concerns and social responsibility added to the mix. An online degree program in business administration is likely to cover all of those aspects along with core subjects such as sales, finance, project management, marketing and accounting. This foundation can benefit those gearing up to join the workforce as well as working professionals looking to upgrade their skills and knowledge. Graduates can be prepared for a range of careers, from entry-level manager, director or leader, in public or private organizations and industries, and at the international or local level.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 486
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $46,100
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 558,700
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 8.76%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 20
3
Online degree in Nursing

The majority of people with a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) find their work meaningful; in fact, it ranked No. 2 in this category of all the degrees we looked at. The BSN program aims to prepare candidates to work as a Registered Nurse (RN) or as a medical or health services manager. An RN with an associate degree or diploma in nursing can complete their education through an accelerated RN-to-BSN program. BSN coursework typically includes case management, community nursing, anatomy and physiology, data management and leadership. Some hands-on clinical work in a health care setting is usually required.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 393
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $57,500
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 210,900
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 14.99%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 2
4
Online degree in Finance

Jobs in finance are plentiful and are projected to remain so, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, of the degrees we analyzed, a bachelor's in finance ranks among the top 10 for mid-career earnings. With this degree, graduates may choose from a wide range of positions, including financial analyst, personal financial adviser, risk manager and investment banker. Courses typically include the fundamentals of accounting, corporate finance, analysis of investment risks, banking, insurance, portfolio management, financial planning and management, and international finance. Students are taught to analyze financial opportunities, manage finances, and understand and create financial statements.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 89
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $53,300
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 407,500
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 10.25%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 14
5
Online degree in Computer Science

Careers in technology continue to grow in number, specialization and earning potential. In fact, of all the degrees we looked at, computer science tops the list for mid-career median income nationwide. This degree can open the door to careers such as computer programmer, software designer, software engineer, Web developer, database administrator and more. Courses and skills taught typically include programming fundamentals, database and information management, software engineering, computer systems and networking, artificial intelligence, and mobile and Web development. Some on-campus lab work may be required.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-2016: 25
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $65,300
  • Project total job openings, 2016-26: 235,400
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 15.38%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 15
6
Online Degree in Accounting

Accountants are critical to any organization, as their job is to ensure sound financial accounting practices and regulatory compliance. Earning this degree can be a pathway to variety of careers such as public accounting, industry accounting, internal auditing, government service and even forensic accounting. Courses typically cover accounting, financial management, auditing, and accounting law. Students can expect to gain practical experience with ledgers, accruals, financial statements budgets and reporting. Programs may also include general business courses that give context to the accounting role. This degree also prepares graduates to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and/or the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exams to become licensed professionals.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 184
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $48,300
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 172,600
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 9.93%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 7
7
Online degree in Marketing

Marketing professionals are key to helping an organization successfully pitch its products and services, attracting new buyers while retaining existing customers. In this type of degree program, instructors usually cover topics such as market research, consumer behavior, marketing strategy, sales, advertising, promotion, pricing, product development, brand management and public relations. Other courses that focus on general business subjects often round out the program. Some colleges offer marketing as a specialization (or concentration) within a business administration degree program. Graduates with this degree can pursue myriad career possibilities, including management positions in marketing, advertising and promotions and sales.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 131
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $45,300
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 148,000
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 15.49%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 6
8
Online Degree in Computer Information Systems

Computer information systems address practical business needs through technology. This degree program can prepare new students and seasoned professionals to meet those needs. Courses typically address technology (e.g., data management, operating systems, programming applications, Web design, information systems project management, and cybersecurity) blended with core business courses. Students can expect to learn how to develop and leverage applications while applying software development frameworks across a variety of platforms. They may also be expected to master software engineering languages and current software development methods. Some on-campus lab work may be required. Graduates are usually well-qualified for jobs in cybersecurity, Web, mobile and software development.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 58
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $54,300
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 153,500
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 8.97%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 7
9
Online Degree in Information Security

The threat of computer data breaches has exploded in recent years, making information security a priority for businesses, government agencies and other organizations. A degree in information security can provide the education necessary to protect data using specialized skills and knowledge. Students are usually taught how to build, maintain and monitor firewalls and other network defense technologies and to detect unusual behavior. Data backup and restoration, and incident response procedures are usually part of the curriculum. Some degree programs also help students earn related IT certifications. Career possibilities include analyst or administrator in IT security, cybersecurity, information assurance or information security systems security.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 72
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $57,700
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 107,400
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 10.17%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 7
10
Online Degree in Computer Programming

Computer programmers build and maintain information systems and write code tailored to the particular needs of businesses and organizations. Courses to earn this degree typically include programming, operating systems and networking, information systems analysis and design, and project management. Instructors focus on teaching students how to construct, test, and troubleshoot programming solutions. A few schools offer a specific degree in game programming. This degree program is designed to prepare students for work as a software programmer, systems programmer, application developer, and project manager. Some degree programs include the option to earn a language-specific or platform-oriented certificate to enhance one's credibility.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 46
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $50,500
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 167,700
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 16.24%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 6
11
Human Resources

The role of human resources management is critical to the smooth operation of businesses, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. The curriculum in this degree program usually includes traditional business courses with HR-specific courses in labor relations, employee training, compensation, and recruitment, training and administration, employment law and human behavior. Specialized management courses and related psychology courses may be available or required to round out the degree program. Career choices for those who earn this degree include human resource specialist, recruiter, human resource coordinator, labor relations manager, human resource manager, employee relations manager, compensation and benefit analyst/manager, and training and development manager.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 130
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $42,300
  • Projected total job openings, 2014-2024: 131,300
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 8.34%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 8
12
Online Degree in International Business

The global economy creates both challenges and opportunities in business. And employers with a global focus seek professionals who are well-versed in international trade, finance, global markets, and the influence of cultural on business practices. This can be a lucrative career niche, ranking in the top ten for mid-career income of all the degrees we looked at. The typical online degree program is grounded in traditional business curriculum along with courses in international trade, import/export, international banking and finance, foreign business practices, and the role of international relations on business. Graduates should be prepared to conduct business effectively in both foreign and domestic markets.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 51
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $48,800
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 241,300
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 8%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 4
13
Online Degree in Operations Management

This nuts-and-bolts degree program is designed to prepare students to successfully and efficiently manage materials, production, inventory and the transportation of goods and products across a wide range of commercial businesses. Course work typically addresses those subjects as well as quality control, project management, systems analysis and the intricacies of global trade. Graduates with this degree in hand may be prepared for many different job paths, including careers such as a quality control manager, supply chain manager or analyst, biofuels or hydroelectric production manager, facility maintenance supervisor, and many others.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 46
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $54,800
  • Projected total job openings, 2014-2024: 206,500
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 6.63%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 13
14
Psychology

Psychology has applications in the workplace, the community and in personal life. A bachelor's degree program in this subject can help students understand the link between psychology and other disciplines, how to apply knowledge to real-world situations, and how to evaluate social and behavioral research. Typical courses include psychology basics, abnormal psychology, cognitive psychology, perception and sensation, neuroscience, and research methods. Internships or lab work may take place at a college campus or mental health facility. Some degrees specialize in the psychology of business or social action. Graduates may pursue advanced study or jobs such as career counselor, probation officer or psychiatric technician.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 174
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $38,300
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 96,700
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 8.76%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 9
15
Online Degree in Software Engineering

This degree program is designed to prepare students to analyze, design, implement and maintain complex software systems. Students can expect to learn the basics of IT infrastructure and architecture, programming, and specifics in algorithms, database management, project management, and testing and validation. By studying and practicing skills in human-computer interaction, game development and programming, and application and interface design, students can learn to tailor software to users' needs and interests. Career paths for those with this degree include software and web developers, database and security analysts, and network administrators. These skills are in-demand in industry, business, medicine, communications, the military, science, aerospace and gaming.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 6
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $64,700
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 136,300
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 21.31%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 4
16
Management leadership

Leadership styles, mentoring, ethical decision-making, as well as collaboration and communication skills are the focus of this degree program. Courses usually include administrative theory, management theory, human resources management behavior and business decision-making. Students may also study basic business subjects, such as accounting, organization and production, and marketing, in addition to skill development in effective leadership, clear communication, coordination of teams and groups, and assuming responsibility for the direction of an organization. Those who have earned this degree may want to consider advanced study or management position careers in corporate training and development, program administration, customer service, or ministry -- in business, government or nonprofit organizations.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 68
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $43,900
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 91,700
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 12.65%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 2
17
Online Degree in Dental Hygiene

Graduates with this degree in hand can be prepared to work in a profession that is stable and in-demand. And there's more smile about: Our study revealed that 79 percent of respondents with this degree find their work to be meaningful. Courses in this program typically include anatomy, oral pathology, emergency procedures, dental hygiene practice, periodontology, pain management and community dental health. After completing this program, students can apply for state licensing and entry-level dental hygiene work. It can also pave the way to become a dental hygiene educator, health/patient advocate, insurance review specialist, public health hygienist or health care manager.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 24
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $65,400
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 43,300
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 22.97%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 2
18
Political Science

Political science pulls together the philosophical, empirical and policy aspects of politics. Required courses in this degree program usually cover political theory, U.S. government and politics, public policy and administration, research, comparative politics (U.S. and international) and international relations. Elective courses may focus on the economic, legal and environmental aspects of politics. Those with PolySci degrees often become lawyers, legislative staffers, public officials, public policy analysts, journalists and educators. What's more, their future earning potential is promising; of the 118 degrees we looked at, a bachelor's in PolySci ranked No. 2 for mid-career median income nationwide.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 48
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $49,600
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 81,300
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 7.66%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 6
19
Online Degree in Computer Networking Systems

Network administrators and analysts are the behind-the-scenes "wizards" we rely on to build, maintain and protect computer networks. A degree in computer networking is a popular springboard to these careers. Students in this program can gain an in-depth understanding of data communication and modern networking technology and develop the skills needed to deploy and manage a secure enterprise network. Courses primarily cover the basics of computer networking; network components and engineering; e-security protocols; and wireless, video and voice technologies. Some offline lab work may be required. At some schools, computer networking is a concentration within broader IT program, such as computer information technology.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 50
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $46,900
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 83,400
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 10.16%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 4
20
Public Policy

An online degree program in public administration can provide students with a fundamental knowledge of business as well as government policy and administration. Those who pursue this degree usually focus on gaining the skills and insights to plan and formulate policy and to manage, organize, and implement operations in the public sector. Courses generally cover various aspects of organizational governance, finance and administration. Some schools offer public administration as a concentration within a business administration degree. Graduates tend to pursue careers as administrators and program managers in government agencies and public service sectors, such as fire and rescue or health care; and nonprofit organizations.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 52
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $40,900
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 340,100
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 7.77%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 10
21
Online Degree in Management Science

Students who aspire to understand and practice organizational management skills often pursue this degree. This course of study encompasses the knowledge, insights, and tools successful managers use to organize, lead, and control their organizations. Management decision-making at all levels of an organization are covered, from high-level strategy to human resources issues to day-to-day operations. Courses typically include management communications, organizational behavior, small business management, operations management, business strategy and policy, managing change, and business ethics. Students who earn this degree are prepared to succeed as managers in businesses, nonprofit organizations and government.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 9
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $57,200
  • Average Annual Job Openings, 2014-2024: 252,000
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 8.79%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 5
22
Online Degree in Mathematics

Math-minded individuals are in demand in business, government and education. Pursuing a degree in mathematics provides students with an opportunity to study mathematical thought and knowledge while developing and practicing the problem-solving and analytical reasoning skills employers value. Courses generally focus on various levels of geometry, calculus, statistics, probability theory and math analysis. Some colleges offer degree specializations like traditional math, applied math, and mathematics education. Graduates with a bachelor's degree in mathematics in hand may want to pursue advanced study or career opportunities in actuarial science, computer science, data management, education, finance, government, mathematics, operations research and statistics.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 16
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $54,000
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 94,900
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 8.62%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 6
23
Entrepreneur

For anyone who dreams of starting their own company, managing a family-owned business, or being a change agent in the corporate environment, this degree fits the bill. Basic courses in this program cover business, marketing, strategy, finance, economics, management, marketing and organizational behavior. Courses geared toward entrepreneurs may include strategic entrepreneurship, business plan development, new venture finance, and innovation and new product development. Some schools offer this degree as a specialization within in a business administration degree. Graduates can be ready to start up and run their own businesses, serve as chief executives, general and operations managers, or to become college-level business instructors.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 22
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $48,000
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 320,000
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 7.9%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 10
24
Online Degree in Economics

The study of economics analyzes the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services and aims to explain how economies work. Courses in this program typically include economic theory and electives in subjects like environmental economics, international economy and entrepreneurship, and the impact of government policy on the economy. Instructors can help students learn and practice skills like critical thinking, problem-solving and working with numbers. Some schools offer economics as a specialization within a business degree. Graduates usually pursue careers as loan officers, appraisers, financial or statistical analysts, credit managers, financial officers, actuaries, financial planners, risk managers or economic loss specialists.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 28
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $53,900
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 83,100
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 7.55%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 6
25
Online Degree in Information Technology Management

Just as health care has grown more complex in recent years, so have the organizations and systems that support them. A degree program in health information management aims to prepare students for entry-level management positions in the growing field of health care management. Students can expect to learn about the structure and management of health care organizations and systems, as well as aspects such as law and ethics, finance and economics, reimbursement management, regulation, public health, cultural issues, bioethics, health care policy and research. Some colleges offer this degree with specialization in areas such as health services administration, community health, leadership and education.

Featured data points:

  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015-16: 71
  • Early career median salary, 2016: $41,700
  • Projected total job openings, 2016-26: 36,400
  • Average projected job growth rate, 2016-26: 19.82%
  • Job titles aligned with this degree program, 2015-16: 1
Methodologies and Sources
DegreeMedian SalaryNo. of Schools Offering This Degree Online
Computer Engineering (CE)$69,600505
Information Technology Management$53,700394
Software Engineering $64,700191
Management science$57,200134
Mathematics$54,000113
Dental hygiene$65,400109
Computer science$65,30090
Economics$53,90075
Computer and Network Administration$50,80074
Operations Management$54, 80059
Computer programming$50,50051
Computer Networking Systems$46,90051
International Business$48,80047
Computer information systems (CIS)$54,30046
Accounting and Business Management$46,95039
 Information Security $57,70028
Finance$53,30025
Information Technology (IT)$53,00024
General Business$45,00016
Marketing$45,3009
Accounting$48,3006
Nursing$57,5004
Physician assistant$85,2004
Business administration$46,1003
Mechanical Engineering (ME)$63,5002