Most Employable Tech Degrees In 2020

Remember Rosie, the robot housekeeper, from the Jetsons? The way tech is progressing, she might just become a reality sooner than you may think.

The fields of robotics, computers, and technology are changing the world as we know it. In fact, there’s barely any aspect of our lives that are untouched by them. CompTIA reports that that the tech industry is expected to hit an incredible $5.2 trillion in 2020 and the United States is expected to have a 32 percent ($1.7 trillion) share of it.

While many popular majors can prepare students for job titles that would be familiar to all generations (teacher, engineer, physician’s assistant, etc.), jobs like network administrator, software QA specialist, and database manager are products of our informatics age. And high demand in these new fields might explain why computer and technology majors top the list of degrees providing the biggest “bang for your buck” to students looking to maximize the value of their learning investment. Many of the occupations associated with them come with median wages at the higher end of the wages spectrum.

If you are familiar with terms like cloud computing, deep-learning, neural networking, then perhaps an online technology degree is the one for you. And it goes without saying; computer and technology degrees can be really compatible with online learning.

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1. Information Technology

Have you ever seen people wonder why their computer isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do? IT professionals are the superheroes that can help them figure it out. Apart from helping people solve tech problems, individuals in IT often look for ways to make existing business processes more efficient. As nearly every industry needs IT guys, it’s no wonder that it tops our list of the most employable tech degrees of 2020.

CompTIA reports that 86 percent of IT professionals are confident about their future job prospects. Information Technology, or IT, is a broad field that allows you to have a number of different careers in a number of different industries. So if any industry stirs your interest along with IT, like healthcare for example, you may be able to choose a specialization during the course of your online IT degree program which may help you align your interests and orient your career in that direction.

  • Average Salary of Related Professions: $110,090
  • Projected Job Growth (2018-2028): 16.57
  • Projected Employment: 2,955,300
  • Number of Online Schools Offering Programs in this Field: 108

2. Information Technology Project Management

Every booming industry needs competent managers and the IT industry is no different. With companies investing huge amounts in IT, projects need to be delivered on-time and within budget. The industry needs project managers who understand the entire process – right from how IT ideas are conceptualized to their delivery. Careers in this field combine management techniques along with technology. People management skills are definitely crucial.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) expects information services to be one of the largest sectors to create project-related job openings, needing individuals with the right mix of technical and leadership skills in the decade leading up to 2027. Project management jobs can be well-paying too with the PMI reporting that wages in this industry were far higher on average than non-project oriented jobs. Online IT project management degrees can help you gain the technical and business know-how to make a significant impact on the projects you may manage in the future.

  • Average Salary of Related Professions: $109,658
  • Projected Job Growth (2018-2028): 14.23
  • Projected Employment: 1,921,000
  • Number of Online Schools Offering Programs in this Field: 8

3. Computer and Information Sciences, General

Here we have one of those catch-all categories, this one encompassing many fields and positions having to do with both computer science and information management. Online computer and information science degrees typically focus on a wide range of computer and information related topics rather than specific majors. Students typically take a few classes in business as well. This field can act as a cross-over between computer science and information technology. You may be able to choose to specialize in an area that interests you the most as you explore the field.

This multidisciplinary approach can qualify you for a wide range of careers in tech and business including those in computer programming, software development, systems administration, and web development to name a few. An online computer and information sciences degree can be a great way to gain generalized knowledge of the field before deciding on a career path.

  • Average Salary of Related Professions: $100,409
  • Projected Job Growth (2018-2028): 10.11
  • Projected Employment: 2,175,500
  • Number of Online Schools Offering Programs in this Field: 67

4. Computer Science

Computers and IT are the most popular fields of study, after business, for students of online degree programs according to a 2019 Learning House survey of online students. Computer science can be broadly differentiated from IT as computer scientists focus mainly on the theoretical side of developing computer applications as opposed to IT professionals who look into making them user-friendly. It would be unfair to say however, that computer science professionals ignore the human aspects wholly, as the work they do can have a direct impact on peoples’ lives. For example, a computer scientist may be behind a computer program that helps vision-impaired people.

Students of online computer science degrees study the theory behind the design of computers and computational processes. The College Board recommends that those interested in studying computer science have a mathematical yet creative mindset along with the ability to think logically. A degree in computer science can lead to careers in software development, systems analysis, programming, and research among others.

  • Average Salary of Related Professions: $96,184
  • Projected Job Growth (2018-2028): 13.14
  • Projected Employment: 3,155,900
  • Number of Online Schools Offering Programs in this Field: 35

5. Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance

With more and more of our information (including details about our personal and financial lives) being stored on computer networks, the role of the information security specialist is more in demand than ever. This one has jumped up on our list as security becomes increasingly relevant due to malicious attacks and the number of devices connected to the internet increase. Everything from airplane navigation systems and government databases to financial services and mobile phones can be threatened, making cybersecurity a major area of concern.

With so much information under threat, it’s no surprise that the industry is growing rapidly. PR Newswire reports that the global cybersecurity industry was valued at $ 118.78 billion in 2018, and is expected to reach $ 267.73 billion by 2024. The BLS projects job growth at a rapid 32 percent compared to 5 percent for all other occupations. All said and done, it can be a good time for individuals interested in a career that keeps them on their tiptoes, staying abreast of all the latest tech – one step ahead of malicious attackers at all times.

  • Average Salary of Related Professions: $97,465
  • Projected Job Growth (2018-2028): 12.07
  • Projected Employment: 1,476,200
  • Number of Online Schools Offering Programs in this Field: 66

6. Information Science/Studies

The role of the information scientist is to push forward our understanding of how computers and information work and interact, developing theories and practical applications that advance the technology and processes that underlie our information age. Businesses all over the world are generating huge amounts of data, making its systematic storage and ease of access a necessity. This is where information science majors can shine designing efficient, secure and user-friendly systems that guide us through to the information we need. Information science majors may also design systems that analyze massive amounts of data to find patterns that help businesses provide better services.

The College Board recommends that students of online information science degrees be organized, good with numbers, and have an interest in human behavior. Graduates of these degree programs may find employment as database administrators, systems analysts, and librarians among other occupations.

  • Average Salary of Related Professions: $108,678
  • Projected Job Growth (2018-2028): 11.78
  • Projected Employment: 1,271,500
  • Number of Online Schools Offering Programs in this Field: 54

7. Network and System Administration/Administrator

The multiple computer networks we log into each day are designed, built, and administered by people trained in network administration, one of the most vital (and in-demand) jobs in a world of continually expanding interlinked systems. Network and system administrators ensure that computer systems and networks remain functioning for businesses, and even find ways to improve their efficiency. In fact, the work they do is so important that the last Friday in July has been designated System Administrator Appreciation Day or Sysadmin Day!

A degree in computer networking is a popular springboard to these careers. Online network and system administration degree programs can give you not just technical know-how but also the practical skills necessary to put your knowledge to use in real-world situations. The College Board recommends that aspiring network and systems administrators should have strong communication skills and love analyzing and solving problems. Since nearly every industry needs network and system administrators, you may be able to find employment in industries you are interested in.

  • Average Salary of Related Professions: $98,944
  • Projected Job Growth (2018-2028): 12.18
  • Projected Employment: 1,343,000
  • Number of Online Schools Offering Programs in this Field: 24

8. Computer Programming, Specific Applications

The National Center for Education Statistics defines the computer programming, specific applications degree programs as programs that prepare “individuals to apply the knowledge and skills of general computer programming to the solution of specific operational problems and customization requirements presented by individual software users and organizational users”. This field combines general computer-programming knowledge with the ability to plan, develop, and maintain software that end users will interact with, products that need to take into account the requirements of individual people and organizations.

After studying general programming topics, students enrolled in online computer programming, specific degree programs may choose an area of programming they want to build their proficiency in alignment with the career goals and interests. For example, those interested in entering the exciting world of video games may be able to choose video game programming as a specialization.

  • Average Salary of Related Professions: $99,300
  • Projected Job Growth (2018-2028): 11.23
  • Projected Employment: 1,827,900
  • Number of Online Schools Offering Programs in this Field: 5

9. Computer Programming/Programmer, General

Computers need instruction in specific languages. Programmers are tech wizzes that can speak (or in this case write) that language. They tell computers what to do by using computer code – the language that computers understand. Every software development project requires input from “code cutters,” programming generalists able to write the code that will become part of a product or system used by individuals, companies, government agencies, or other organizations. Programmers usually work in teams writing parts of code for programs and applications that are then put together as a whole.

Computer programmers are typically proficient in computer languages like C++ or Java for example. The BLS reports that those with knowledge of more than one language are likely to have the best job prospects.

  • Average Salary of Related Professions: $85,387
  • Projected Job Growth (2018-2028): 10.48
  • Projected Employment: 2,269,700
  • Number of Online Schools Offering Programs in this Field: 23

10. Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications

Network systems and data communications analysts are the behind-the-scenes wizards we rely on to build, maintain and protect computer networks. Like a number of majors in this study, this field overlaps with others that involve the management of computer networks, but also includes management and support of telecommunication networks such as telephonic switching systems. Those working computer systems networking and telecommunications often need to have cutting-edge knowledge of existing technology so that they can improve the systems they work with or develop new ones.

Students enrolled in online computer systems networking and telecommunications 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. Do bear in mind that in some schools, computer networking is a concentration within broader IT program, such as computer information technology.

  • Average Salary of Related Professions: $89,720
  • Projected Job Growth (2018-2028): 12.93
  • Projected Employment: 1,169,900
  • Number of Online Schools Offering Programs in this Field: 15

11. Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst

In today’s world of commercial applications and open-source software, many technology projects require skilled systems analysts who can help determine the right combination of new and existing technology needed to solve specific individual and organizational challenges. While computer programmers specialize in building applications for specific needs, computer systems analysts are the ones who recommend particular programs or processes to businesses and organizations. In order to do this, they need to have a working knowledge of both computer systems as well as the industries they work with. The BLS predicts that smaller firms are likely to outsource their system analysis needs to contractors. It also expects the healthcare sector to be a large contributing factor to job growth in computer systems analysis. They may also communicate business needs to computer program developers so that the end users get functioning, user-friendly programs. Analysts may also test systems they design to ensure they are bug-free. Many analysts need knowledge of programming to carry out their tasks.

The College Board has a word of advice for prospective computer systems analysts saying that choosing a minor in fields like math or business can boost career prospects.

  • Average Salary of Related Professions: $85,688
  • Projected Job Growth (2018-2028): 7.83
  • Projected Employment: 1,084,200
  • Number of Online Schools Offering Programs in this Field: 10

12. Web Page, Digital/Multimedia and Information Resources Design

Ever been on a webpage where the information you need is almost impossible to find? You end up clicking on every single link it can conceivably be on, only to find what you’re looking for in a completely unrelated section. There are plenty of roles to be had with an online degree in page, digital/multimedia and information resources design.

Web designers need to think of more than how a website looks – they need to ensure that users can find what they need easily and that the website functions without any bugs. Additionally, content continually needs to be updated and the look changed periodically to keep it fresh and attractive. Webmasters make sure that websites are kept up-to-date and the servers are working. Some individuals wear both hats and play the roles of both web designer and webmaster.

The BLS expects a large part of the demand for web developers to stem from e-commerce and predicts that those with knowledge of multiple programming languages and digital multimedia tools to have the best job prospects.

  • Average Salary of Related Professions: $64,107
  • Projected Job Growth (2018-2028): 9.40
  • Projected Employment: 544,300
  • Number of Online Schools Offering Programs in this Field: 20

As you look over these rankings, keep in mind that dollar figures are averages, meaning some may earn than these figures while others may earn less. And remember that those at the start of their career are likely to make less than the average wages for those occupations, although salary advancement in the technology field can be quite rapid.

Remember also that the newness of many of these fields means the dividing line between them can be quite blurry. Many professionals in the industry obtain certifications to gain new knowledge and develop their expertise. The blurriness between roles can work to your advantage, as you may be able to move the focus of your career fairly smoothly once you have started work. That being said, it is important that you have a strong foundation in all things tech, so make sure to do your research before enrolling in any degree program to make sure it coincides with your specific career goals.

For this analysis, we ranked 30 online degrees in technology. 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, 2018-2028
  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 201-28 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/

Sources

  • 2020 Technology Industry Outlook, Deloitte, 2019, https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/technology-industry-outlook/
  • Career: Network and Computer Systems Administrators, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/careers/computers-math-network-computer-systems-administrators, accessed February 2020
  • Career: Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/careers/computers-math-network-systems-data-communications-analysts, accessed February 2020
  • CIO Jury: 83% of CIOs struggle to find tech talent, Tech Republic, https://www.techrepublic.com/article/cio-jury-83-of-cios-struggle-to-find-tech-talent/, accessed February 2020
  • Clinefelter, D. L., Aslanian, C. B., & Magda, A. J., Online college students 2019: Comprehensive data on demands and preferences. Louisville, KY: Wiley edu, LLC, 2019, https://www.learninghouse.com/knowledge-center/research-reports/ocs2019-research-report/
  • Computer and Information Research Scientists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm, accessed February 2020
  • Computer and Information Technology Occupation, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, modified September 2019, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm
  • Computer Programmers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm , accessed February 2020
  • Computer Programming, Specific Applications, IPEDS, NCES, https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cipcode/cipdetail.aspx?y=55&cipid=87246, accessed February 2020
  • Computer Systems Analysts, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm, accessed February 2020
  • CS vs CIS vs IT – Which Technology Degree is for You?, Gwynedd Mercy University, https://www.gmercyu.edu/academics/learn/cs-cis-it-difference, accessed February 2020
  • Information Security Analysts, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm, accessed February 2020
  • IT Industry Outlook 2020, CompTIA, 2019, https://www.comptia.org/content/research/it-industry-trends-analysis
  • 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: Computer and Information Sciences, General, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/computer-information-sciences-computer-information-sciences-general, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Computer Networking and Telecommunications, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/computer-information-sciences-computer-networking-telecommunications, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Computer Science, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/computer-information-sciences-computer-science, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Computer Systems Analysis, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/computer-information-sciences-computer-systems-analysis, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Information Science, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/computer-information-sciences-information-science, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Information Technology, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/computer-information-sciences-information-technology, accessed February 2020
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm, accessed February 2020
  • The global cybersecurity market was valued at USD 118.78 billion in 2018, and is expected to reach USD 267.73 billion by 2024, registering a CAGR of 14.5%, during the period of 2019, PR Newswire, 2019, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-global-cybersecurity-market-was-valued-at-usd-118-78-billion-in-2018 — and-is-expected-to-reach-usd-267-73-billion-by-2024 — registering-a-cagr-of-14-5-during-the-period-of-2019 — 300955378/
  • Web Developers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm, accessed February 2020
  • What Is a Computer Systems Analyst? A Spotlight on These Behind-the-Scenes Tech Pros, Rasmussen College, 2019, https://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/technology/blog/what-is-computer-systems-analyst/
 

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.html
  • 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


9 Emerging Careers Changing the World

If you’re seeking a stimulating and long-lasting career, look no further than the latest social and technological trends for a little inspiration. In just the past decade (or in some cases, less), major innovations have taken place in various fields from computers to medicine, all of which have forged an exciting landscape for emerging careers to take hold. Creative types might gravitate to the developing fields of 3D printing or social media, while tech-minded dreamers may lean toward groundbreaking developments in artificial intelligence or genetic engineering. Whatever your interest, this list of new, rapidly developing careers — and the majors to get you there — can help you identify a brand new career path that can take you into the future.

1. 3D Printing

3D printing

Since 3D printing technology has emerged, its wide and varied use has grown rapidly across the fields of biomedical science, computer science, manufacturing and just about any other industry that can benefit from faster, more efficient and cheaper production of its goods. From airplane parts and cars to artificial organs and prosthetics, 3D printing (or, more broadly, “additive manufacturing”) is an exciting field with seemingly endless applications and opportunities. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2018, nearly 41 percent of organizations are now on the hunt for workers who understand how this emerging technology works and, more importantly, how it can give their business a competitive advantage.

Where to find this degree program: Online degrees in the 3D Printing field include the master of engineering in additive manufacturing and design at Penn State World Campus, and the online additive manufacturing certifications at both MIT and Purdue University.

Related degree programs include engineering for those interested in the manufacturing industry, animation and design for those with a creative eye, and biomedical technology for those who seek to revolutionize the medical field.

2. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

artificial intelligence

The technology of “the future” is already here and shaping the way we live our day-to-day lives, but it’s becoming more apparent to all levels of society. Many companies are harnessing the analytical powers of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and deep learning to increase efficiency and cut their business costs. These innovative technologies have been developed to think, learn and even make predictions about certain data in a way that is similar to how the human brain works. Though this may take away certain jobs, it is expected that far more will be created in the long run, particularly for data scientists, machine learning engineers and business intelligence developers. More than two million jobs in the AI sector alone are expected to be generated within the next few years.

Where to find this degree program: Stanford University offers an online course in machine learning, though the AI track of its bachelor in computer science degree is not offered completely online. Harvard University offers an online machine learning course as well. On the other hand, graduate programs appear to be more prevalent, such as Georgia Tech’s online Master of Science in Computer Science with a specialization in machine learning.

Because online bachelor’s degree programs in this field are relatively rare at this time, it may be best to first pursue an undergraduate degree in a related field, such as information technology, computer science or mathematics.

3. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (the IoT)

virtual reality

The technology behind virtual and augmented reality makes video games and other digital entertainment exponentially more fun and unlike what we’ve seen before in the gaming and design world. However, this innovative technology can also lend itself to practical uses in the real world. It’s being used for safe, on-the-job training in fields like air and sea navigation, medicine and the military, and it’s helping coworkers facilitate collaborative projects despite living on opposite ends of the globe. Statista.com predicted that there were 170 million virtual reality users worldwide in 2018 alone, so this is a job market that is expected to provide massive opportunity now and in the future.

Where to find this degree program: Both the University of London and the University of Advancing Technology offer an online virtual reality degree. Drexel University offers a Virtual Reality & Immersive Media Program as well, and though it is not offered online, it does provide an in-depth exploration of theories, techniques and skills necessary to produce captivating virtual content.

Students may also choose to pursue a degree in new media, computer science or art and design – three aspects that go hand-in-hand to develop virtual and augmented reality that looks great and functions even better.

4. Blockchain

blockchain

One of the most in-demand skills of the moment, blockchain engineering is actually a set of technologies including distributed computing and cryptography. It’s the technology that serves as the foundation of bitcoin cryptocurrency, a revolutionary form of currency that is certainly driving the demand for developers even higher. However, blockchain can also be applied in a wide variety of other realms from healthcare and digital identity to advertising and data storage. It’s no wonder, then, that the demand for well-versed developers has increased more than 500 percent in recent years according to a report by Hired.com.

Where to find this degree program: Elite schools like Princeton and MIT offer online courses in blockchain technologies, but do not have degree programs in the field at this time. The University of Nicosia, on the other hand, offers an online master’s in digital currency, claiming to be the world’s first graduate degree in blockchain.

Related degree programs include computer science, distributed computing and cryptography.

5. Cannabis

cannabis

The legalization of cannabis in many areas of the United States has opened up a plethora of job opportunities in cultivation, extraction, dispensary management and even cannabis law. Increased accessibility to the plant offers more and more patients an alternative to pharmaceutical medicine, and recreational users may be finding it more socially acceptable to utilize the plant’s psychoactive effects as a means to handle stress and other emotions, among other uses. As the government continues to approve legislation allowing the medicinal or recreational use of the plant, the demand for jobs in this sector are expected to grow — literally and figuratively. In fact, the cannabis industry added nearly 65,000 jobs in 2018, which is an increase of 44 percent, according to industry experts Leafly and Whitney Economics.

Where to find this degree program: Northern Michigan University offers a degree program in medicinal plant chemistry that covers all aspects of the industry from growth to distribution, though it is currently only available on campus. Specialized schools like Cannabis Training University and Oaksterdam University, for example, offer online horticulture courses in addition to full on-campus degree programs that focus specifically on the cannabis industry.

For students interested in different aspects of the cannabis industry, related degree programs that tend to be more easily accessible online include chemistry, botany and healthcare.

6. Genetic Engineering

genetic-engineering

The first thing that comes to mind when many people think of gene editing is the controversial topics of “designer babies” and rogue human experimentation. However, the groundbreaking medical technology is more often and increasingly used for other medical purposes. For example, it can be used to detect and prevent diseases before they can affect one’s quality of life, and it can help to grow new organs for life-saving transplants. Thanks to the increasing possibilities to apply biotechnology to medical equipment and devices, job opportunities for biomedical engineers have been on the rise in the past few years and are expected to continue to grow as much as 7% into the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Where to find this degree program: The Stanford School of Medicine offers an online course in genetic engineering and biotechnology, while the University of Maryland University College offers a fully online biotechnology bachelor’s degree. For those seeking higher degrees, the University of Southern California offers a master of science in biomedical engineering completely online.

Common online degrees and concentrations related to genetic engineering include biology, human genetics and viral diseases.

7. Robotics

robotics

When we think of robots, we often conjure images of a futuristic society, but the truth is that robots are already all around us and already impacting the ways we do business. Most industrial equipment incorporates robotics technology, as does the emerging market for autonomous vehicles and all of the various uses for artificial intelligence. With the increased need for advanced robots to take over dangerous (or sometimes just boring) tasks, the need for robotics engineers is expected to grow as well. According to BIS Research, the “cobot” market (or collaborative robots that work alongside humans) is expected to grow to approximately $2 billion in the next few years.

Where to find this degree program: Southern New Hampshire University offers an online BS in information technologies with a concentration in robotics and artificial intelligence, while the University of Advancing Technology offers an online bachelor’s degree in robotics and embedded systems. For those seeking an advanced degree, an MS in robotics engineering is available online through Worcester Polytechnic University.

Degree programs related to robotics include mechanical engineering and computing and programming.

8. Social Media

social media

Social media usage is ubiquitous in today’s society. Not only do we use it to keep up with friends and family, but these platforms are becoming an essential component in business strategies spanning nearly every industry. Social media has shaken up the way that we communicate and the way we receive information about the world around us. That’s why it is more important than ever for businesses to have an online presence for promotional and brand-building purposes. Due to its popularity, you may face competition in this field, though its universal appeal is likely to always be in demand.

Where to find this degree program: Southern New Hampshire University offers an online BS in social media marketing, Johnson & Wales University Online offers a BS in digital marketing & social media, and Strayer University has an online bachelor of science in business administration: social media marketing. At the graduate level, Quinnipiac University offers an online MS in interactive media and communications, while Loyola University Maryland has their own online master’s in emerging media.

Social Media degree programs are relatively easy to find these days, but similar programs of interest include marketing, public relations and journalism.

9. Renewable Energy

renewable energy

With continued scientific research into the threat of global warming, renewable energy sources — including solar energy and wind energy — are quickly gaining worldwide interest. Their once high costs are now rapidly declining, allowing these alternative power sources to become more accessible to the public. Wind turbine technicians and solar photovoltaic (PV) installers are two of the fastest-growing “green” jobs on the market today, and there’s no sign that these eco-conscious alternatives will be slowing down. In fact, according to the 2019 Clean Jobs America analysis, the amount of clean energy jobs increased in every state in 2018 and they now significantly outnumber fossil fuel jobs.

Where to find this degree program: Penn State World Campus offers an online bachelor’s degree in energy and sustainability policy, an online master’s degree in renewable energy and sustainability systems and graduate certificates in solar energy and sustainability management and policy. DeVry University also offers an online bachelor’s degree specialization in renewable energy, while Everglades University’s online bachelor of science degree features a major in alternative and renewable energy management.

More easily accessible degree programs related to renewable energy include environmental science and engineering.

Sources

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  • 3-D Printing to Lower Prosthetic Costs, Alliance of Advanced Biomedical Engineering, Accessed June 2019, https://aabme.asme.org/posts/3-d-printing-to-lower-prosthetic-costs
  • 3D Printing Jobs of the Future, KForce, Accessed June 2019, https://www.kforce.com/articles/3d-printing-jobs-of-the-future/
  • 5 hot new careers created by marijuana legalization, CNBC, Accessed June 2019, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/06/five-hot-new-careers-created-by-marijuana-legalization/
  • 7 Diverse Ways Virtual Reality Is Changing How We Work, TechnoStacks, Accessed June 2019, https://technostacks.com/blog/7-ways-virtual-reality-changing-world/
  • A Bright Future Awaits Prospective Robotics Engineers, MachineDesign, Accessed June 2019, https://www.machinedesign.com/motion-control/bright-future-awaits-prospective-robotics-engineer
  • Additive Manufacturing for Innovative Design and Production, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Accessed June 2019, https://additivemanufacturing.mit.edu/
  • Applied Robotics: How Robots Are Changing Our World, Photonics, Accessed June 2019, https://www.photonics.com/Articles/Applied_Robotics_How_Robots_Are_Changing_Our/a57448
  • Are You Considering A Career In Augmented / Virtual Reality or Artificial Intelligence?, Monster, Accessed June 2019, https://www.monster.ca/career-advice/article/consider-a-career-in-artificial-intelligence
  • Bachelor’s Degree Specialization in Renewable Energy, DeVry University, Accessed June 2019, https://www.devry.edu/online-programs/bachelors-degrees/electronics-engineering-technology/renewable-energy-specialization/
  • Bachelor of Science Degree with a Major in Alternative and Renewable Energy Management, Everglades University, Accessed June 2019, https://www.evergladesuniversity.edu/courses/bs-renewable-energy-degree/
  • Biomedical Engineers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed June 2019, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/biomedical-engineers.htm
  • Biotechnology Bachelor’s Degree, UMUC, Accessed June 2019, https://www.umuc.edu/academic-programs/bachelors-degrees/biotechnology-major.cfm
  • Blockchain Technologies: Business Innovation and Application, MIT, Accessed June 2019, https://executive-education.mit.edu/mit-blockchain-technologies-online-short-course-sf/
  • BS in Information Technologies: Robotics & Artificial Intelligence, SNHU, Accessed June 2019, https://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/bachelors/bs-in-information-technologies/robotics-and-artificial-intelligence
  • BS in Digital Marketing & Social Media, JWU Online, Accessed June 2019, https://online.jwu.edu/academics/undergraduate/digital-marketing-social-media
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: Social Media Marketing, Strayer University, Accessed June 2019, https://www.strayer.edu/online-degrees/bachelors/business-administration/social-media-marketing
  • Clean Jobs America 2019, E2, Accessed June 2019, https://www.e2.org/reports/clean-jobs-america-2019/
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A 10-Point Guide To Choosing An Online Nursing Program

A career in nursing can be suitable for those who can combine compassion with the emotional resilience required to cope with human suffering. Good communication and critical thinking skills along with physical stamina are necessary qualities to have or acquire.

NurseThe field of nursing offers a variety of options. Nurses may have the opportunity to work with a diverse range of patient groups. For example, nurses can work in the neonatology department with newborn infants, in intensive care units as critical care nurses, or become rehabilitation nurses who work with patients who are temporarily or permanently disabled. An online degree in nursing can also open up non-nursing careers options such as those of a legal nurse consultant, nurse educator or an informatics nurse specialist.

Prospective students are advised to explore the number of career options in nursing and then choose an online nursing program that aligns with their career goals. Job growth is expected to be higher in outpatient care centers for chemotherapy, rehabilitation, and surgery, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics but the overall demand for nurses across the country is much faster than the average between 2016 and 2026. 

Nurses are in good demand

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists registered nurses (RNs) among the top three occupations with the highest projected numeric change in employment with 438,100 job openings projected in the decade leading up to 2026. The need for nurses is expected to increase due to a number of reasons:

  • An aging population leading to a need for an increase in healthcare services for this demographic, including nursing services.
  • Nurses are needed to replace those who are retiring in the coming years. An estimated one million registered nurses are expected to retire over the next 10 to 15 years, according to a report by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).
Terms you should know before you read further
  • Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs): They help provide basic nursing care under the guidance of RNs and doctors.
  • Registered Nurses (RNs): They help provide patient care and educate public and patients about health issues.
  • Clinical Rotations: Clinical rotations are an important part of earning your nursing degree. This is where you can get supervised hands-on instruction in a healthcare setting and develop practical nursing skills. Depending on the nature of your online nursing program and the type of nursing degree, your clinical rotations may be at an approved facility near your residence or workplace. This could be a hospital or clinical facility.

This 10-point guide to choosing an online nursing program is designed to be a quick reference guide to common questions prospective online nursing students may ask.

1. Finding an online nursing program that is right for you

You may be just out of high school interested in becoming a nurse, or you may be a practicing nurse interested in advancing your career. Whatever your reasons may be for pursuing a nursing career, online nursing degree programs can open up opportunities that you are seeking.

Looking to enter a career in nursing?

There are two main types of online nursing degrees you can earn as a new entrant to the nursing profession. The credentials you earn depend on the degree you earn and licensing examinations you pass. We discuss them in more detail below:

  • Online associate degree in nursing (ADN):  ADNs are usually two-year programs offering the basic degree you need to become a registered nurse. You may be able to take general education and nursing-related theoretical courses online.

           Click here for more information on online associate degrees in nursing

  • Online bachelor of science in nursing degree (BSN): Instead of the two-year associate degree, you may enroll in an online BSN which typically takes four years to complete. RNs with a bachelor’s degree have the potential to earn more money by progressing to more advanced job roles. Additionally, a bachelor’s degree is often the minimum requirement for employees in hospitals which have achieved the Magnet status which is a title given by the American Nurses Credentialing Center to healthcare facilities that demonstrate nursing excellence. Those with a bachelor’s degree typically have an advantage over those with an associate degree, in such cases.

           Click here for more information on online bachelor’s degrees in nursing

Note: Both associate degree holders and bachelor’s degree holders need to pass the state-administered NCLEX-RN examination to obtain a nursing license in order to practice in your state.

Already a nurse? 

There are a number of online degrees programs you may be able to enroll in if you are already working in the field of nursing and hold a license toNurse practice as an LPN or an RN and want to advance your career. Bridge degree programs can allow you to apply credits from your previous nursing education or clinical experience thereby reducing the hours needed for clinical rotation. Many online bridge degree programs can allow you to take your courses completely online and complete your clinical instruction at your place of work.

Note: Accelerated bridge degree programs may allow you to earn your degree faster but can also be extremely demanding in terms of time and effort as they may require you take several courses at one time.

Some options you have are outlined below.

Are you working as an LPN and want a degree to become an RN?

  • Online LPN to RN programs: If you are already working as an LPN, you may be able to enroll in an online LPN to RN bridge program. There are two types of programs available:
    • LPN to ADN
    • LPN to BSN

Depending on how many educational credits you can transfer, you may be able to complete your ADN degree, typically, in as little as 12 months and a BSN usually takes three years.

Are you an RN who would like to earn an online bachelor’s degree?

  • Online RN to BSN programs: RN to BSN online programs are designed for students with an ADN to earn their BSN degree. They take into account the unpredictable nature of shift work by offering all classes online so you can continue working while still earning your BSN degree. Earning your BSN can help you take on supervisory roles in your workplace.

Are you an RN who would like to earn an online master’s degree?

  • RN to MSN online programs: A master of science in nursing (MSN) can allow you specialize in a particular area of nursing, enter research or become a nurse educator. They typically take two years of full-time study to complete. Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) also need to pass a certification examination which can vary depending on their specialization. Click here for more information on online master’s degrees in nursing

Looking for an online doctoral degree in nursing?

    While these may not be bridge degrees, they may certainly be worth pursuing if you enjoy academia. There are two degrees at the doctoral level:

  • The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Ph.D. in nursing

Click here for more information on online doctoral degrees in nursing

2. Online nursing degree programs can be available in different formats. Which one is right for you?

NurseMost online nurse practitioner programs designed for LPNs and RNs are actually hybrid programs. This means you complete some courses online while receive face-to-face instruction for others. This in-person instruction can be especially important for aspiring nurses with little or no practical experience of working in a healthcare facility.

Fully online programs are typically found at higher degree levels for students and are usually suitable for people who already have their RN license and a certain amount of work experience. However, even these programs, like an RN to BSN bridge degree program, may need you to complete an internship or a capstone project as a part of the degree requirements.

3. Choosing your nursing specialization

Specializations in nursing can start right from the LPN level. The BLS reports that LPNs may be able to earn certifications in areas of their choosing like gerontology and intravenous therapy through professional organizations. RNs and APRNs may be able to choose specializations while still in school or obtain professional certifications in fields like:

  • Clinical nursing
  • Critical care nursing
  • Cardiac and vascular nursing
  • Gerontology
  • Midwifery
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatric nursing
  • Surgical nursing

4. Admission tests and other requirements online nursing colleges may require

Becoming a nurse is not easy and studying online takes a certain amount of dedication and a passion for the profession. Apart from looking at SAT and ACT scores, online colleges in nursing may also require potential students to pass entrance examinations which can vary from school to school. Common examinations you may be required to pass are:

  • National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Exam (NLN PAX)
  • NLN RN Pre-Admission exam (NLN PAX-RN)
  • Health Education Systems, Inc Exam (HESI) A2
  • Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS)

5. Look for online nursing schools or programs that are accredited by a recognized body

Attending an accredited school can allow eligible students to apply for federal financial aid and funding but more importantly, attending an accredited school is one of the prerequisites for gaining nursing licensure. The two main accrediting bodies for nursing programs are:

  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)

Accreditation is also important for students who want to transfer their learning credits from one nursing program to another.

Click here for a list of the top online accredited nursing colleges by degree level

6. Choose an online nursing program approved by the state board

Nurse Apart from accreditation, many online nursing programs are recognized by their state nursing boards. Prospective students may want to take a look at the NCLEX pass rates for that program before they enroll. This information can often be found on the school website or the website of state nursing boards. A high percentage of students passing the NCLEX can indicate how well the nursing program prepares students for NCLEX.

Usually, nursing licenses allow nurses to practice only in the state where you obtained the license. However, if the state belongs to nurse licensure compact, it may be easier for registered nurses to practice their profession across multiple states. About 50 percent of the states participate in the nurse licensure compact, according to NursingLicensure.org.

7. Consider the location of clinical sites offered by the online nursing program

Prospective students should consider how far and how frequently they have to travel for the practical component of their online nursing program. Additionally, knowing which clinical sites the school partners with can give students an idea of the kind of clinical experience they might have. Ask the college about the variety of experience you may be able to gain through your practical education and evaluate whether it aligns with your future career goals.

8. Take a peek at the online faculty for nursing

Learn about the online faculty for the program. What are their specializations? Who are you likely to be working with during your supervised clinical rotations? Do they have a variety of experience in nursing? Apart from knowing the different digital instruction tools that are being used, prospective students should be assured that faculty is available to answer questions when needed either through instant messaging platforms, video conferencing or over the phone.

9. Finding financial aid for your online nursing program

Apart from tuition, the cost of attending an online nursing program can go beyond simply tuition and books. You may need uniforms for your clinical rotations and have to factor in the cost of transport for practical, hands-on exposure at hospitals and clinics. Prospective students may find funding for their online nursing program through federal and state financial aid programs as well as scholarships offered by the school. Students are advised to contact the school’s financial aid office to explore possible funding options that may be available to them. Click here to see more about financial aid options for prospective nurses.

10. Advice from students who have succeeded in online nursing programs

Nurse-2On a final note, here is some advice from students who have graduated from online nursing programs.

“I feel associate-level nursing programs are basic preparation for the NCLEX-RN exams and a basic working knowledge, but a bachelor’s degree is necessary in today’s health care world. This degree is a stepping stone for advance practice practitioners such as nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists or clinical nurse specialists. Take it from someone who has been a nurse for 25 years now: you’ll never regret getting it. A BSN can only help your career.” 

BSN & hospital supervisor: Joseph Julian:

“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.” 

Cancer survivor, founder and director of the nonprofit Project Helping Hands, nurse: Jeff Solheim:

 

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  • LPN to RN Online Bridge, Hutchinson Community College, https://www.hutchcc.edu/allied-health/associate-degree-nursing/lpn-to-rn-obp, accessed February 2019
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  • Prospective Nursing Student Resource Guide, National Student Nurses’ Association, https://www.nsna.org/prospective-nursing-student-resource-guide/, accessed February 2019
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  • RN to BSN, Chamberlain University, https://www.chamberlain.edu/academics/nursing-school/rn-to-bsn, accessed February 2019
  • Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS), West Coast University, http://westcoastuniversity.smartcatalogiq.com/Spring-2019/West-Coast-University-Catalog/Undergraduate-Programs-of-Study/College-of-Nursing/Nursing-Admissions-Requirements-and-Program-Information, accessed February 2019

15 Best Online Healthcare Degrees 2020


Best Online Healthcare Degrees 2020

For several years, healthcare occupations have topped every list for most in-demand careers, and this year is no exception. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the healthcare sector will add 1.9 million new jobs in the decade leading up to 2028. In fact, the BLS expects healthcare occupations to add more new jobs than any other sector.

Although it is possible to enter the healthcare sector in various roles with an associate degree, there is a push for personnel involved in direct care of patients, like nurses for example, to obtain bachelor’s degrees as more hospitals try to achieve the coveted ‘Magnet Status’ for providing excellent healthcare. Additionally, the BLS reports that individuals with bachelor’s degree earn an average of $306 (or 25 percent) more per week than those with associate degrees.

But for many students, attending college courses on campus presents challenges, including fitting class times into a work schedule, addressing child care or simply being too far away from the program. Online healthcare degree programs can provide quality education to get you into these fast-growing careers more quickly, while providing the flexibility you need for your life — whether you’re a recent high school grad, a career changer or an older student returning to school.

Using data from the BLS, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDs) we examined online healthcare degree programs to find out which majors brought the greatest return on investment — in money, time and growth in the future. Read more about our methodology at the bottom of the page.

The following online healthcare degree programs were our winners. As you can see, each one differs in content and requirements, and some degree programs may not be offered 100 percent online (because they require on-campus clinical components, for example).

1
registered-nurse


The first major on our list has the distinction of being offered as a bachelor’s degree program in the largest number of online colleges — by a huge margin. This is likely due to the fact that it also has the largest number of projected job openings, a demand that must be filled due to the critical role nurses play in the healthcare field. In fact it’s hard to imagine how the healthcare industry would function without registered nurses (RNs) providing nurturing care for the sick, promoting health and wellness through patient education and listening carefully to the needs and concerns of patients in order to provide the best possible medical care.

Online nursing degrees can help you gain the practical and theoretical skills to enter one of the most trusted professions in our country. Coursework usually includes such subjects as anatomy and physiology, chemistry, nutrition, pharmacology, psychology, health assessment, adult nursing, maternity nursing or mental-health nursing. Graduates must then pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to earn the RN credential.

Featured data points:

  • Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $72,610
  • Annual 75th percentile wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $92,870
  • No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level: 466
  • Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28: 19.4%
  • Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 3,476,400
  • Percentage of industries employing the occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 22.31%

2
medical-informatics


Despite the small number of online degree programs (which have increased since last year), the second degree on our list commands the highest salary in our ranking and the largest number of industries hiring people with this training for the third year in a row.

Medical informatics is where applied information technology (IT) meets healthcare. Students can learn the skills they need to design software specifically for the healthcare industry so that patient data can be organized, retrieved easily and stored securely. Apart from IT subjects like application programming, students in an online medical informatics course can expect to study healthcare subjects like healthcare coding and classification and medical terminology that will help them design healthcare information systems effectively. Business and management subjects included in the course can also help students develop the leadership skills needed for managerial roles in the field of healthcare information.

Featured data points:

  • Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $104,087
  • Annual 75th percentile wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $132,333
  • No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level: 9
  • Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28: 19.57%
  • Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 1,430,900
  • Percentage of industries employing the occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 44.94%

3
healthcare-admin


With the second-highest number of schools offering this bachelor’s degree via distance education, healthcare administration is a major that could prepare you for work running, or helping to run, a healthcare service facility. As our nation continues to evaluate how best to deliver and pay for effective healthcare, well-trained administrators will be needed to lead this change and oversee how facilities operate. You’ll notice that healthcare administration/management actually occupies three spots on our list, though the degree emphases may differ; for example, some programs focus on health services organizations or hospital settings, whereas other programs have a more broad healthcare focus. Healthcare administrators and managers typically oversee healthcare facilities, from individual practices to hospitals or departments.

A healthcare administration/management degree program usually covers broad healthcare topics such as epidemiology or anatomy and physiology and also provides skills in legal and business issues, with courses such as accounting, healthcare law and policy, ethics and finance.

Featured data points:

  • Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $99,730
  • Annual 75th percentile wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $130,820
  • No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level: 206
  • Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28: 19.8%
  • Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 422,000
  • Percentage of industries employing the occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 27.8%

4
nursing-practice


Though a student can earn an RN credential without a bachelor’s degree, a nursing practice degree is a Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN), which can provide a higher level of skills to help gain a competitive edge in the job market; the BLS says that those with a BSN will have better job prospects. On our list, nursing practice degree holders enjoy higher salaries, on average, than RNs, and a higher number of industries where they may be employed.

This program includes coursework similar to that of RNs, including anatomy and physiology, microbiology and pharmacology, but expands on that with skills in communications/writing, behavioral health, and public health or health specialties like pediatrics.

Featured data points:

  • Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $92,830
  • Annual 75th percentile wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $114,870
  • No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level: 7
  • Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28: 4,025,700
  • Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 23.53%
  • Percentage of industries employing the occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 28.19%

5
nursing-administration


For students who want to lead nursing staffs, a nursing administration degree may be for you. While this is typically a graduate degree program, you may find some online nursing degrees offering this specialization at the undergraduate level too. Nurse administrators handle managerial duties such as scheduling and training nurses, giving performance reviews, managing departmental budgets and serving as liaisons between nurses and other medical staff. Nurses, who are interested in this aspect of the job, typically need a few years of experience under their belts to qualify.

This degree program includes coursework in advanced nursing practices as well as ethics and policy, organizational management, leadership, human resources management and finance. As with many healthcare degrees, you may require a practicum in which you can be asked to apply your hands-on skills in certain real-life administrative situations.

Featured data points:

  • Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $85,730
  • Annual 75th percentile wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $109,585
  • No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level: 13
  • Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28: 17.3%
  • Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 3,814,200
  • Percentage of industries employing the occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 33.18%

6
clinical-nursing


This degree has the largest projected job growth and employment numbers on our list. It’s designed to provide currently licensed RNs with a bachelor’s degree, typically called an RN-to-BSN program. Such programs enable nurses to specialize in areas that include nursing administration, nursing research and clinical nursing. Clinical experience is often a requirement of this degree program, and students are prepared upon graduation to enter graduate school if they wish to earn advanced nursing training.

Coursework may include healthcare informatics and public health, as well as special population nursing such as pediatric and parent-child nursing, medical surgical nursing or nursing care of people with chronic illnesses.

Featured data points:

  • Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $84,083
  • Annual 75th percentile wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $103,727
  • 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: 24.93%
  • Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 3,687,900
  • Percentage of industries employing the occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 20.95%

7
medical-records


This degree is the practical application of medical informatics. As healthcare laws for hospitals, physicians and insurers continue to change and electronic medical records evolve to become more comprehensive and efficient, the role of health information managers and administrators should grow in importance. Online health information management programs train students to become professionals who help to guide hospitals and healthcare practices by collecting and analyzing patient data and ensuring compliance with various healthcare laws.

Online health information degree programs usually include coursework in medical terminology, computer technology, coding and billing, as well as such topics as human resources management, health law, pharmacology, and quality improvement.

Featured data points:

  • Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $99,730
  • Annual 75th percentile wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $130,820
  • No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level: 75
  • Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28: 19.8%
  • Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 422,000
  • Percentage of industries employing the occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 27.8%

8
nursing-science


This is another nursing degree that is more commonly found at a graduate level. However, there are online bachelor degree programs in nursing science available for those individuals who want to focus their future careers on conducting research in the field of nursing. Graduates of nursing science degrees can work as RNs (after passing the required licensure examinations, of course) and therefore have the same plentiful job opportunities as those with regular BSN degrees.

Apart from coursework that is included in regular BSN programs, nursing science degree programs also include topics in theory and research-based clinical practice. Graduates of these programs can take the NCLEX-RN exam and go on to work as RNs in various healthcare settings. The demand for nurses in varying capacities has meant that this degree has moved up a rank on our list from last year.

Featured data points:

  • Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $72,610
  • Annual 75th percentile wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $92,870
  • No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level: 8
  • Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28: 19.4%
  • Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 3,476,400
  • Percentage of industries employing the occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 22.31%

9
medical-technologist


In order for doctors to properly diagnose and treat patients, medical tests must provide them with crucial information. With one of the highest salaries on our list, this degree program can equip students who with laboratory and technical skills. An online medical laboratory technology (sometimes called clinical laboratory technology) program can help students gain the science, math, computer and equipment knowledge and critical thinking skills necessary for the job.

Coursework emphasizes the science of medicine, with subjects such as hematology, immunology, microbiology, forensic science, and biotechnology. Students may also study laboratory management techniques along with laboratory math and the use of medical computer software.

Featured data points:

  • Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $97,370
  • Annual 75th percentile wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $160,580
  • No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level: 21
  • Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28: 18.7%
  • Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 485,200
  • Percentage of industries employing the occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 7.01%

10
health-services


This program has maintained its rank at number 10 for the second year in a row. Though its name is less common than the healthcare administration/management degree (No. 3 on our list) and is found in fewer schools, a health services administration degree closely mirrors that one in content and correlates to the same salary and job growth figures. This degree can lead to a career as a health information manager, a health insurance specialist, a health services administrator, a human resources administrator, or a manager for a healthcare-related service organization.

This degree program is a crossover between business and healthcare and coursework typically includes topics in both fields. Students of online health services administration degree programs can expect to takes classes in anatomy and physiology, human resources management, finance, ethics and more.

Featured data points:

  • Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $99,730
  • Annual 75th percentile wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $130,820
  • No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level: 12
  • Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28: 19.8%
  • Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 422,000
  • Percentage of industries employing the occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 27.8%

11
healthcare-facilities-admin


While this degree program may sound similar to the healthcare administration and health service administration degree programs, it has a special focus on the actual physical environment of healthcare facilities. In the lesser-known hospital and healthcare facilities administration/management degree (offered at only six schools on our list), the opportunities are no less plentiful than they are for similar degrees described earlier on our list.

Students may study specific facilities- related topics like facilities planning, building and operations management, and insurance, among others.

Featured data points:

  • Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $99,730
  • Annual 75th percentile wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $130,820
  • No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level: 6
  • Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28: 19.8%
  • Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 422,000
  • Percentage of industries employing the occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 27.8%

12
dental-hygiene


With one of highest job growth rates on our list, many students who choose this major do so to become dental hygienists or use it as a stepping stone to dental school. While individuals can enter this profession with an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene can give them a competitive edge and also enter the fields of research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs.

Students majoring in dental hygiene learn how to help people care properly for their mouths and teeth. This means that courses usually include such subjects as nutrition, physiology, dental anatomy, dental hygiene techniques, dental materials, radiography (for use in taking and reading X-rays) and preventive dentistry. You likely will also hone your attention to details and people skills and learn to become comfortable working in people’s mouths.

Featured data points:

  • Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $86,095
  • Annual 75th percentile wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $125,095
  • No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level: 28
  • Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28: 22.75
  • Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 542,800
  • Percentage of industries employing the occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 7.94%

13
public-health-general


If you’re interested in making a larger-scale impact on the healthcare industry, healthcare policy or the health of communities, this major could be a great choice. It might lead to graduate school or to work as a public health educator, a healthcare manager or administrator, a community health worker or even a school health teacher. A public health degree program can provide you with insights into how government actions, lack of access to healthcare, health education and funding all affect the spread, treatment and prevention of diseases.

Courses may cover such varying topics as infectious diseases, nutrition, biostatistics, ecology, environmental health, human physiology and management of health service organizations.

Featured data points:

  • Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $72,715
  • Annual 75th percentile wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $104,428
  • No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level: 26
  • Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28: 19.58%
  • Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 853,700
  • Percentage of industries employing the occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 18.98%

14
sonographer


A medical radiologic technology degree program that equips students to work as radiologic technologists, or the more commonly known x-ray tech, or to be radiation therapists as part of an oncology team, helping to treat cancers. While individuals can enter the field with an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree can lead to further career advancement, such as specializing in a particular area of radiology or leading a radiology team or facility.

Expect coursework in areas such as anatomy and physiology, radiobiology and protection, radiographic exposure, radiographic positioning and radiologic physics. Plus, you’ll develop your attention to detail, spatial awareness and even listening and communication skills, to help you learn to work effectively with patients.

Featured data points:

  • Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $79,740
  • Annual 75th percentile wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $112,053
  • No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level: 13
  • Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28: 16.7%
  • Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 545,700
  • Percentage of industries employing the occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 8.33%

15
radiologic-technology


Rounding out our top 15 degrees is diagnostic medical sonography, an industry with the second highest job growth rates on our list. The diagnostic medical sonographer uses ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves that produces images of an individual’s internal organs and structures) to gather data that helps physicians diagnose and treat patients. This program usually leads to an associate degree, but a bachelor’s degree program can allow registered sonographers to advance their careers or specialize in particular areas.

People in this healthcare specialty are crucial in assisting physicians and therapists by providing high-quality images of tissues, organs and, of course, unborn babies still in utero, so proper training in this field is vital. While coursework in human anatomy, medical terminology, microbiology, physiology and pathophysiology, professional ethics, ultrasound physics (including wave theory), vascular technology is a major part of this program it is also grounded in working with patients, developing communication skills and empathy.

Featured data points:

  • Annual median wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $84,940
  • Annual 75th percentile wage of each occupation matched to the major, 2018: $123,385
  • No. of schools offering this degree online at the bachelor’s level: 8
  • Average projected growth rate of all jobs matched to each major, 2018-28: 24.55%
  • Total number of jobs projected in 10 years of all occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 376,900
  • Percentage of industries employing the occupations matched to the major, 2018-28: 7.24%

For this analysis, we ranked 26 online bachelor’s degrees in healthcare. 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, 2017-18
  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

Please note that while some of the degrees may sound similar, this is the data self-reported by higher education institutes under the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Codes created by the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) and collected in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

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) 2017-18, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Sources:

  • Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Advent Health University, https://online.ahu.edu/programs/bachelor-programs/bachelor-of-science-in-diagnostic-medical-sonography/, accessed December 2020
  • Bachelor of Science: Nursing, Western Governors University, https://www.wgu.edu/online-nursing-health-degrees/rn-to-bsn-nursing-bachelors-program/, accessed February 2020
  • BS in Informatics – Healthcare Informatics, Liberty University, https://www.liberty.edu/online/business/bachelors/healthcare-informatics/, accessed February 2020
  • BS in Nursing Science, University of California – Irvine, https://nursing.uci.edu/programs/bs/, accessed February 2020
  • BS in Public Health, Walden University, https://www.waldenu.edu/online-bachelors-programs/bs-in-public-health, accessed February 2020
  • Career: Dental Hygienists, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/careers/health-technology-dental-hygienists, accessed February 2020
  • Dental Hygienists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-hygienists.htm, accessed February 2020
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm, accessed February 2020
  • 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
  • Health Informatics Distance Learning Course, University of Alabama at Birmingham, https://www.amia.org/amia10x10/uab-course-description, accessed February 2020
  • Hospital and Health Care Facilities Administration/Management, IPEDS, https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cipcode/cipdetail.aspx?y=55&cipid=88762, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Clinical Laboratory Science, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/health-professions-related-clinical-sciences-clinical-laboratory-science-clinical-laboratory-science, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Dental Hygiene, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/health-professions-related-clinical-sciences-dental-hygiene, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/health-professions-related-clinical-sciences-allied-health-diagnosis-intervention-treatment-diagnostic-medical-sonography, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Health Services Administration, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/health-professions-related-clinical-sciences-health-medical-administrative-services-health-services-administration, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Hospital Facilities Administration, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/health-professions-related-clinical-sciences-health-medical-administrative-services-hospital-facilities-administration, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Medical Radiologic Technology, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/health-professions-related-clinical-sciences-allied-health-diagnosis-intervention-treatment-medical-radiologic-technology, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Medical Records Administration, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/health-professions-related-clinical-sciences-health-medical-administrative-services-medical-records-administration, accessed February 2020
  • Major: Nursing Science, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/health-professions-related-clinical-sciences-nursing-nursing-science, accessed February 2020
  • Nurse Administrator, Nurse.org, https://nurse.org/resources/nurse-manager/, accessed February 2020
  • Nursing Administration, IPEDS, https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cipcode/cipdetail.aspx?y=55&cipid=88815, accessed February 2020
  • Nursing Practice, IPEDs, https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cipcode/cipdetail.aspx?y=55&cip=51.3818, accessed February 2020
  • Online Health Services Administration, BS, University of Central Florida Online, https://www.ucf.edu/online/degree/health-services-administration-b-s/, accessed February 2020
  • Online Nursing and Healthcare Degrees from Drexel University, Drexel University, https://online.drexel.edu/online-degrees/nursing-degrees/index.aspx, accessed February 2020
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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

Physical-Therapist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Actor

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-Trainer

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

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  • 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
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  • 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
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10 Successful Online Learning Strategies

Thinking of enrolling in an online degree program? It definitely has its perks — flexibility, potential savings on cost and time, convenience — to name a few. While the benefits are many, this can also be true: online degree programs can require a tremendous amount of self-discipline. It’s usually up to you when to get your work done, when to view your materials, when (and whether) to ask questions, how to engage in class discussions, and how best to facilitate your learning of the material. With online degree programs requiring you to be a self-motivator, how can you make sure that you succeed within a reasonable amount of time?

Here is the list of 10 successful online learning strategies:

1. Research well and then choose your online degree program

Research

Avoid buyer’s remorse. A study by Online College Students (OCS) 2018 revealed that 24 percent of past students felt they should have contacted or researched more schools before they made a final decision about which school to choose. While 15 percent wished they had learned more about their financial aid options, 14 percent wished they had spoken more with their enrollment counselor.

The first step to help you succeed in an online degree program is to make sure you have done your homework well. Research as many schools as you can and ask questions related to financial aid, tuition, online faculty, peer and professor interaction, access to e-books, and more. It’s up to you to do your due diligence in finding a program that meets your specific areas of interests and can help you achieve your career goals.

2. Commit to your online program

Commit

Perhaps the most common misconception about online programs is that they can be easier than on-campus programs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Online programs are usually on par with their on-campus counterpart; they can be just as rigorous and just as demanding. Your online instructors can expect the same quality of work from you and assign the same amount of work as they would an on-campus student.

With your work schedule and other commitments, you may actually wind up having less time on hand to finish your coursework. You’ll need to carve out the time from your busy schedule to watch lectures, participate in discussions online, and complete assignments on your own. How can you manage to stay committed? Devising a study schedule, developing good relationships with your teacher and fellow students, and loads of sheer determination can help you stay on track with your commitment to earn an online degree.

3. Determine how you learn best

How-you-learn

Some of the most helpful activities for the online classroom happen to be asynchronous items that students are able to complete on their own time. There are at least four types of learners:

  • Visual (by sight)
  • Auditory (by hearing)
  • Reading/writing
  • Kinaesthetic (by doing)

Determine how you learn best and then tailor your studies to that style. If you’re a visual learner, for example, print out transcripts of the video lectures to review. Are you good at listening and learning? Make sure to build time into your schedule to play and replay audio- and video-based course content. To improve as a hands-on learner, try taking notes as you study or watch lectures. Go through these notes and memorize key points while walking or exercising. This can help to reinforce learning.

4. Find ways to retain what you learn

Retain-what-you- learn

Once you’ve found ways that help you learn, you need to focus on ways to retain what you have learned. A study by Psychotactics shows that the average person retains 20 percent of what they hear or read. Discuss it with others, and your retention goes up to 50 percent. Use the information actively and you’re at 75 percent. It goes as high as 90 percent when you teach the concept or immediately put it into practice. You can start by translating all that you’ve learned online into your own words. This process alone helps in cementing new knowledge in your mind. Next, find some way to share. Some ideas include volunteering short-term online teaching, writing a blog post or creating a podcast.

5. Manage time effectively

Manage-time

Online students need to process learning in less time and resist a vast range of distractions. This can be a challenge. According to Northeastern University, to effectively manage time, students should review the syllabus at the beginning of their semester, making notes of major assignments and marking them on a calendar so that they know how to incorporate this workload amid personal commitments. Create a daily, weekly and monthly planner. Students may be able to make smart use of their time by using time management tools, such as Trello. This tool allows them to input important tasks and set due dates that are then emailed out as reminders. Lastly, create a study space that is conducive to being productive. According to Western Governors University, the amount of noise, study light, climate, comfort, a sense of organization — these can be important factors in managing your study time.

6. class=”degree_image” Become a pro at using online tools

Pro-at-online-tools

You can have easy access to some amazing resources that can help you succeed in your online learning. Become familiar with Google Search, Google Scholar and Google Books to improve your research skills. More and more online college students are using mobile devices to access the online classroom and complete related activities. To improve your focus, try downloading SelfControl, a free app through which you can block any website for a certain period that’s distracting you from studies. Another effective tool can be StudyBlue. This app lets you study anywhere and access approximately 500 million study materials, including flashcards, notes, and study guides, as stated by E-learning Industry. StudyBlue can assist with putting you in touch with other students, ideal study materials, and engage actively with quizzes. Alternative to StudyBlue are Cram and Brainscape.

7. Interact actively in online classes

Interact-actively

In general, frequent, substantive participation in discussions is a requirement in online classes. A majority (57 percent) of students surveyed in the 2018 OCS study felt that such interactions are important to the success of an online student. Active interaction can demonstrate to the instructor that you comprehend and are using what you learn in class. But it can also enhance the online experience for other students as they come together online to share a diverse range of opinions and ideas. This interaction helps in creating a sense of community, as it can help students in figuring out their own required course of action for online studies. Moreover, such interactions can lead to better rapport with instructors and peers, often a key to successful online learning.

8. Leverage your online network

Leverage-online-network

Networking with peers, seniors and professors can be an important part of online learning. These connections may generate future job leads. A study by LinkedIn confirms that 85 percent of job placements are typically through networking, so the more you build your network as an online student with your fellow classmates and professors, the more likely you may be able to use your network to land you a job.

How can you do this? Build relationships through group emails, video conferencing, discussion boards and online groups, as well as student blogs and podcasts. The advantage an online student has is being able to connect with students and professors across the country, and sometimes, across the globe. This kind of national and international network can be of mutual advantage.

9. Find a way to stay motivated

Staying-motivated

One of the biggest problems with online learning is that it’s easy to fall through the cracks. When things get rough, it’s easy to push away from the computer and say, “Forget it.” Keeping your goals realistic and attainable requires a sensible schedule. It is also important to remember to celebrate those small wins in order to stay motivated! Take a break now and then to enjoy time outdoors, pursue a hobby, or just spend time with family and friends. If you are not able to go out, though, communicate through social media. You can post progress of your studies among your social media circles to keep them involved and updated about how you are doing. These are just some of the ways you can stay motivated when the going gets rough!

10. class=”degree_image” Stay fit for better academic performance

staying-fit

A 2017 study by MedCrave Online Journal of Sports Medicine highlights a positive relationship between physical exercise and academic performance of college students. According to the study, students who exercise regularly graduate at higher rates, and earn, on average, a full GPA point higher than those who do not exercise. Exercising can keep your energy levels up, allowing you to concentrate better in your studies and research, which can ultimately lead to better rewards in terms of academic performance.

In conclusion, before going into any online program, be sure that your eyes are wide open to the experience and that you’ve put support systems in place at home and at work. There’s no magic to online learning success, it’s hard work and discipline.

Methodologies and Sources

Sources

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  • 8 Strategies for getting the most out of an online class, Northeastern University Graduate Programs, https://www.northeastern.edu/graduate/blog/tips-for-taking-online-classes/
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Methodologies and Sources