Just a few decades ago, it was completely unheard of to obtain a college degree from the comfort of your own home. However, factor in the steady rise of the internet into our daily lives coupled with a crippled economy and increased job competitiveness; online learning is growing ever more popular. Plus, if you consider that decades before the typical college student was in their late teens or early twenties and lived on campus, today’s landscape changes things quite a lot. Currently, the canvas that is a college education is marked by brushstrokes from people across diverse backgrounds. College students may be married, raising kids, and pursuing full-time employment while earning credits towards a degree. What’s more, higher employment standards or dying job markets have prompted older generations to return to the classroom in search of newer, more marketable skills. One thing’s for certain—distance learning is here to stay.
For instance, a 2011 report from the Pew Internet Research Project showed that 89% of four-year colleges and universities offered online courses, while 91% of two-year colleges did so. Furthermore, the administrators at those schools were likely to agree that the distance learning format was just as valuable as traditional classroom learning. They also found that within a pool of college graduates who have enrolled and completed an online class, 15% of those obtained degrees strictly through online learning.
Still, deciding on the appropriate distance learning program for you depends on a lot of factors. One of the most important aspects to consider is the probability of finding a suitable job upon crossing that virtual stage. Similar to brick and mortar institutions, online education programs do have choice degrees that offer better leverage in the job market. In fact, when earned from the right internet institution an online degree can be very impressive to potential employers since it symbolizes your ability to juggle school along with other demands. These are the 7 online degrees that provide the best foundation for obtaining secure and gainful employment today.
Based on data compiled on the Open Education Database, careers in communications are employing nearly 1.8 million people worldwide with a median income of $54,490. Also, this is one of the top 10 major choices of today’s college student due to the flexibility of the program in readying its students for jobs in all sorts of career fields. Since the basis of a bachelor’s degree in this field revolves around learning how to engage in the “effective and ethical practice of human communication”, potential sectors range from politics and law to advertising and theatre. Students seeking an online degree in this versatile area can obtain jobs as a Vice-President of Human Resources, a Lobbyist, a Reporter, or even a Public Relations Specialist. According to a National Association of Colleges and Employer’s (NACE) survey, in 2012, 95.7 of surveyed employers planned to hire graduates with a degree in communications. If you enjoy using your voice to effectively sell, persuade, or report, this may be the career path for you.
Obtaining a career in economics can be a great way to maximize on any terrific skills you have in mathematics and research. This is another versatile degree that can open many doors in the job market—and, with online classes, you can work towards it at your own convenience. Job titles include a statistician, a business forecaster, a stock broker, a policy analyst, and many more that find employment at great locations like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Reserve Banks, and the Department of the Treasury. Plus, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics prepares you for awesome jobs in the finance sector where you can start off making around $50,100 and progress all the way up to above $96,700 throughout the life of your career.
5. Computer Science
One of the key components of earning an online degree that can lead to you being gainfully employed is the flexibility of the career path. Computer science distance learning programs deliver in more ways than one. If you have a knack for technological devices and a fascination that has given you the name “computer whiz”, then there may be a place for you in this industry. Taking classes from the comfort of your dining room table could land you a job as a computer programmer, a software engineer, a systems analyst, and a laundry list of other choices. What’s more, this major falls into PayScale’s top 10 list for their College Salary Report. Most jobs requiring a computer science degree have a starting salary somewhere in the ballpark of $59,800 with plenty of room to grow.
Students interested in following a marketing career path can certainly obtain their dream career while juggling other tasks as well. An online degree in marketing will furnish them with knowledge from courses such as psychology, statistics, finance, and the booming area of internet marketing. Public relations, market research, and advertising positions all fall within the realm of marketing. Plus, individuals who really want to take their careers to the next level and become managers can see themselves earning a salary of over $100,000 per year. Enjoy working with businesses to grow and increase sales? You may want to sign up for a marketing program.
3. Health Care
Unless you are solely interested in becoming a medical physician or some other kind of doctor, it is completely possible to gain employment in healthcare without many years of hands-on face-to-face study. Health-related careers can vary as widely as surgical technologists, dental hygienists, registered nurses, medical transcriptionists, and physician assistants. Although you may have to complete some part of your studies in a clinical setting, you are still free to earn a degree without sitting in a classroom all day. Careers in health are constantly growing and they pay you back with solid jobs and attractive pay. For example, a degree in health care administration can translate to a mid-career salary of more than $58,600 after you have gained some years of training and experience. Meanwhile, a registered nurse can command almost just as much–$55,400—in their very first job in the field after graduation.
If your dream is to take the corporate world by storm with your quick-witted charm and added ability for problem-solving, enrolling in online business programs is your next step. This fully functional and again, flexible degree preps its students for careers in a wide-range of areas such as sales, advertising, human resources, and marketing. Furthermore, based on the type of program you enter, you will become educated on many of the topics on this list, which sort of makes this an all-encompassing area of study. Classes may include subjects like marketing, economics, finance, and business law. A business administration major can command a salary somewhere around $43,500 after earning a bachelor’s degree.
One of the farthest reaching careers that can be obtained through online education is in engineering. This field of study is extremely broad with concentrations involving computer, petroleum, mechanics, nuclear energy, electrical systems, aerospace, chemicals, and the environment. Basically, with this powerful degree, you can find work virtually anywhere. If working day-to-day with a combination of mathematics, science, and technology thrills you, engineering is a challenging and exhilarating career option. While you are usually required to only get a bachelor’s degree to start work, there is greater potential as with any field with postgraduate study. This field completely owns the top 10 list for Payscale with starting salaries ranging based on area of concentration. Petroleum engineers rank highest earning a whopping $103,000 starting out. Chemical engineers can cash out at $68,200 per year and computer engineers do well, too, at $65,300. In just a few years of distance learning, you could be working in a great career and truly getting paid back for your hard work.