Getting Your College Degree Online

For most people, earning a college degree opens doors to career opportunities that would otherwise remain tightly shut. Technological advancements in distance learning put university degrees within reach of anyone who has the motivation to pursue higher education. Whether you’ve recently graduated from high school or want to switch careers, getting your college degree online through an accredited university is worth considering.

What is Distance Learning?

Any educational program that takes place outside of a traditional classroom is classified as distance learning. It has its roots in correspondence courses that were executed first by mail and later by recorded video tapes. Online education is a subset of distance learning, and it’s a game changer for higher education.

Today, you can do more than just take a few online college classes. You can earn your college degree online. Colleges and universities offer two and four-year online degree programs that are delivered 100 percent online or in a hybrid format that includes a mix of in-person and online college classes.

Advantages of Online Education

Accessibility is the number one benefit of getting your college degree online. You’ve chosen a university degree program, but the school that offers the top program is located across the country. When you calculate the costs of moving out of state to pursue your goals, you realize that the costs outweigh the advantages of getting your dream degree at this time. If the university offers online degree programs, you can earn your degree from a prestigious school without having to change addresses.

Online degree programs attract serious attention from students because of their flexibility. Developers of online degree programs understand that many online students also work and take care of families. Most degree programs include coursework that allows students to meet online once a week during evenings or on weekends to discuss assignments that students complete independently during the week as their schedule permits.

Some online degree programs allow students to learn at their own pace with generous cut-off timelines for tests and final exams. These are ideal programs for students who must grasp complex concepts as part of a degree program. It also works for students who have a passion for their degree topic. These students can do a deep dive into specific subjects of interest without worrying about falling behind a predetermined course schedule.

Best Online Degrees

While the best online degrees vary by personal interests and talents, some online degree programs yield better returns on investment (ROI) than others. Here are three of them.

English and Writing

The demand for great communicators who deliver awesome content has exploded because of the internet. English majors find work as speech writers, online content managers, and communications managers. Communications managers have a median annual salary of $88,498 according to research that Salary.com published. The ROI for a communications manager who has a four-year English degree is between 42 percent and 139 percent.

Business Analytics

Businesses mine data from the internet and company databases to make informed decisions about everything from hiring new talent to expanding into a new market. The people who collect and analyze the data are called business intelligence specialists. Business intelligence specialists have a median annual salary of $109,604. When they earn a four-year business analytics degree from an accredited university, they can get an ROI between 52 percent and 172 percent.

Computer Science

While not everyone owns a desktop PC or laptop, nearly everyone has an internet-enabled smartphone. Mobile applications and mobile-friendly websites make it possible for smartphone users to surf the internet, shop online, and review products and services while on the go. Most application developers earn a four-year degree in computer science to qualify for this type of work. If you’re an applications developer who has a computer science degree, you can expect a median salary of $80,584. The ROI for your computer science degree is between 38 percent and 126 percent.

Online Schools

When earning your college degree online, you’ll want to choose a school that’s accredited, has a good reputation, and is budget friendly. Here are two schools that fit the bill.

Liberty University

Liberty University is a private school that’s accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It also holds several program accreditations from organizations such as the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. Its four-year degrees in English, computer science, and business administration currently cost $390 per credit hour.

Oregon State University

Oregon State University is a public school that was recently recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best accredited online colleges in the country. Its four-year business analytics and computer science degree programs currently cost $309 per credit hour.

Conclusion

As distance learning gains popularity, colleges and universities will continue to offer more innovative, skills-based degree programs for students. You’ll need to do your homework to find the one that best fits your professional aspirations, current lifestyle, and budget.