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The 20 Best Online Degrees To Get In 2021 For Careers: Ranked by Salary

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The 20 Best Online Degrees To Get In 2021 For Careers

The 20 Best Online Degrees To Get In 2021 For Careers: Ranked by Salary

  1. Business Administration
  2. Airline Pilot
  3. Computer Science
  4. Engineering Management
  5. Marketing
  6. Environmental Science
  7. Finance
  8. Communication
  9. Nurse Practitioner
  10. Human Resources
  11. Industrial Organizational Psychology
  12. Industrial Engineering
  13. Healthcare Administration
  14. Data Science
  15. Cyber Security
  16. Game Design
  17. Project Management
  18. Accounting
  19. Animation and Graphic Design
  20. Criminal Justice

The 20 Best Online Degrees to get in 2021 for Careers: Ranked by Salary are organized by online degree subjects that can potentially lead to the highest paying career as #1, second highest in position #2, etc. We researched which online degree subjects for the highest paying careers, and we include here the 20 best. These degrees are ranked by salary potential, from highest to lowest. The high growth rates of many of these careers also means that these degrees are the most in-demand in the workforce.

The Best Online Degree Profiles:

Many of these online degree programs may qualify graduates for a variety of different careers. Online degree subjects such as Business Administration, Finance, and Criminal Justice may qualify online students for many different careers within the same field, by obtaining a single online degree.

This degree ranking focuses mostly on online bachelor’s degrees. The two exceptions are Nurse Practitioner and Industrial Organizational Psychology, which require a master’s degree.

Given that many of these online degrees are also the best available for job growth, it follows that these online degrees are also the most in-demand; and are, therefore, most likely to get you a job.

Click here to get The 20 Best Online degrees To Get For Careers 2021 Badge.


The 20 Best Online Degrees to get in 2021 for Careers: Ranked by Salary

1. Business Administration

Business Administration is the best online degree to get in 2021 because it allows for so much versatility in the education that students receive, and for the likelihood of getting a good job after graduation. And for the fact that the positions that online bachelor’s in Business Administration can potentially lead to have highest paying careers.

Whether you’re getting a Bachelor’s of Business Administration (BBA), or a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), a degree in Business Administration allows you many options in potentially finding a well-paying job. More students are enrolled in online Business Administration programs than any other degree subject.

Online Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA):

A bachelor’s degree in Business Administration usually requires 120 credit hours (which includes an associate’s degree. In general, a bachelor of Business Administration provides an in-depth study of the fundamentals of how business operates. An online BBA can offers a competitive edge over other business degrees because of its broad spectrum of business education.

Examples of online BBA degree specializations:

A strong appeal of this degree is the income and stability that this degree can bring. Graduates who have a bachelor’s degree in business earn an estimated $2.6 million dollars over the course of their career, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Chief Executive Officers are one of the highest paid careers according to the BLS, earning $193,850.00 median annual salary for 2019, requiring only a bachelor’s degree in Business.

Online Master of Business Administration (MBA):

An MBA is one of the most popular master’s degrees, because of the versatility of areas of focus, and variety of applications in business. Online MBAs options are plentiful. A bachelor’s degree is required for admission. An MBA teaches graduate students deeper levels of business and hones in on focus subjects. The same areas of focus are available in the MBA as are available, generally speaking, in any given BBA. The usual requirement is 60 credit hours to graduate, and often takes two years.

Career FieldsAverage Salaries with a Bachelor’s DegreeGrowth Rate
Chief Executive Officers$193,850.006%
Administrative Services Managers$96,940.006%
Compensation and Benefits Managers$122,270.003%
Training and Development Managers$113,350.007%
Personal Financial Advisors$87,850.004%
Budget Analysts$76,540.003%
Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists$64,560.008%
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Featured Business Administration Degrees

A look inside Harvard Business Class:

Related Business Administration articles:

2. Airline Pilot

An Airline Pilot is one of the highest paying careers with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. In 2020, the median salary for Airline Pilots was $160,970. The job growth rate is 5%, with an increase of 6,100 new jobs by 2029.

Online Bachelor’s degree in Aviation: Professional Pilot

Colleges and Universities across the US offer online bachelor’s degrees in Aviation. These include Aviation: Professional Pilot bachelor’s degrees that are available completely online. Aviation: Professional Pilot online bachelor’s degrees are like other bachelor’s degrees, requiring about 120 credit hours. These degrees include the basic courses consisting of two years of study, and the upper level Aviation major courses and electives for two years of study.

Aviation major courses may include:

In addition to the bachelor’s in Aviation, to be an Airline Pilot, a commercial pilot’s license is required from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). To become a commercial airline pilot, the minimum education requirement is a high school diploma and obtaining a pilot’s license. Some colleges and universities offer pilot training as part of the bachelor’s degree, such as the online Bachelor of Science in Aviation (Professional Pilot) degree at Liberty University.

Career FieldAverage Salary with a bachelor’s degreeGrowth Rate
Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers$160,9705%
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Featured Online Aviation Degrees

Related Aviation Ranking:

3. Computer Science

With the increasing proliferation of the information age and big data, tech companies are heavily in need of computer scientists. Almost every domain of life is subject to the internet and modern technology. Computer scientists are at the forefront. Across the board in Computer Science, the compensation is generous for both entry-level and management positions.

Some possible occupations in computer science are Network Architects, Research Scientists, Programmers, and Software and Web Developers.

One specific avenue that is growing rapidly and in high demand is Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is a sub-discipline of Computer Science. Healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing industries are branching out and using AI.

Another increasingly popular Computer Science specialization is Game Design.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science

Online students getting a bachelor’s in Computer Science will learn skills such as coding, programming languages, and software development. There are various concentrations that students may choose, depending on what a given online program offers, such as Artificial Intelligence.

This degree typically consist of 120 credit hours. The first two years are spent completing basic classes. The second two years are spent taking Computer Science major courses and electives. Typical employment requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.

Computer Science Careers Average Salary with a Bachelor’s DegreeAdditional Positions by 2030Growth Rate
Computer and Information Systems Managers $151,150.0052,70011%
Computer Network Architects$116,780.009,0005%
Computer Programmers$89,190.00-18,300-10%
Computer Systems Analysts$93,730.0042,8007%
Database Administrators$98,860.0013,2008%
Information Security Analysts$103,590.0047,10033%
Network and Computer Systems Administrators$84,810.0018,8005%
Software Developers$110,140.00409,50022%
Computer Support Specialists$55,510.0072,2009%
Web Developers$77,200.0025,50013%
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Featured Online Computer Science Degrees:

Mapping Computer Science

Related Articles

4. Engineering Management

Engineering Management is a degree field which is designed to teach students how to manage Engineers. Successful Engineering Managers can lead teams towards the completion of large scale projects by aggressive deadlines. While engineers design the building and maintaining of transportation, water ways, architecture, Engineering Managers handle all of the business needs of these projects.

As might be expected, the higher the growth and development of an area, the more career opportunities and increased compensation will be available.

There are many areas of expertise in the engineering field

As such, there are many opportunities for Engineering Management careers in these fields.

Engineering Management Bachelor’s Degrees:

Engineering Management bachelor’s degrees are available online and on-campus. As with other bachelor’s degrees, the first two years are spent taking the basic courses. The second two years are spent taking upper-level major Engineering Management courses and electives. Students learn management principles, and engineering disciplines.

Examples of Engineering Management courses at Arizona State University’s online Bachelor of Science in Engineering: Engineering Management:

The average compensation is $149,530 per year as of 2020, making it one of the best paying fields of study, with a growth rate of 4% to 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career FieldsAverage Salaries with a Master’s DegreeGrowth Rate
Architectural and Engineering Managers$149,530.004%
Industrial Production Managers$118,190.005%
Industrial Engineers$88,950.0014%
Agricultural Engineers$84,410.002%
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Featured Online Degrees

Many CEOs are Engineers

5. Marketing

Marketing combines a great deal of creativity, research, and savvy business skills. Marketing students learn best practices for marketing in a variety of platforms, such as social media, television, and internet marketing.

At some point, a company will need to launch a new product or generate awareness of existing services, and need marketing professionals to design a plan for marketing. Marketers often bring new business and profit to their client’s bottom line. Marketing experts need to study substantial data about demographics, a product’s function, and cost analysis in order to do their job. They also need to use this considerable research to anticipate what the public will need next.

Marketing specialist careers include Digital Marketing, and Social Media Marketing.

Online Bachelor’s in Marketing

Marketing degrees consist of 120 credit hours usually. The first half (first two years) is spent taking basic courses. In the second half, marketing majors take classes on marketing and electives. Marketing degrees are often within the Business departments at colleges.

Students often have various concentrations from which to choose, such as Social Media Marketing. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is usually required for employment at marketing firms.

The highest paid position within Marketing is Marketing Manager.

Marketing CareersAverage Salaries with a Bachelor’s DegreeGrowth Rate
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers$141,490.00 per year10%
Market Research Analysts$65,810 per year22%
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Featured Online Marketing Degrees

Digital Marketing Career Benefits

Related Marketing Rankings:

6. Environmental Science

With the ever increasing need to conserve energy and protect the environment, this field is rapidly growing in demand. Environmental scientists can work with government agencies or private businesses to reduce waste, clean polluted areas, and even advise policymakers. Foresters, Geoscientists, and Biologists are also occupations that can come from a degree in Environmental Science.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science

The online bachelor of science degrees in Environmental Science require usually 120 credit hours and take up to 4 years to complete. The first two years are spent taking the basic courses of a bachelor’s degree. The second two years comprise the major courses and electives.

This subject has many opportunities and subfields to study Environmental Science and related degrees. Often these degree fields are oriented around sustainability or conservation. It would be best to decide which career field in particular in which you want to work, and then see which degrees are requisite for that career. Often a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required.

Sustainable & Renewable Energy and Environmental Science CareersAverage Salaries with a Bachelor’s DegreeGrowth Rate
Natural Science Managers$137,940.006%
Environmental Scientists and Specialists$73,230.008%
Environmental Engineers$92,120.004%
Geoscientists$93,580.007%
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Featured Online Degrees

Related Environmental Science Rankings:

7. Finance

Finance is one of the more stable job fields in today’s market with an overall estimated growth rate of 19%, (much faster than the average occupation). Finance, in short, means looking after the money in a responsible and profitable way.

Finance duties could include skills such as:

Online Bachelor’s degree in Finance

An online bachelor’s degree in Finance can teach online students the fundamentals of the different practices of finance. The online degree is typically 120 hours long, which includes the basic courses of a bachelor’s degree for the first two years, and then the second two years are spent on upper level finance major courses and electives.

Finance courses may include:

What can you do with an online bachelor’s degree in Finance?

An online degree in Finance can potentially open doors to working in different capacities in finance. Finance careers may involve working with families as a Personal Financial Advisor or Certified Financial Planner, or with companies as a Financial Manager.

Personal Financial Advisors

Financial Advisors positions don’t require certification. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is preferred. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Personal Financial Advisors:

Advise clients on financial plans using knowledge of tax and investment strategies, securities, insurance, pension plans, and real estate. Duties include assessing clients’ assets, liabilities, cash flow, insurance coverage, tax status, and financial objectives.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certified Financial Planners

Certified Financial Planner careers require two things: a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, and passing the certification test from the Certified Financial Planner Board. This test is offered in March, July, and November each year.

Some online bachelor’s in Finance degrees do offer a concentration in Certified Financial Planning, such as the online Bachelor of Science in Finance degree at Southern New Hampshire University. Graduates who have completed (or are enrolled) in a bachelor’s degree may take the Certified Financial Planner Board certification test. The bachelor’s degree may also be in other subjects (a Finance degree in particular isn’t a requirement). If enrolled at the time of taking the exam, your bachelor’s degree must be completed within five years of taking the exam.

Financial Managers

Financial Managers are crucial to the health and bottom line of companies. Financial Managers handle the investments and future financial goals of businesses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Financial managers create financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

As long as there is money being exchanged and tracked, there will be Finance majors getting hired. The growth rates and incomes of careers available with a bachelor’s in Finance, makes this one of the best choices in online degrees. The salaries, growth rates, versatility and stability of these careers makes Finance one of the best online degrees.

Finance CareersAverage Salaries with a Bachelor’s DegreeGrowth Rates
Financial Managers$134,180.0017%
Financial Analysts$83,660.006%
Personal Financial Advisors$89,330.005%
Financial Examiners$81,430.007%
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Featured Online Finance Programs

Financing and Investing Explained

Related Ranking for Finance:

8. Communication

Communication degrees can prepare graduates for a variety of career options, such as Public Relations Managers, Broadcast Journalists, and Writers and Authors.

Public Relations Managers control how businesses are viewed by the public. They can create and maintain a particular public image which protects the reputation of the company, keeping it in the good graces of the public eye. Maintaining a positive public image is vital to business profitability.

Public Relations and Fundraising Managers are in the business of raising money for companies or organizations. These may be private or public, for profit or nonprofit. Writing press releases, making and maintaining working relationships with donors and philanthropists, and raising awareness are some crucial duties of Public Relations and Fundraising Managers. The typical entry-level degree is a bachelor’s in Communications.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Communication:

An online bachelor’s degree in Communication is like other bachelor’s degrees, which requires basic level and major level coursework to be completed. The first two years are spent taking basic courses. The second two years are dedicated to major courses in Communication and electives.

The Communication coursework consists of classes such as Mass Media, Broadcast Journalism, Organizational Communication, and Interpersonal and Group Communication.

Related Communication Rankings:

Communication CareersMedian Salary
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers$118,430.00
Public Relations Specialists$61,150.00
Technical Writers$72,850.00
Writers and Authors$63,200.00
Editors$61,370.00
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Next Step: Request Degree Information

Communication Explained

9. Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Practitioners are one of the highest paying and also has one of the highest growth rates of all career options available with an online degree. The growth rate is 45% between now and 2029 adding 117,700 new jobs. The median salary in 2020 was $117,670.00.

Online Master’s in Nurse Practitioner

The typical entry-level minimum degree required is a master’s degree. Online Nurse Practitioner master’s degrees are available from colleges and universities across the US.

Most Nurse Practitioners work in Family Practice. Some online master’s degrees focus on Family Nurse Practitioner in particular.

Certification is required to practice. Online Nurse Practitioner master’s degree programs will likely require that applicants already be a Registered Nurse before applying.

Next Step: Request Degree Information

Nurse Practitioner Explained

10. Human Resources

People who specialize in Human Resources need to both attract and train productive employees, and keep them satisfied. They need to understand salaries, benefits packages, training programs, recruiting, and how to assist employees.

Once a company becomes large enough to require many employees, those employees become an asset that needs to be protected and developed. This field combines an awareness of new technology, interpersonal skills, and a lot of common sense.

The need for Human Resource specialists has especially grown in recent years as companies now have to comply with new healthcare regulations and seek to implement ever changing technologies into their training programs.

Graduates can enter the Human Resources profession with a bachelor’s degree. Those interested in advancing their careers with a high rate of return on their education cost should seriously consider online Human Resource programs.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources:

The first two years are spent completing basic online courses. The second two years are spent taking upper level Human Resources courses and electives. Online students will take courses such as:

Students learn to manage departments and individual people within corporate business settings, and best practices in hiring and employee retention and conflict resolution.

Human Resources Careers Average Salary with a Bachelor’s Degree:Growth Rate
Human Resources Managers$121,220.00 per year9%
Human Resources Specialists$63,490.00 per year10%
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Featured Online Human Resource Management Degrees:

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Management

College Ranking:

11. Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Industrial and Organizational Psychology is a field like no other because it incorporates both psychology and business together. It applies psychology to how business is conducted, and takes into account the human element in the efficiency and productivity of business.

This field is one of the fastest growing occupations in America. Organizational and Industrial Psychologists are hired either as in-house employees or as outside consultants.

The strong appeal of employers hiring Organizational and Industrial Psychologists is due to their expertise in helping companies produce a better workplace environment, increase productivity, hire better employees, decrease turnover, and create higher efficiency–resulting in smaller labor costs. All of these improvements help companies make money and improve their bottom line. IO Psychologists often work within the HR departments of businesses to institute and effect their improvements.

Bachelor’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology

An online bachelor’s in IO Psychology teaches students fundamentals of business and psychology. This degree is a predominantly Psychology oriented degree, which uses psychological practices to improve businesses. Typical bachelor’s in IO Psychology are 120 credit hours and take four years to complete. The first two years consist of basic courses, and the second two years consist of major courses and electives.

Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology

An online Industrial Organizational Psychology degree consists of approximately 36 credit hours and can be completed in two years (perhaps sooner depending on the program). Online master’s students learn more in-depth psychological best practices and more detailed measurement techniques.

Organizational Psychology CareerAverage Salary with a Bachelor’s DegreeGrowth Rate
Industrial and Organizational Psychologists$111,15012.3%
(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Featured Online Degrees in Industrial Organizational Psychology

Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology

College Ranking:

12. Industrial Engineering

Industrial Engineering degrees may prepare graduates for entry into Industrial Production Manager positions. Industrial Production Managers operate and oversee the functioning of industrial plants of different kinds. Industries that create goods like automobiles, paper, television parts, etc., need Industrial Production Managers.

Industrial Engineering degrees teach students how industries work, from the different people involved and departments, to the actual equipment and overall industrial environment. Involved in this degree are industry standard operating procedures and best practices of running industrial companies, such as learning project management, safety standards, production analysis, supply chain management, operations research, and quality control.

Online Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering

As with other online bachelor’s degrees, the typical online bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering requires approximately 120 credit hours to complete. These degrees are usually bachelor of science degrees. The first two years are spent completing the necessary basic courses for a bachelor’s degree. The second two years are spent taking the major courses in Industrial Engineering, and electives.

Course Examples:

Industrial Engineering CareersAverage Salary with a Bachelor’s DegreeGrowth Rate
Industrial Production Managers$108,790.001%
The Bureau of Labor Statistics

13. Healthcare Administration

More and more colleges are offering Healthcare Administration degrees online. There is an ever-increasing demand for Healthcare Administrators who can juggle everything from paperwork to personalities.

Healthcare Administrators combine business knowledge and medical practice.

This field, specifically the management level, is growing at a rate of 32% with a median income of $100,980.00, much higher than the national average for all other occupations.

Online Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration

As with other online bachelor’s degrees, an online bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration degree usually consists of 120 credit hours, and takes on average four years to complete. This four years includes the first two years of basic courses, and then the second two years of upper level major courses in Healthcare Administration and electives. This is one of the best online degrees because of the high growth rate and high salary. The usual entry-level requirement to be a Medical and Health Services Manager is at least a bachelor’s degree.

Related Articles:
Healthcare Administration CareerSalaryGrowth Rate
Medical and Health Services Managers$104,280.0032%

Featured Online Degree: Get More Information

14. Data Science

Data Science, also known as Data Analytics, is a growing field with the advent of big data. Data Science is also known as Business Intelligence when used in business. Data Scientists take large data sets and analyze them, making them understandable and meaningful.

This distilled information is used to understand user behaviors, conversions, the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, and how to improve business profitability. Governments, non-profits, and businesses all use Data Scientists to help inform their purposes. All the Big Tech companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon use Data Science.

Data is accumulating at such a substantial rate, that its scope and usefulness is only recently being appreciated. More and more institutions are employing Data Scientists. In 2019, the median annual wage was $94,280.00. The growth rate is projected to be 31%, adding 10,300 more jobs by 2029. This is substantially higher than most other occupations.

Online Bachelor’s in Data Science

Students enrolled in an online bachelor’s degree in Data Science will learn hot to gather, assimilate and interpret Big Data for various purposes, such as making business or organizational decisions. The first two years are spent taking the basic courses. The second two years are spent taking Data Science major courses and electives.

Data Scientists, also known as Data Analysts, are one of the highest paying and fastest growing occupations in the U.S.

Related Data Science Rankings:

Next Step: Request Degree Information

15. Cyber Security

Cyber Security experts are in the business of protecting business and government online privacy and data. Information Security Analysts use cyber security to protect the online data and assets of companies and governments.

Bachelor’s in Cyber Security

Students learn programming languages, and how to detect, trace, and protect against hackers. Students also learn how to hack into other systems to detect their system vulnerabilities, which is known as penetration testing. Students learn valuable skills, such as penetration testing, information assurance, encryption, and how to install firewalls, in online Cyber Security degree programs.

The first two years are taking basic courses towards the bachelor’s degree. In the second two years students are busy taking Cyber Security major courses and electives. Cyber Security degrees involve learning programming languages such as Python, and also some Big Data analysis, ethical hacking, and penetration testing.

Related:

The 20 Best Online Master of Information Assurance & Cyber Security Degrees

Career FieldAverage Salary
Information Security Analysts$103,590.00
Bureau of Labor Statistics

16. Game Design

The Video Game industry is one of the largest in the world, with billions of dollars spent in the game industry every year.

For students who enjoy playing video games and being creative with animation and graphic design, Video Game Design might be a natural degree choice.

A degree in Video Game Design will involve learning disciplines such as how to create 2D and 3D video game graphics and video game storyline development.

Students may develop video games for different platforms, such as mobile devices, tablets, and computers, along with stand-alone video game consoles.

Game Design, Game Development, or Game Art

For students who want to pursue programming and technical development of game design, a Game Design or Game Development degree is the way to go. These bachelor’s degrees are often Bachelor’s of Science degrees. For students who want to pursue Game Art and Animation, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Game Art, Graphic Design, or Animation is the degree route to take.

Online Bachelor’s in Game Design

As with most bachelor’s degrees, the first two years are spent on basic courses. The second two years students will take major courses in Game Design or Game Art, and electives. Bachelor of Science degrees in subjects such as Game Design or Game Development will teach students how to code and create games through programming languages. These are more Computer Science oriented degrees.

A Bachelor of Arts degree in a subject such as Game Art or Game Animation teaches students state-of-the-art graphic design. These degrees are focused on creating 2D or 3D animation, which includes modeling, character development, atmosphere and settings creation within games.

For most professional Game Design or Game Art careers, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required.

How to become a Game Designer

Related Game Design Articles:

Game Design Careers Average Salaries with a Bachelor’s DegreeGrowth Rate
Game Developer$101,644.00*26%
Game Designer$66,152.00**
*ZipRecruiter, **PayScale

17. Project Management (Business Operations)

A Project Management degree offers a wide variety of skills applicable to numerous industries, making it an ever-growing and exciting field of study.

From improvement in leadership and organizational skills to creative problem solving and time management, this degree has something to offer everyone.

The knowledge from such a program can be applied to financial services, engineering, design, and any other industry of your interest. Responsibilities of Project Managers vary based on the current task at hand, but every goal accomplished makes your business more competitive and profitable.

Salary bonuses may accompany your achievements, as such, benefits and compensation will also vary depending on experience, education level, and the field of industry. The projected salary range in upcoming years for Project Management is $80,000 to over $140,000, with an 11% growth rate.

Online Bachelor’s in Project Management

An online bachelor’s degree in Project Management usually requires 120 credit hours. Half of those are basic courses and the other half are Project Management major courses and electives. Project Management is a specialized degree subject that is oriented for teaching students how to manage moving parts and keep organized throughout projects of various kinds.

Project Management Detailed:

Project Management CareersAverage Salarie with a Bachelor’s DegreeGrowth Rate
Project Manager$80,220.003%
Project Management Specialist$84,290.006%
Bureau of Labor Statistics

18. Accounting

Accountants keep track of money. Accounting degrees involve learning the best practices of Accounting for businesses, private organizations, non-profits, and the like. Colleges teach Accounting usually as a Bachelor of Science degree, but it can also be offered as a Bachelor of Arts, and Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Students learn how to produce financial accounting documents, audit, and standard accounting rules.

Online Bachelor’s in Accounting

Getting at least a Bachelor’s in Accounting sets graduates up for a field that has become one of the most stable in our economy. Some Accountants choose to work more independently in fields such as bookkeeping, payroll, or tax preparation. While those that prefer working in groups go into fields like account management, investments, and consulting. A typical bachelor’s degree in Accounting requires 120 credit hours.

Either way, the field is still driven by studious attention to detail and self-motivation. This skill set, which equips one for success as an Accountant, is the same to succeed in an online degree.

Accountants can become CPA’s (Certified Public Accountants).

A CPA education requires, on average, 30 hours more than a typical bachelor’s degree in Accounting, which amounts to 150 credit hours (120 + 30). Some colleges have a combined bachelor’s and master’s program designed to meet the 150 hour course load. These are usually five year programs. A master’s in Accounting is not required to become a CPA.

Each state’s Board of Accountancy provides licensure to become a Certified Public Accountant. CPA’s must pass a national exam. The majority of states in the U.S. require that CPAs finish 150 semester hours of higher education to become licensed.

The Future of Work: Accounting

Related Ranking for Accounting Degrees:

Accounting Careers:Average Salaries with a Bachelor’s Degree: Growth Rate
Accountants and Auditors$73,560.004%
Budget Analysts$76,540.003%
Bureau of Labor Statistics

19. Animation and Graphic Design

The world of art and design meet the online computer world in the creative area of Animation and Graphic Design.

Animation and design opportunities are plentiful, as it is necessary for advertising, commercials, social media, websites, or any other avenue that attracts a target audience using graphics. Like most developing fields in the technology sector, Animation and Graphic design students need to study a vast repertoire of available tools.

Furthermore, they also need to learn how to regularly update their knowledge as new strategies become available. This flexible career has inspired many self employed workers and an incredible number of rising entrepreneurs.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design or Animation

An online bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design, or Animation is like other bachelor’s degrees, usually requiring around 120 credit hours and taking four years to complete. The first two years are covering your basic classes, and the remaining two years spent on Graphic Design major courses and electives. These major courses teach students how to use state-of-the-art digital tools to make graphic animations, which may include 2D and 3D modeling courses, graphic design for video games, or commercial art. These degrees are often Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees.

Working as a Graphic Designer and Animator usually requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.

Related Article:
Graphic Design and Animation Careers Bachelor’s Degree: Average SalaryGrowth Rate
Multimedia Artists and Animators$77,700.004%
Graphic Designers$53,380-4%
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Next Step: Request Degree Information

20. Criminal Justice

Whether debating freedom of speech, women’s rights, animal cruelty, environmental protection, and a host of other hot button topics, civilization is filled with conflicting viewpoints.

A Criminal Justice degree will make you engage with a wide range of social debates with real world consequences.

This versatile degree, that can often be completed in less than 2 years, takes its students into the legal profession. Research, reporting, team collaboration, data analysis, and law enforcement are skills that will be developed and applied in various settings in not only the court room, but also in any other government agency or law firm.

This field is expected to grow by at least 17% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Average salary for a Police Officer is $61,600 and $50,160 for Probation Officers. Beyond the work and salary is a passion for social issues that can change the world. Such advocates will always be needed.

Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

An online bachelor’s in Criminal Justice is like other bachelor’s degrees in that it usually consists of 120 credit hours, and takes approximately 4 years to complete. The first two years are spent taking basic courses. The second two years are focused on major courses in Criminal Justice. Criminal Justice degrees offer many subfields in which online students may specialize. For example, Criminology, Forensic Science, Corrections, and many other degree concentrations are available to online students.

For many Criminal Justice careers, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required.

Related Articles:
Criminal Justice Careers Average Salaries with a Bachelor’s DegreesGrowth Rates
Police and Detectives$65,170.005%
Probation Officers & Correctional Treatment Specialists$54,290.004%
Forensic Science Technicians$59,150.0014%
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Next Step: Request Degree Information

How can I find potential salaries in my state?

Career & salaries information for your state is offered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Use their tool to find your state’s career field information: State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

How can I calculate return on investment for my degree?

College tuition is also a key factor, in that it plays into the return on investment from the degree:career ratio. Certain degrees have certain costs, and certain careers earn certain median salaries. Students have to determine what the return on investment is.

The first thing to do is determine what online degree an online student is interested in getting. Then determine which online colleges offer that degree and what their tuition rates are using the Net Calculator for College Costs.

Then see what the average salary is for that degree. Determine how many years the student will be working in that capacity at that career. So if a student graduates in their early twenties, they can assume 40 years of employment before retiring. Multiply the median salary of that career by 40 years, and you’ll get an idea of the potential lifetime earnings. You can add inflation into the equation to keep up with rising costs of living and raises over the 40 years.

The tuition is a fixed cost, or investment, and the expense will only increase if loans are taken and paid back over time. Students have to figure into the cost of the degree the interest rate over the life of the loan. This can be determined using a student loan simulator.

If a student’s college tuition amounts to $50,000 for the degree, and your potential earnings are $70,000 per year for 40 years (leaving out all of the inflation and interest rates for the student loans and salary), then your earnings are $2.8 million from an initial investment of $50,000.

Jobs with the Highest Growth Rates

Jobs with the highest growth ratesGrowth RateMedian Salary in 2019Available as an Online Degree?
Wind turbine service technicians61%$52,910.00No
Nurse practitioners52%$109,820.00Yes, Master’s Degree
Solar photovoltaic installers51%$44,890.00No
Occupational therapy assistants35%$61,510.00No
Statisticians35%$91,160.00Yes, Bachelor’s
Home health and personal care aides34%$25,280.00Online Training: Diploma
Physical therapist assistants33%$58,790.00No
Medical and health services managers32%$104,280.00Yes, Bachelor’s
Physician Assistants31%$115,390.00Yes, Master’s Degree
Information security analysts31%$99,730.00Yes, Bachelor’s
Data scientists and mathematical science occupations, all other31%$103,930.00Yes, Bachelor’s
Derrick operators, oil and gas31%$46,990.00No
Rotary drill operators, oil and gas27%$54,980.00No
Roustabouts, oil and gas25%$38,910.00No
Speech-language pathologists25%$79,120.00Yes, Often Hybrid Master’s Degree (Online and On-Campus)
Operations research analysts25%$84,810.00Yes, Often Master’s Degree
Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselor25%$46,240.00Yes, Often Master’s Degree
Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists24%$45,270.00Yes, Bachelor’s
Cooks, restaurant23%$27,790.00Yes, Vocational: Culinary School: Often Diploma or Associate’s
Animal caretakers23%$24,780.00Yes, Often Certificate
All Data Sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Handbook

From this table above which shows the jobs with the highest growth rates, here are the jobs that do not have an online degree option:

  1. Wind Turbine Service Technicians
  2. Solar photovoltaic installers
  3. Occupational therapy assistants
  4. Physical therapist assistants
  5. Derrick operators, oil and gas
  6. Rotary drill operators, oil and gas
  7. Roustabouts, oil and gas

Online Bachelor’s Degrees: Jobs with the Highest Growth Rates

Online Degree SubjectDegree LevelCareer FieldGrowth RateSalary
MathematicsBachelor’sStatistician35%$91,160.00
Healthcare AdministrationBachelor’sMedical and Health Services Managers32%$104,280
Cyber Security (Information Assurance)Bachelor’sInformation Security Analysts31%$99,730.00
Data ScienceBachelor’sData Scientists31%$94,280.00
Speech Disorders or Communication Science DisordersOften Hybrid Master’s Degree (Online and On-Campus)Speech-language Pathologists25%$79,120.00
Operations ResearchBachelor’s Operations Research Analysts25%$86,200.00
Fire ScienceBachelor’sForest Fire Inspectors and Prevention Specialists24%$46,240.00
All Data Sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Online Master’s Degrees: Jobs with the Highest Growth Rates

Degree SubjectCareer FieldGrowth RateSalary
NursingNurse Practitioners52%$109,820.00
Medical Science (Physician Assistant)Physician Assistants31%$115,390.00
Counseling, PsychologyMental Health25%$46,240.00
Industrial Organizational PsychologyIndustrial Organizational Psychologists12%$112,690.00
The Bureau of Labor Statistics

What are the highest paying bachelor’s degrees?

Each online degree in this table has a career field listed that is one of the highest paying careers for that degree subject. There are other career fields that many of these online degrees may qualify students for after graduation. Business Administration and Computer Science have the lion’s share of career fields that pay the highest salaries. Notice how all of the highest paying careers available with an online bachelor’s degree are almost all management positions in various career fields.

Online Degree SubjectCareer FieldSalary Per YearGrowth Rate
Business AdministrationChief Executives$185,9506%
AviationAirline Pilots, Commercial Pilots$160,9705%
Computer ScienceComputer and Information Systems Managers$151,15010%
Engineering ManagementArchitectural and Engineering Managers$149,5303%
MarketingAdvertisers, Promotions, Marketing Managers$142,1706%
Environmental ScienceNatural Science Managers$137,9405%
FinanceFinancial Managers$129,89015%
CommunicationPublic Relations and Fundraising Managers$118,4309%
Human ResourcesHuman Resources Managers$116,7206%
Industrial EngineeringIndustrial Production Managers$108,7901%
Healthcare AdministrationMedical and Health Services Managers$104,28032%
Data ScienceData Scientists$103,93031%
Cyber SecurityInformation Security Analysts$103,59031%
Game DesignGame Developer (Game Designer)$101,64426%
Project ManagementProject Management Specialist$84,2903%
Accounting Budget Analysts$78,9703%
Graphic DesignMultimedia Artists and Animators$77,7004%
Criminal JusticePolice and Detectives$65,1705%
Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics

Note: All salary and growth rate data was gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (unless otherwise noted). The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a bureau within the U.S. Department of Labor, and each year collects occupational data such as median salary amounts, minimum degree required, and growth rates for many occupations in the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best online degree to get?

The best online degree to get is the Bachelor of Business Administration, which is the minimum degree required to be a Chief Executive Officer. Chief Executive Officers are one of the highest paid careers according to the BLS, earning $185,950.00 median annual salary for 2020, requiring only a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. It is certainly one of the highest, if not the highest salary from an online bachelor’s degree. The best online degree to get in terms of getting a job from career options due to a high growth rate, is an online bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, and in Statistics in particular. Statistician, according to the BLS, is one of the highest growing career fields in the US, with a growth rate of 33%. It is also one of the highest paying careers with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, earning $93,290.00 median salary as of 2020. An on-campus or online bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement to be a Statistician.

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What is the easiest online degree?

This is a subjective question without a clear answer. Different students have different academic strengths and weaknesses. Your college degree is an investment in yourself and lifetime ambitions. You have to do the necessary work whether the degree is easy or not, so make it worth it and learn what you want to learn to take you where you want to go in life. Instead of asking if a degree is easy, the relevant question to academic success is whether the degree is something you’re interested in learning. If you are genuinely interested in what you’re studying, this translates into better grades, as studies have shown. Different online students have different competencies. For one student Mathematics may be the easiest if they’re good at math. For other students, a Mathematics degree may be the most difficult. Generally speaking, the online Business Administration degree subject may be the easiest online degree, given that the specialization options are so versatile and varied, that they offer many subjects that can fit with many student’s abilities and competencies quite well. From math-oriented degrees such as an online Business Administration degree in Business Intelligence, to a creative-oriented degree type such as the online Business Administration degree in Marketing. The wide variety of specializations in an online Business Administration degree means that the degree can be tailored to students’ interests much more than other online degree subjects. This is partly why the online Business Administration degree is the most popular online degree. It can potentially also qualify students for such a wide array of business careers that it is the most versatile for getting a job.

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Is getting your degree online worth it?

Yes. There are two senses in which this question may be asked: Is getting your online degree worth it with respect to having the same credibility and validity as an on-campus degree? Yes. Online students receive the same education in most instances as on-campus students. Colleges are good at online degrees. Online students who’ve received their degree(s) online have the same career options before them as on-campus students. Employers generally speaking are perfectly amenable to online degree holders as qualifying for employment. Is getting your degree online worth it with respect to the cost of online degrees? This is a question of the return on investment discussed above. Generally speaking the answer is yes. Prospective online students are encouraged to figure out the Return on Investment, which is a calculation of tuition expense/career choice investment return. There are instances in which online education is less expensive than on-campus, given that on-campus expenses, such as meals, transportation, and dorms aren’t incurred.

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Will employers respect my online degree?

What employers care about, generally speaking, is whether or not a student completed their degree. The question of whether the degree was obtained on-campus or online isn’t regarded as relevant. Often the employer will not even be aware that the degree was obtained online, unless you want to offer this information. Obtaining a degree shows employers that students can navigate all that is required, such as passing the many classes, and fortitude to stick with the academic rigors to earn the degree over time, which often takes years. Obtaining a degree online can even be a bragging point for you. Online classes require more discipline and honesty, and many online students chose online so that they can work, which means an online degree graduate could boast that not only did he or she get a degree, but that they had the discipline to do it online, and while balancing work and school. Employers may want to know that the online degree was obtained at a reputable college, and not a for-profit degree-mill kind of college. Make sure that your online college is not-for-profit if this is a concern of yours in choosing your college to pursue your online degree. There are many reputable and accredited not-for-profit colleges that offer reputable online degrees.

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What are the highest paying online degrees?

The highest paying online degrees with a bachelor’s are in Business Administration, Computer Science, Engineering Management, Marketing, Environmental Science, Aviation, Finance, Communication, Human Resources, Industrial Engineering, Healthcare Administration, Data Science, Cybersecurity, Game Design, Project Management, Accounting, Graphic Design, and Criminal Justice. The highest paying online degrees with a master’s degree are in Nurse Practitioner, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Medical Science (Physician Assistants).

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Can you get a degree entirely online?

Yes. Online degrees are available entirely online at almost all degree levels in almost all subjects. You can get degrees entirely online that are associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorates, and certificates.

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