The 20 Best Online Degrees for Careers 2021


The 20 Best Online Degrees for Careers 2021 are organized by degree subject. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 2018’s fall semester had 6,932,074 students taking courses online.

For the best online degrees, we focus primarily on online bachelor’s degrees. A notable exception is Nurse Practitioner, which requires a master’s degree (online option with Grand Canyon University).

What makes the Best Online Degrees for Careers?

These degree subjects were selected by cross-referencing the highest paying careers (factor one), with those of the highest growth rates (factor two). We then determined which online degrees are relevant for these careers, and we include here the top 20. Given that these online degrees are the best available for job growth, these online degrees are also most likely to get you a job, given the largest opportunities afforded by the highest growth rates.

The 20 Best Online Degrees for Careers 2021's Badge
Download This Badge

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. The jobs and career fields in this article predominantly require at least a bachelor’s degree.

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.

The 20 Best Online Degrees for Careers 2021

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

The Best Online Degree Profiles Provide:

The Best Online Degrees | Frequently Asked Questions

The 20 Best Online Degrees for Careers 2021

1. Business Administration

Business Administration is the most popular online degree because it allows for so much versatility in the education that students receive, and for the likelihood of getting a good job after graduation.

Whether you’re getting an Associate’s in Business Administration (ABA), 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 Associate of Business Administration (ABA):

Usually requires around 60 credit hours. This online degree includes the “basics” (basic classes of an associate’s degree). Usually this involves 30 general or basic credit hours towards getting an associate’s degree in general, and 30 credit hours of business classes.

Once a student has received the Associate’s in Business Administration degree, all that is required towards getting a bachelor’s in Business Administration is taking the remaining business classes.

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.

Related Business Administration articles:

Business Administration CareersAverage Salaries with a Bachelor’s DegreeAdditional Positions by 2029Growth Rate
Chief Executive Officers$193,850.00150,000 6%
Administrative Services Managers$96,940.0021,2006%
Compensation and Benefits Managers$122,270.005003%
Training and Development Managers$113,350.003,1007%
Personal Financial Advisors$87,850.0011,6004%
Budget Analysts$76,540.001,9003%
Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists$64,560.007,5008%

Next Step: Request Degree Information

2. Airline Pilot

An Airline Pilot is one of the highest paying careers with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. In 2019, the median salary for Airline Pilots was $121,430.00. 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.

Related Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Aviation Ranking:

Next Step: Request Degree Information

3. 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.

Related Ranking for Accounting Degrees:

Accounting Careers:Average Salaries with a Bachelor’s Degree: Additional Positions by 2029Growth Rate
Accountants and Auditors$73,560.0061,7004%
Budget Analysts$76,540.001,9003%

4. 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 then 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

In the world of business, positions such as 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.

Related Ranking for Finance Degrees:

Finance CareersAverage Salaries with a Bachelor’s DegreeAdditional Positions by 2029Growth Rates
Financial Analysts$81,590.0026,8005%
Financial Managers$129,890.00108,10015%
Personal Financial Advisors$87,850.0011,6004%
Financial Examiners$81,090.004,9007%

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.

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.

Related Articles:
Marketing CareersAverage Salaries with a Bachelor’s DegreeAdditional Positions by 2029Growth Rate
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers$135,900.00 per year18,8006%
Market Research Analysts$63,790 per year130,30018%

6. 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.

Related Article:
Human Resources Careers Average Salaries with a Bachelor’s Degree:Additional Positions by 2029Growth Rate
Human Resources Managers$116,720 per year10,400 6%
Human Resources Specialists$61,920 per year46,9007%

7. 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 CareersAverage Salarie with a Bachelor’s DegreeAdditional Positions by 2029Growth Rate
Project Manager$80,220.003,0003%
Project Management Specialist$84,290.00

8. 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.

Related Article:
Organizational Psychology CareerAverage Salary with a Bachelor’s DegreeAdditional Positions by 2029Growth Rate
Industrial and Organizational Psychologists$111,15020012.3%
(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

9. Video Game Design and Game Art

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.

Bachelor’s in 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.

Related Game Design Articles:

Game Design Careers Average Salaries with a Bachelor’s DegreeAdditional Positions by 2029Growth Rate
Multimedia Artists and Animators*$75,270.002,8004%
Game Developer**$101,644.007,94026%
Game Designer***$66,152.00
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, **ZipRecruiter, ***PayScale

Next Step: Request Online Degree Information

10. 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 Salaries in 2019Additional Positions by 2029Growth Rate
Multimedia Artists and Animators$75,270.002,8004%

Next Step: Request Degree Information

11. 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 subset of Computer Science. Healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing industries are branching out and using AI.

Bachelor’s 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.

Related Articles
Computer Science Careers Average Salaries with a Bachelor’s DegreeAdditional Positions by 2029Growth Rate
Computer Network ArchitectsBachelor’s degree: $112,690.008,0005%
Computer ProgrammersBachelor’s degree: $86,550.00-20,100-9%
Computer Systems AnalystsBachelor’s degree: $90,920.0046,6007%
Database AdministratorsBachelor’s degree: $93,750.0012,80010%
Information Security AnalystsBachelor’s degree: $99,730.0040,90031%
Network and Computer Systems AdministratorsBachelor’s degree: $83,510.0016,0004%
Software DevelopersBachelor’s degree: $110,140.00316,00022%
Computer Support SpecialistsAssociate’s or Bachelor’s Degree: $54,760.0067,3008%
Web DevelopersAssociate’s degree: $73,760.0014,0008%

Next Step: Request Degree Information

12. 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.

Related Articles:

Next Step: Request Degree Information

13. Sustainable & Renewable Energy | Environmental Science

A green job is defined as a career which

“produces goods or provides services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics

With the ever increasing need to conserve energy and protect the environment, this field is rapidly growing in demand. These scientists can work with the government or 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 Sustainable and Renewable Energy.

Online Bachelor of Science Degree

The online bachelor of science degrees are like other bachelor’s degrees in the respect that they 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.

Related Articles:
Sustainable & Renewable Energy and Environmental Science CareersAverage Salaries with a Bachelor’s DegreeAdditional Positions by 2029Growth Rate
Environmental Scientists and SpecialistsBachelor’s Degree: $71,360.007,1008%
Environmental Science and Protection TechniciansAssociate’s Degree: $46,540.002,9008%
Environmental EngineersBachelor’s Degree: $88,860.001,7003%
GeoscientistsBachelor’s Degree: $92,040.001,6005%

Next Step: Request Degree Information

14. Engineering/Engineering Management

All Engineers require extensive working knowledge of applied mathematics and physics, and benefit from time management and data analysis. Engineering Management is a field which is designed to manage these 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; Electrical, Mechanical, Architectural, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, and even Marine Engineering. As such, there are many opportunities for Engineering Management careers in these fields.

The average compensation is $144,830 per year as of 2019, making it one of the best paying fields of study, with a growth rate of 3% (5,100 more jobs) to 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Engineering Management CareersAverage Salaries with a Master’s DegreeAdditional Positions by 2029Growth Rate
Architectural and Engineering Managers$144,830.005,1003%
Industrial Production Managers$105,480.001,7001%
Industrial Engineers$88,020.0030,00010%
Agricultural Engineers$80,720.00342%

Next Step: Request Degree Information

15. 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 52% between now and 2029 adding 117,700 new jobs. The median salary in 2019 was $109,820.00.

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

16. 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:

Next Step: Request Degree Information

17. Education

Education degrees, ranging from the Associate’s to Doctorates, focus on the education and formation of young minds. What children are taught, from polite manners and appropriate hygiene to reading, writing, and arithmetic, will influence their decisions as adults.

This degree, perfect for those with a love for children, is not limited in its application to teachers, but also to social workers, daycare center employees and childhood psychologists.

One specific area of study, Special Education, can bring a median income of $57,910.00, and can be a rewarding work environment. There are many fields in Education that graduates may be able to pursue.

The versatility of specializations in Education degrees, and the job growth rate, is what qualifies Education as one of the best online degrees for careers. 441,000 new jobs are projected by the year 2029.

Online Bachelor’s in Education

A bachelor’s in Education is the minimum requirement for many teaching positions, including:

As with other online bachelor’s degrees, an online degree in Education consists of approximately 120 credit hours. This includes the first two years as basic level courses, and the second two years consisting of upper level major courses in Education, and electives. Online students learn the fundamentals of education, and have the opportunity to specialize in a subfield, such as Special Education, Early Childhood Education, or ESL.

Related Articles:

Next Step: Request Degree Information

18. 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 DegreesAdditional Positions by 2029Growth Rates
Police and Detectives$65,170.0040,6005%
Probation Officers & Correctional Treatment Specialists$54,290.003,4004%
Forensic Science Technicians$59,150.002,40014%
Detectives and Criminal Investigators$86,030.0017004%
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Next Step: Request Degree Information

19. Homeland Security

From Federal Government to local government, there is always an opportunity for those willing to keep our nation safe.

A Homeland Security degree offers theories of public safety, counter-terrorism, crisis management, natural disaster preparedness, and other necessary responses critical to the survival of the people. Homeland Security is a relatively recent field, becoming its own department after 9/11/2001.

Students with this training can pursue careers working for the Transportation Security Association, Customs and Boarder Control, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Emergency Management, or the Secret Service. Homeland Security also extends to private and non-profit organizations.

Online Associate’s Degree in Homeland Security

Online Associate’s in Homeland Security usually require around 60 credit hours of coursework. As with most associate’s degrees, 30 hours is reserved for basic classes, and 30 hours for Homeland Security courses. Students take introductory classes in subjects relevant to the functions of the Department of Homeland Security, such as Risk Management, Emergency Management, Disaster Response, and domestic and international Terrorism, and Cyber Security.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Homeland Security

The online Bachelor’s in Homeland Security degree teaches students the functions and responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security, which is broad and varied. DHS protects America from enemies foreign and domestic. DHS also responds to natural or man-made emergencies and disasters. The online Bachelor’s in Homeland Security degree usually requires about 120 credit hours total (which includes an associate’s degree). Online students will study subjects such as domestic and international Terrorism (and Counterterrorism), Emergency Management, Risk Management, Cyber Security, and Disaster Relief.

Related Articles:

Next Step: Request Degree Information

20. Communication

Good communication is key to any healthy relationship, whether in business or personal life. In the information age when people are now constantly communicating with others all around the world in a variety of mediums, the need to communicate, and do it well, has never been more important.

This is the focus of the Communication degree. There are countless theories and points of view to consider that all influence how we communicate–from gender and race to social and economic status. The Communication student will learn to navigate these differences and foster conflict resolutions.

The median salary for Communication was $59,230.00 according to The BLS in 2019, with a growth rate of 4%. Graduates can potentially find careers in news-related media, radio, television, public speaking, politics, spokesperson for private or public industry, film, reporting, and many other careers.

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, Interpersonal and Group Communication, and the like.

Related Articles:
Communication CareersMedian Salary
Public Relations Specialists$61,150.00
Technical Writers$72,850.00
Writers and Authors$63,200.00

Next Step: Request Degree Information

The Best Online Degrees | Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best online degree to get?

The best online degree to get, in terms of yearly salary income, 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 $193,850.00 median annual salary for 2019, 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, would be 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 35%. It is also one of the highest paying careers with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, earning $91,160.00 median salary as of 2019. An on-campus or online bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement to be a Statistician.

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, this translates into better grades, as studies have shown.

As far as 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.

Related articles:

Is getting your degree online worth it?

Yes. There are two senses in which this question may be asked:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Will employers respect my online degree?

According to Northeastern University, in their publication Online Education in 2019, A Synthesis of the Data:

“Today — according to Northeastern University’s most recent national survey of HR leaders, which had a particular focus on the value of online credentials — a solid majority (61%) of HR leaders believe that credentials earned online are generally equal in quality to those completed in-person (Gallagher, 2018).”

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.

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
Home health and personal care aides34%$25,280.00Online Training: Diploma
Physical therapist assistants33%$58,790.00No
Medical and health services managers32%$100,980.00Yes
Physician assistants31%$112,260.00Yes: Master’s Degree
Information security analysts31%$99,730.00Yes
Data scientists and mathematical science occupations, all other31%$94,280.00Yes
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
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

Jobs with the highest growth rates that are indeed available as online bachelor’s degrees*:

  1. Statistician: often an online bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, or Data Science
  2. Medical and Health Services Managers: online bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration or Health Management
  3. Information Security Analysts: online bachelor’s in Information Assurance and/or Cyber Security
  4. Data Scientists: online bachelor’s in Data Science
  5. Online Speech Pathology: often an online bachelor’s in Speech or Communication Science/Disorders.
  6. Mental Health: often an online bachelor’s in Counseling or Psychology with a focus on Mental Health
  7. Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists: online bachelor’s in Fire Science

*Though these are available as online bachelor’s degrees, many of the salary data contained in the table are for careers that require a minimum of a master’s degree in the subject.